By: Brian T. Horowitz | October 4, 2013 (Featured on CruxialCIO)
If you have alliances, collaborative skunkworks, or close ties to suppliers, it may be time to get all of your partners into your mobile devices’ contacts directory so you can send them messages securely and immediately.
That’s the idea behind the latest version of the secure messaging service for enterprise customers that are sold at no charge by TigerText, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based provider of messaging tools for companies that allow employees to “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) to work.
What to Do:
Set messages to self-destruct after one week. Establish policies for which employees at other organizations should be included in the directory. Screen those employees. Require a passcode for accessing the secure messages. Activate encryption at the device level and server level to maintain compliance with HIPAA in health care and Sarbanes-Oxley in finance.
Communicating securely and regularly is important in industries such as health, defense, and finance. In those cases, in particular, financial data, medical information and national security can’t be compromised.
“What makes it unique is that we provide multidirectory support,” Marc Ladin, chief marketing officer, told CruxialCIO. He noted that a doctor practicing in multiple hospitals can send secure messages to more than one organization — as long as they are in the integrated directory — without having to log in and log out.
“You can maintain the sanctity of those corporate directories but still have multiple directories within a single application,” Ladin said.
Available on Apple or Android, the new version incorporates 256-bit encryption. That allows vendors to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Omnibus Rule, which requires such security before making business agreements. In addition, a multi-directory hierarchy allows users to organize messages according to company, organization, and employees.
The service can also be set up to work with cloud storage platforms such as Dropbox, which allow the exchange of large files safely.
TigerText allows messages to be sent over a broadband network, with the communications being sent “over the top” of a mobile service network. In effect, it’s akin to using Skype for video calls: Any Internet connection can be used and messages are sent using packets that adhere to Internet protocols. Phone calls using this practice are known as Voice over Internet Protocol communication.
The Internet-based messages replace the carriers’ own Short Message Service texts. As a result, over-the-top (OTT) communications represent the largest threat to mobile operator revenues in the last 10 years, according to Research and Markets. The research firm says VoIP is capturing an increasing proportion of mobile voice minutes but still accounts for less than a percent of all voice revenue for mobile service firms.
By the end of 2013, the number of OTT messages sent per day will double those of SMS messages, according to research firm Informa Telecoms & Media. A total of 41 billion OTT messages will be sent per day by the end of the year compared with 19.5 SMS messages.
OTT is a cheaper, more secure alternative to consumer Short Message Service text messaging, particularly for hospitals that need to keep communications about patient conditions secure, according to TigerText co-founder and CEO Brad Brooks. SMS is more susceptible to hacking and data breaches because they’re sent over telecommunication providers’ networks and can be intercepted. Senders lack control over SMS messages after they’re sent.
“The rise of over-the-top (‘OTT’) messaging supplanting SMS amongst consumers is widely recognized,” Brooks said in a statement. “We now see enterprises looking for an OTT messaging solution as they are realizing it provides a quicker, more efficient and safer way to communicate.”
The company aims to make OTT messaging as easy to use as SMS but more secure to protect sensitive data, such as financial records, Brooks noted.
TigerText allows messages to self-destruct after a certain amount of time. That ensures the contents can’t be purloined after that time.
In this new version, TigerText allows multimedia attachments, such as photos, video and recorded memos, of up to 10MB. In addition, users can enable message-deleting after they’ve been read. The company has also added a message-recall feature. Messages can be recalled automatically after being read or after a designated time.
To configure and control messaging for an entire staff, companies would need to pay a per-user monthly fee.