WhatsApp has been in the press the last couple of weeks regarding their updated terms of service, and we’ve had a few questions about what it means…
There are two questions that need to be answered.
There’s a slightly cheeky third question about whether you’ve already got a FaceBook or Instagram account.
Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp. We don’t pay for the privilege of using any of these services. There’s that old saying of ‘you don’t get something for nothing’.
A lot of the changes that Facebook are trying to make are related to business plug-ins, instant chat etc. However, this comes back to the first question. What are you using WhatsApp for?
Given that WhatsApp offers encryption by default, it’s started to bleed into some businesses as a chat platform. The encryption also works against the business, because it means you’ve got no visibility into what your employees are discussing, or potentially what data is being shared. This is even more relevant for those that are using the desktop versions of WhatsApp who can share files directly from your business network.
Several chat platforms that are built for business can be covered by your managed services agreement. This means that the chats are backed up, and if necessary can be referred to when it comes to insider malicious behaviour.
We’ve seen a number of businesses in the financial sector prohibit the use of WhatsApp as a platform for commercially sensitive reasons, such as insider trading risks.
As a business owner or IT manager, it’s important that you’ve got control of your data and communications platforms. WhatsApp doesn’t allow you to do either of those.
If you’ve already got a Facebook or Instagram account, you’ve already given away most of your personal data anyway. So if you’re only using WhatsApp to share memes, talk to your family members about the cute thing your son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandchild/dog/cat/ did, then continue to use WhatsApp to your hearts desire.
If you’re wanting to ensure the provenance of your business communications, and ensure your data remains safe, then talk to us about the appropriate tool for your business.
Interestingly, given the backlash to the updated policy, they’ve pushed the updated terms of service out a couple of months.
PS: These are our opinions and recommendations – you can read the FAQ direct from WhatsApp here:
If you’re looking for an alternative to WhatsApp – here’s an interesting opinion piece: