The best encrypted messaging apps to keep your team connected

August 17th, 2021 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Heidi Kraak

If your team works remotely, regularly travels or moves between different offices, maintaining healthy lines of communication can often be complex. Mobile messaging apps are a simple way to keep connected on-the-go. However, not all mobile messaging apps are equal.

Different mobile apps have varying degrees of security. If you are discussing sensitive, work-related information with your staff or team mates, you need to be sure your messages are not being intercepted by any third parties. A simple way to do this is to ensure the messaging apps you use are end-to-end encrypted.

What is end-to-end encryption?

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a security measure preventing third parties from accessing information during online communication. Similarly to VPN solutions, EE2E functions like a tunnel, connecting the message sender to the message receiver, and preventing third parties from accessing that message during transit. EE2E is unique in that only the endpoints – sender and receiver – can decipher and read the message, meaning hackers, ISPs or any other prying eyes cannot access or tamper with the message.

Why is end-to-end encryption important?

EE2E encryption is highly important in today’s business landscape because it keeps your messages and calls secure. If you are communicating sensitive business details or any other information that you would rather a third party not have access to, E2EE is a very useful tool. A single cyber attack or data leak can have disastrous implications for your business. If your staff are communicating using their mobiles, mitigating security risks should be at the top of your agenda – utilising encrypted messaging apps is a simple, cost-effective way to minimise risk.

How end-to-end encryption works.

E2EE, as its name suggests, encrypts and decrypts messages at each end of the communication. In the context of a message, the message contents will be encrypted – the process of transferring information from plaintext to an alternative ciphertext – before it leaves the sender’s device. The indecipherable ciphertext will travel to the receiver’s device and then be decrypted – transferred back to plaintext – when it arrives. This process is enabled by a technology known as ‘public and private key pairs’, which enables the encryption and decryption processes.

What are the most secure messaging apps for your business?

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most secure end-to-end encrypted messaging apps available, so you can make informed decisions around which apps are the best to keep your team connected.

Signal

As any quick Google search will demonstrate, Signal is arguably the most secure messaging app out there. Not only is Signal end-to-end encrypted, but it is not owned by a tech company. Instead, it is independently structured through a non-profit organisation funded entirely by grants and donations.

Endorsed by the likes of Edward Snowden and Elon Musk, Signal experienced a surge in popularity after WhatsApp updated it’s privacy policy, forcing new users to share data with parent company, Facebook. The only data Signal collects from its users are phone numbers. Additionally, not even Signal can access your messages or listen to your calls. Signal is also an open source application, meaning the source code can be accessed or audited by anyone.

If you’re looking for an ultra secure way to communicate with your team, Signal is a great option. Plus, it’s free to use – all you need is a phone number.

Telegram

Similarly to Signal, Telegram gained popularity following WhatsApp’s announcement it would be sharing user data with Facebook. Not only is Telegram encrypted, it also offers a range of other security features, including self-destructing messages and software that prevents users from forwarding messages without the sender’s knowledge. Unlike Signal, however, Telegram users must opt-in to these security features, including encryption.

Some of Telegram’s other popular features include a massive 200,000 group chat capacity and the ability to migrate message histories from WhatsApp and other similar messaging apps. However, ultra security conscious individuals and businesses should be aware – the platform can access users’ contacts and some other information, such as IP addresses.

Wickr

Despite recently being acquired by Amazon, Wickr’s free ‘basic’ plan offers encrypted messaging services and voice and video calling, as well as secure screen sharing. Paid tiers could be a good option for businesses, with perks such as unlimited users and storage, pre-configured security groups, dedicated support and onboarding training, and much more.

Wickr is an open source application and has a track record of transparency, producing semi-annual reports with information about requests for account information and other elements impacting user security.

Line

Popular in Japan, Line is much more than simply a messaging app. Initially developed as a communication tool following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, Line has since been adapted for everyday messaging use. With a range of handy features, such as using QR codes to quickly add contacts or shaking two phones close together, Line is considered a ‘super app’ with a plethora of other capabilities, including social media feeds, news, banking, food ordering and much more.

From a security perspective, Line offers end-to-end encryption, titled ‘letter sealing’, which is available to all users as an ‘opt-in’. It’s worth noting, however, that Line is owned by a South Korean internet provider Naver and SoftBank Corp.

WhatsApp

Widely used all over the world, WhatsApp’s popularity took a plunge after it revealed new users would share their data with the app’s parent company, Facebook. Data-sharing concerns aside, WhatsApp offers end-to-end encrypted messaging and doesn’t store messages on its servers. With solutions for small to medium businesses and enterprises, WhatsApp is a useful messaging platform for businesses or enterprises that are not concerned by potential data sharing with Facebook.

Need a business mobile plan?

It’s worth noting that most of the aforementioned E2EE messaging apps require users to have a mobile phone number and access to the internet. Increasingly, businesses need to provide staff with mobile plans that include data. This is not only so they can communicate securely, but because of an increasing dependency on cloud-based applications – access to mobile data means staff can securely connect to company servers and other protected resources while they’re on the go and travelling, or working remotely.

Here at Aussie Broadband, we have a great range of cost-effective, flexible mobiles plans for your staff. With options for SIM-only plans or handsets-included solutions, our easy-to-use mobile fleet management system and data-sharing makes it easy to keep track of your business mobile fleet. Check out our business SIM-only deals here and our great range of handsets here.