Businesses sensitive information daily, from customer data to trade secrets protecting this information is crucial, but it is challenging when communicating via text message. Fortunately, there are solutions available to help small businesses secure their text communications. Standard SMS text messages are not encrypted. That means they are transmitted in plain text and potentially be intercepted and read by third parties. Some of the risks of unsecured business texting include:
- Data breaches – Customer information, intellectual property, or other confidential data could be exposed if texts are intercepted. This led to loss of trust, legal issues, and substantial fines.
- Reputational damage – If inappropriate internal communications are made public, it could harm your brand reputation.
- Phishing scams – Criminals spoof employee phone numbers to phish for sensitive info. Employees may fall for these scams if they think a text is coming from a co-worker.
- Non-compliance – Regulations like HIPAA require protections for sensitive data like patient health records. Unsecured texting may cause compliance issues.
It only takes one unprotected text message to cause major problems for a business. Being proactive about text message security is essential in today’s mobile workplace.
Tips for securing business texts
Luckily, there are some simple practices organizations implement to keep their text communications secure:
Encrypted messaging apps
Rather than relying on standard unsecured SMS, use end-to-end encrypted privatemessage apps like Signal or WhatsApp for business texts. These services encrypt messages in transit and are accessed by the platform provider. Make sure employees download and use approved secure messaging apps.
Set up two-factor authentication
Add an extra layer of security by enabling two-factor authentication on messaging apps. It requires employees to enter a code from an authenticator app or SMS in addition to their password when logging in. Two-factor authentication prevents unauthorized access to accounts.
Disable message previews
On smartphones, disable message previews for secure messaging apps so that sensitive info isn’t visible on the recipient’s lock screen. Users should also be cautious about screenshots, which could expose confidential data.
Enable disappearing messages
Encrypted messaging apps often enable disappearing messages, which are routinely deleted after a set period. It prevents sensitive communications from being stored long-term where they could be vulnerable to hacking.
Create approved contacts list
To avoid wrong-number errors that could expose private data, create approved contacts lists on secure messaging platforms so employees only exchange texts with verified individuals. This limits risk.
Make sure employees understand company policies and best practices related to securing text messages. Proper training will help ensure smart usage of encrypted messaging apps.
Software solutions for secured texting
In addition to the above tips, there are some helpful software tools small businesses use to keep their text communications protected. Private Note Work is an app built specifically for private business messaging. It allows creating a closed community for your organization to exchange end-to-end encrypted messages that self-destruct. You also revoke access if employees leave the company.