With so many existing – and upcoming – regulations that govern the way we handle sensitive information, there’s never been a better time to ensure that your company has a resilient infrastructure in place. Alex Tebbs, Founder of unified communications business VIA, explores with CEO Today your options for safe and secure business communications.
Great communication is, as most businesses will agree, the key to success.
Creation of a collaborative environment that encourages transparency through communications is a value at the heart of many businesses today. The rise of the flexible working model and a more relaxed approach to the way we manage our businesses has changed people’s experience of the workplace greatly – but with these changes come some important considerations for CEOs.
No matter what your industry or business size, communication plays an essential role. But so do security and safety.
The importance of security in business communications
Security has always been important. As a CEO, your business’ communications are one of its assets, to be protected – especially when sensitive information is involved. You wouldn’t leave your laptop without a passcode or invite a stranger to browse your documentation storage, and in the same way, CEOs are fully aware of the necessity of secure comms in every area of the company.
The importance of security in communications is only going to grow as we move into the new year – a year which will see new regulations surrounding the way we keep data (GDPR) and record communications (MiFID II). These regulations (the latter being specific to the finance industry but the former relevant to all businesses) will mean every business needs to be compliant. Those that fail to comply with such laws are putting their customers at risk of identity theft or identity fraud, and themselves at risk of reputational damage.
Breaches can result in large fines too, which sends a clear message to businesses that the Government is serious about the security of personal data, and equally serious about sanctioning those that breach the law.
End-to-end encryption is key
With this in mind, it’s vital that businesses have a solid, watertight communications infrastructure in place.
One must-have component of this is the use of end-to-end encryption.
Whether you’re using cloud technology, a mobile phone or email, there’s a risk that messages can be intercepted and secure information divulged to the wrong people. This risk is eradicated with the use of encrypted communications, whereby all information passing is rendered useless to an interceptor.
There are many companies out there that offer tried-and-tested encrypted communications solutions, and the benefit to using a third party provider for this is that they will pay people to try and hack their system and identify any potential vulnerabilities far faster than an in-house solution could.
As well as a fully encrypted system, another option is direct connect. This means you have a dedicated line for your communications (telephone and electronic) over which your information can pass, without crossing the public telephone system or public superhighway, mitigating any chances of ‘telephone tapping’.
Knowledge is power when it comes to secure communications
By encouraging more open communications, business leaders can facilitate improved collaboration and, as a result, better results from their staff and greater satisfaction amongst customers for whom transparency is a real benefit.
But with this more open approach to communications comes the risk that colleagues are using their own devices or tools to communicate with one another. The growing culture for BYOD (bring your own device) cultivates this, representing another risk for employers.
As a result, we recommend every business have clear communications policies in place. Let your team know how they are expected to communicate and which channels are cleared for secure use. Having a unified communications solution with in build security can make this process much easier, by securing all communications tools in one secure platform.
It’s also imperative that as your business grows, whether nationally or internationally, the infrastructure is consistent from office to office. This will save time and money and improve collaboration and staff efficiency across the different teams.
Essentially, whether you’re using a cloud based communications platform or a more traditional tools such as basic email providers or instant messaging, security is, and will continue to be, a hugely important concern for CEOs as we move into 2018 and beyond.