NEWS

November 28, 2018

5 Reasons WhatsApp is a Terrible Tool for Work

Back in 2009, you probably did not assume that a free instant messaging application would become one of the most used in the world.

According to the official statistics on messenger usage, WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users around the globe. With increasing urbanization and progressively increasing Internet usage, WhatsApp is spreading like a wildfire, and becoming one of the communication tools that people don’t use just privately, but also as a business communication tool.

Today, we send 200 million voice messages via WhatsApp daily, spend on average 195 minutes weekly and receive 34 billion text messages every-single-day. Your colleagues are even using it to share files that contain sensitive data, inform you about company announcements and changes in the business.

In a perfect world, you would never have to worry about your company being the victim of a data breach because you decided to communicate through the free app that is much faster than the email.

In the real world, chat applications are a ticking time bomb for businesses around the world while their most significant weaknesses and privacy concerns are successfully hidden in the Terms of Use.

If you are among 1.5 billion WhatsApp users and among 1.4 billion users who did not read WhatsApp’s Terms of Use, then this is your must-read article. 

The 5 Reasons WhatsApp is a Terrible Tool for Work

1. WhatsApp is NOT Made for Business Communication

Have you got a personal and business email address separated?

Just as your personal email, WhatsApp is made to be used for personal use only. That is clearly stated in WhatsApp’s Terms of Use and for your information- If you or your company use WhatsApp for business purposes, that is a contract breach.

2. WhatsApp Owns Your Confidential Data

Additionally, mixing private and business communication is not just unprofessional, but dangerous.

It is well known that messenger apps made for a personal use only are not as secure as applications made for business. In order to prevent loss of confidential company data, your company needs to ensure that information you share using communication tool cannot be accessed by the third party and can be erased at any time, which is impossible to do with WhatsApp.

By using WhatsApp, your company is losing the ownership of its confidential data and increasing the risk of data loss. Everything you shared via WhatsApp remains hidden and archived forever in the database of the app.

3. WhatsApp Sells Your Data to Make Money

The main advantage of WhatsApp is a free service without ads.

Does WhatsApp sell your data to companies and governments to make money? Yes, they do, and you are allowing them to by accepting their Terms of Use.

Here is an excerpt from it:

‘’You agree to our data practices, including the collection, use, processing, and sharing of your information as described in our Privacy Policy, as well as the transfer and processing of your information to the United States and other countries globally where we have or use facilities, service providers, or partners, regardless of where you use our Services. You acknowledge that the laws, regulations, and standards of the country in which your information is stored or processed may be different from those of your own country.’’

How does this impact your company?

Every time you are using a mobile phone owned by your company or sharing a company sensitive data via WhatsApp, you are increasing the risk of company data breach. If you are using the Web Version, that is even more serious.

Recently, the security researchers had effectively found ways to hack and exploit WhatsApp.

"By encrypting the WhatsApp communication, we were able to see all the parameters that are actually sent between the mobile version of WhatsApp and the Web version. This allowed us to then be able to manipulate them and start looking for security issues," the researchers explained.

Additionally, such a business model also conflicts with minimal use of personal data, general data reduction, and strong data protection.

4. WhatsApp is NOT GDPR Compliant

Under GDPR, businesses are required to be able to audit who has the access to which data. When you install WhatsApp, you give it permission to access all of the contacts on your device and actually exposing the data of all of your personal and professional contacts without their permission.

WhatsApp accesses the address books of employees, which contains confidential corporate and customer data and stores everything on their servers, taking it out of your control, which prevents data from being securely disposed of if a client wants to exercise their “right to be forgotten.”

In addition to this, WhatsApp cloud services are hosted in the USA which means that WhatsApp cannot comply with European law and European general data protection regulations.

5. WhatsApp Does Not Provide the Right Encryption

Although WhatsApp has announced an improved encryption, it currently does not provide the right encryption for your business - metadata, storage on the device, etc.

When a mobile device gets lost or stolen, there is no security layer that allows you to remotely block access, disable copying of messages or deleting confidential content. The same applies to a terminated employee who used WhatsApp for business purposes, there is no way to ensure the terminated employee's app can be wiped in real time off all company data.

 

In overall, usage of WhatsApp and similar consumer messaging apps in for work cannot be recommended at all. In order to avoid described damages and data breaches, a business should choose communication tools made for work like NYNJA.

 

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