Enterprise companies choosing a web chat platform value software that will protect vital data.  Ensuring secure messaging and the larger security reputation of the organization is not only a goal but a requirement.  And encryption is a fundamental pillar of that security.    

But not all encryption is the same. And the differences matter.  Let’s cover some of the encryption basics and explain why end-to-end encryption isn’t always the best option for enterprises.   

Here Are Four Insights Worth Knowing When You GShopping for Secure Chat Software 

  1. What is end-to-end encryption?    

End-to-end has expanded in use due to messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage and is lauded for the closed channel it provides users weary of data breaches. End-to-end encryption ensures that only the sender and recipient of a message are able to read it; the message is encrypted on the sender’s end and can only be accessed when unlocked by a private key on the recipient’s end.    

In this way the entire communication is blocked from outside examination, available only to the two parties: the sender and the recipient. 

2. The downside of using encryption that is end-to-end 

The same reason end-to-end is appealing to individuals — the impossibility of accessing data or messages from the outside — makes it less functional for enterprise companies that have regulatory and auditability requirements.  The same factors that protect perfectly legal and safe messages also protect illegal and illicit material, creating a safe space of sorts for malicious parties who can use end-to-end encryption to escape detection and cause harm.  

In effect, the privacy upside of end-to-end benefits everyone, including individuals or groups intent on using that privacy for ill.   

3. There are alternatives  

Despite the growing awareness and popularity of end-to-end, there are alternative encryption methods that are important for enterprise customers to be aware of.  Just because encryption software isn’t end-to-end doesn’t mean it isn’t safe and protected.  In fact, many enterprise companies are in industries which lean on non-end-to-end encryption due to the regulatory and legal requirements of their business.    

Don’t get bogged down in thinking end-to-end is the only encryption method.   

4. When non end-to-end makes sense 

Any communication tool used by enterprise companies will need encryption software that protects all the chats, files, and videos being exchanged daily, with auditability that allows for compliance and regulatory standards to be met.   

End-to-end encryption cannot be audited or easily examined, which can leave companies in the dangerous bind of having some poisonous or questionable exchange inside their network and no good avenue for investigating it.   

Financial and government entities specifically are expected to meet numerous regulatory standards that are enforced via audits and intensive data reviews.  Having encryption software that provides both safe messaging and auditability gives companies the best of both worlds.   

This is why non-end-to-end encryption makes sense for many enterprise companies — and is food for thought when shopping for secure chat software.

Look to HCL Sametime for a chat and meetings platform that is totally safe, but allows for auditability.  

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Further Reading
Digital Solutions, Sametime | November 10, 2020
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