Messaging has triumphed in the consumer space. Now, it’s invading the workplace. And why not? Messaging helps people work faster and smarter. But there’s a problem: security. In this exclusive Future of Messaging series video, Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence, addresses the topic…
When Infinite Convergence launched the secure enterprise messaging product NetSfere in 2014, it did so with three insights. The first was that messaging had taken hold of the consumer imagination. People loved that messaging was asynchronous, personal and immediate. So much better than email or, God forbid, fax.
The second insight was that consumers would take their love of messaging into the enterprise. They would begin using chat services such as WhatsApp, Kik, Facebook Messenger and others for work purposes.
The final realisation was that third party messaging in the workplace was perilous for employers. Who was reading and storing these messages? What would happen to that data when an employee moved on?
Two years ago we had to convince enterprises about the need for this solution. But in the last 24 months because of all the abuses of trust and privacy violations with consumer apps, the awareness has grown exponentially. Enterprises are saying: we need a solution. It’s a no brainer.”
nfinite Convergence’s CEO Anurag Lal observed that this vulnerability would cause some enterprises to prohibit the use of messaging apps in their organisations. This is understandable. But it’s also hard to police and potentially unpopular with staff who find messaging convenience and productive.
Lal reasoned that a better solution was to give enterprises and their employees a manageable messaging alternative. NetSfere was the result.
He was ahead of his time. In 2014, only the most tech-savvy organisations were fully aware of the dangers. Now, with Mark Zuckerberg giving evidence to US Senate committees, that awareness is widespread.
“Two years ago we had to convince enterprises about the need for this solution,” says Lal. “But in the last 24 months because of all the abuses of trust and privacy violations with consumer apps, the awareness has grown exponentially. Enterprises are saying: we need a solution. It’s a no brainer.”
NetSfere gives enterprises a secure messaging service that offers device-to-device encryption and administrative controls. However, Infinite Convergence has been careful to ensure that NetSfere also gives users the features they want.
Last year, it upgraded the product with new options such as encrypted HD audio group calling, polling and a meeting scheduler. As a result, Lal describes NetSfere a more like an operating environment than a mere chat service.
He says: “It includes not just messaging but voice and video and group calls — all the tools for an enterprise user to stay within it…meanwhile the enterprise gets security, encryption and the chance to own their data. But most important they get the productivity gains they would otherwise lose.”
Employers also get the ability to decide who uses the product, and which features the users can access. For Lal, this is crucial.
“Enrterprises absolutely have to mandate it,” he says. “They can do this through mobile device management technologies to decide what can be done on the device, and they can build in controls to view who’s leveraging it for what purpose.”
Another benefit of secure messaging is that it gives enterprises a record of historic communications. This helps enterprises meet regulatory obligations — something less ‘fit for purpose’ products can’t do.
Lal gives an example. “Take Uber. Its management team was using an app that would destroy communication in a manner that contradicted their corporate responsibilities. Wrong decision.”
To hear more from Anurag Lal on the topic of secure mobile messaging, take a look at the exclusive video interview with MEF.
This Executive Insights Video Series, in association with Netsfere looks at the future of messaging and business communications.