News / Unsecure Mobile Messaging Apps and Services Rampant in Finance Industry
By Akin Naphtal, Nov 09, 2015

A study by Infinite Convergence Solutions finds financial institutions are allowing employees to communicate via mobile messaging on unsecure apps and platforms. According to the study, 50 percent of financial institution employees use mobile messaging daily, yet 38 percent of employers do not have an official platform internal or third party whatsoever.

“We found that financial employees use mobile messaging more frequently for business communication than voice calling,” said Anurag Lal, CEO of Infinite Convergence. “But many financial institutions still underestimate how prevalent mobile messaging is in their organizations, and they don’t have policies in place to address the same. They’re unknowingly exposing themselves to security breaches and leaving room for sensitive company information to be mined and compromised.”

Most official third-party messaging apps are not enterprise-grade

Although 62 percent of financial employees say their employer has an official third-party mobile messaging platform, the study found the majority of the mobile messaging services that financial institutions implement are not equipped to securely communicate and exchange confidential company information.

Twenty percent of employees say their company uses WhatsApp as the official mobile messaging platform; 18 percent say it’s Gchat; and 16 percent say it’s Facebook Messenger.

“Financial institutions are relying on typically consumer-facing messaging apps for their employees to communicate extremely private information,” said Lal. “End users like the convenience and the immediacy of response of mobile messaging, but the majority of services being used are not made for enterprise-level communication. They do not have the ability to meet compliance requirements, especially in the case of regulated industries, such as finance.”

Of the respondents who say their employer does not have an official mobile messaging platform, 67 percent say the company does not recommend a specific mobile messaging service, either.

Mobile messaging prevalence

Ninety-five percent of financial employees use mobile messaging at least a few times per week. Only 8 percent of employees prefer not to use messaging apps.

As companies operate on an “always-on” basis, communicating immediately with clients, colleagues and partners is critical. The study found that 45 percent of financial employees say immediacy of information needed to communicate matters most when they’re deciding whether to email, mobile message, and call or communicate information in person.

“Companies across the board have been slow to adopt enterprise-grade, IT-managed mobile messaging, which is especially dangerous for financial institutions,” said Lal. “Our study shows that employees are using mobile messaging, likely more than employers thought. Financial institutions need to get on board with secure mobile messaging before the insecure platforms employees are currently using compromise proprietary company information.”

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