Secure Messaging: How Private Are Your Conversations on Popular Messaging Apps?

Not just any social media or instant messaging application will do when you need a secure solution. Sure, other application developers and companies state they care, but their terms of service and privacy policies state otherwise.

The honest truth is—companies today are collecting and using more data than ever. And those private conversations you thought were private? Well, they may not be as private as you think.

That’s one of the main reasons Unio is hyper-focused on data security and privacy. You can explore the difference for yourself based on our networking infrastructure and architecture.

But why are other companies dropping the ball when it comes to data privacy? And why are they downplaying the data they have access to when it comes to your personal, professional, and private conversations?

Why Data Is Everything Today

Data security is essential. Not taking it seriously enough eventually leads to companies being the victim of data hacks and breaches. Once your data is out on the Internet, it is potentially there forever. T-Mobile was breached two times in 2020 alone—affecting more than 200,000 people.

Even the biggest and most recognized companies aren’t safe. mSpy, a company that offers parental control software to monitor children, was hacked and data was leaked. That mSpy data included Apple account data for over 400,000 customers.

Once the data is public, it is dangerous, especially for businesses. Even seemingly-innocuous data like a photograph of an upcoming project, or a comment on a current project, can lead to downfalls in stock and investor confidence, increasing competition in the marketplace, and loss of morale in the workplace.

These issues could be pre-emptively prevented by using a messaging application that focused first and foremost on data security and privacy.

The difference between using a messaging application from a company that cares about security, and one that only includes security as an afterthought, is a huge mistake you can’t afford to make.

Popular Messaging Applications: Why Businesses Should Avoid Using Them

You may be thinking: I already use WhatsApp with my friends and coworkers. Why is it such a big deal?

Using popular messaging applications is fine in your personal life. However, any secretive or essential information should not be sent, received, or shared in any manner over social media applications—for any reason.

All applications can be or become vulnerable to exploits and cyberthreats, and popular applications, even from some of the world’s biggest companies and entities, like the White House, are no exception.

The White House put restrictions on President Obama’s phone use, requiring him to use a Blackberry during his Presidential term. Restrictions on the applications, or even platforms you use, is vital to ensure information security and cybersecurity.

Social messaging applications are not secure, at least to the extent required for business information security. They were for making informal B2B, B2C, and C2C connections.

Why Data Privacy and Security Are Important

Data security (and privacy) is an essential element, and there is a constant struggle between security and the need for accessibility. If an application is too secure, it may not be as accessible as users want.

If an application is too accessible, it may not be secure enough for its needs. Every application developer struggles with this, and it is no more apparent than with social media and instant messaging applications.

Many businesses struggle with balancing these two things. So, which option is best for your business? Here’s what you need to know about data privacy, security, and your messages.

Why Data Privacy Essential for Messaging

Even current popular social media and messaging applications cannot provide you with a secure-enough messaging experience. There are often questions about who is sponsoring an application or where the application is sending user information. If your application developers make questionable decisions, you should consider switching applications for something more secure.

In early 2021, users were unsure of how private their WhatsApp data is and whether their WhatsApp data is shareable with Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company. These users, looking for safer alternatives, like Signal, which encrypts messages by default, want data security and privacy—in short, they could benefit more from a solution like Unio.

Privacy concerns are valid. Many popular applications have security, but security is not a primary responsibility for most companies, especially startups that focus on prototyping features and time to market, rather than security. It is an afterthought.

But your business and its users need more than that—they need assurances. After all, there’s no going back after a breach.

Security and privacy concerns will only grow over time, as society becomes more entrenched with technology amid fears of significant tech overreach.

How Does Data Travel Over Networks?

Depending on their application, different networking models handle your data differently. The gold standard example of a data network is the OSI Model. The OSI Model has seven layers.

When you send an email or communicate online, your data travels through your network, over the Internet via a router, and then reverse through the recipient’s network.

The seven layers of the OSI Model are:

  • Application
  • Presentation
  • Session
  • Transport
  • Network
  • Data Link
  • Physical

Gmail is an application that sits on the top level (Level 7) of the network. When you send an email to another Gmail account, Google transforms and transfers your data in different ways, sends the data to your recipient’s network, and then reverses every process the recipient can read your email.

It is vital to ensure that your data is secure at all times. Hackers would love to know who you email, what you email about, what you attach to emails, and more.

Data can become insecure whether in use, in storage, or transit. Data insecurity is why data states like encryption, data signatures, and non-repudiation, for example, are so important.

Along with other defenses like firewalls, they form a multi-layered defense strategy to protect your data as best as possible.

Legal Restraints That Protect Your Data

New laws have worked to improve this issue over the last decade. Legal restraints require businesses to protect the data they handle or else face lawsuits and government reaction. The “Right to be forgotten” in the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) even protects consumers’ data.

However, to be covered by the GDPR, businesses and consumers need to either be a European company or have their data pass through Europe or a European company. UCaaS platforms like Unio can fulfill this need.

You could easily spin up an Amazon data storage service anywhere in the EU and take advantage of these GDPR protections.

However, governmental protections are not enough. You also need to create a secure experience for end users too.

Unio takes a bold step that competitors won’t, or can’t, and ensures that your data is secure. We do not touch your data, and we cannot even look at it. Private conversations are only accessible by you and the recipient.

That’s a big promise, right? How does it work? Let’s find out.

How Unio Uses Your Data

  • Unio uses BlackBerry’s Spark Communications Service to transmit data from sender to receiver. Spark is backed by a 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in Counter Mode. The message is then hashed using a SHA-512 algorithm and digitally-signed for non-repudiation using the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA). We reverse these processes when decrypting your message for your recipient.
  • We also do not store any data on our servers. We do not look at it, and we cannot look at it. Because we rely on BlackBerry’s excellent services, your data is entirely safe, as a result.
  • We use bcrypt, HTTPS, and TLS to encrypt your web communications online. These added layers of encryption are just a few of the reasons why Unio is a reliable secure communications platform.
  • Unio is compliant with HIPAA, the GDPR, and PIPEDA. This makes it ideal for high security industries like healthcare, government agencies, financial institutions, and more.
  • Only the sender and recipient can access, store, download, share, and delete their data. Unio cannot remove your data from our servers because your data does not touch our servers. This approach is simple, yet effective.
  • We even work with integrated identity providers like Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). This means we never even learn or have access to your login credentials.
  • We do store some light profile data, like names, titles, profile images, and custom entries for your profile. This is to ensure a better user experience. We do not collect sensitive and detailed data like Facebook and other social media networks.

How Unio Reinforces Data Security and Privacy

Data privacy and security are always important, but Unio takes it a step further. Any information that gets leaked could be an issue. A weak password can be a combination of your favorite zip code, year and pets like “Dog90210Cat2020”.

If that information is made public, your login credentials are not safe. Hackers can use this information to social engineer more information from your company.

Unio helps ensure that no information you send or receive is leakable.

How Can Businesses Benefit From Unio?

Secure communications are essential today. The more the public knows about you or your company, the more you open yourself up to the possibility of hacks like social engineering.

When discussing information or data pertinent to the company, secure your communications in any capacity or clearance level.

You need an application with an appropriate security level for your needs, although more security can be better, as long as you are okay with the accessibility trade-offs.

Remember, if you aren’t paying for a product, you are the product. At best, you’re giving up your data for companies to sell to third-party marketing companies. At worst, you are handing your data to potential competitors, third-parties, and other untrustworthy sources.

Do not take a chance on any of these scenarios coming to fruition. Unio ensures that your communications stay safe and secure at all times.

Unio: Exceptional User Experience + Secure Communications

Your data is essential and needs to be secured, no matter which vendor you choose for your next UCaaS solution.

Unio is the perfect solution for businesses that want to prioritize data privacy and usability. Your data does not touch our servers, and when we handle your data, we encrypt it via a multi-layered defense.

We cannot look at your messages,and we don’t want to. Other messaging applications don’t make these guarantees.

Unio is committed to helping clients communicate securely in an increasingly technological world. Preserving your data and the security of your data is important to us.

Whether you need a secure communications application for voice, text, or instant messaging, Unio is an excellent option for your businesses looking to modernize the way they communicate. Book a discovery call today to see the difference for yourself.

A Software Partner You Can Count On

Whether you need to improve engagement, augment your workforce, or modernize your business, MobiStream’s got you covered.