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Secure Auditing: Be in Control and Manage Risk

17 Sep 2020 | Enrique Pena

Denying the use of messenger apps is like denying the many business benefits of using them. The simple truth is, they are an efficient business tool. The speed and ease of messenger apps, combined with the immediacy and information sharing, is invaluable for any organisation. Whether it is about exchanging information with partners or suppliers, or getting help from colleagues that may be across the floor, department, or countries - it is just a ping away. For commercial business or any government organisation, messengers have proven to accelerate decision-making and operations, and improve teamwork.

However, using any of the most popular messenger apps, along with their current security loopholes, for business communications does not make good business sense. Free and secure messaging apps are widely available, and their popularity and availability are blinding decision-makers about the need to choose a truly private or standalone messenger. As a result of this, your staff may use their personal and work messaging accounts interchangeably, exposing your business conversations and sensitive data to the adversaries should a personal account be compromised.

Free and secure does not equal to private

Relying on popular free messaging apps exposes you to more risk than you realise. Relying solely on popular messaging tools without considering how they work leaves some security paths at risk. It's crucial to carefully consider having controls in place to protect it. In The Right Messenger , I’ve discussed several practical aspects on what to focus on and look for when choosing a secure and privacy by-design enterprise or government-grade messenger solution. Here, I would like to add ‘secure auditing’ to the wish-list.

A business messenger with auditing features is essential to managing risk, transparency, and governance for organisations. Like in any internal audit, they serve an important role in, e.g. fraud prevention. Business processes and operations need various forms of internal controls to facilitate supervision and monitoring, prevent and detect irregular transactions and behaviours, measure ongoing performance and maintain adequate records. Systematic analysis of an organisation's operations and maintaining rigorous systems of controls tend to prevent and detect various forms of fraud and other irregularities. Audit results yield root cause analysis which can then be incorporated in lessons learned, staff education and awareness creation, and thus to measurable improvements.

Auditing increases productivity and data security

A messenger solution with secure auditing capabilities allows for the inspection, observation, inquiry, confirmation, analytical procedures, and re-performance of the solution itself. Audit controls enable administrators to manage the use of messengers not only in terms of who will be allowed access them but whom can users communicate with, including guidelines on prohibitive activities, and more; enabling them to derive benefits of productivity and data security.

The objectives of audit controls are to monitor and protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information in any collaboration platform. These basic elements of information security help to ensure that an organisation can protect against sensitive or confidential information being given away, leaked or otherwise exposed, both accidentally or deliberately. Strong auditing is designed to prevent, detect, and in worst-case scenarios, mitigate, investigate and recover from such occurrences. Also known as cyber resilience.

Auditing capabilities have become a critical mechanism for ensuring the integrity of information and the prevention of data leaks and future fiascos. By allowing your staff to use free, consumer-grade collaborative communication tools, you will never be in control of and protect your communications and neither will you learn how to improve on it.

Managing risk while forming compliance and trust

Auditing features in controlled messenger apps enable organisations to capture all communications and content, and access the data via live feeds, or via archived logs. Conversations can be captured, including file sharing, screenshots - regardless of the device or location of the user. It logs activities which help form trails and transcripts that further help organisations in forensic efforts and breach-related investigative purposes.

All this may sound hair-raising and everything but respecting staff members' privacy - but it is all about managing business risk. And not only that, but we are talking about meeting a multitude of compliance obligations too, such as those of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). A certification with ISO confirms that the business is following the guidelines set by ISO and can be used to boost the business's image. For responsible businesses, auditable collaborative communication tools are invaluable. They help an organisation comply with data retention and communications regulations and legislations, which your organisation will have to meet for new contractual obligations.

It pays out too. You remain competitive in the marketplace while your brand gains trust - which is a critical factor in driving revenue and profitability. Let alone remain productive and cyber resilient by avoiding being hacked. Choosing a secure, private and auditable messenger solution should be the responsibility of all managers, information system administrators, and users in general, to ensure that their information is properly managed and protected from the variety of risks and threats faced by every organisation.

Secure auditing with KATIM® Messenger

At Digital14, we have developed the KATIM® Messenger, a cross-platform chat, audio and video conference power tool, so that organisations can communicate with absolute certainty of privacy. And when it comes to secure auditing, not only KATIM® Messenger provides it, we also make sure that malicious users cannot circumvent it. For a demo, and to learn more, contact us . We can help you take steps to validate your secure communications assumptions and make enhancements to help ensure that trust can be maintained before it is broken.

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