By Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief, ReHack.com
Communication is an incomparable business tool. It brings customers and employees together to facilitate sales and solve inquiries, whether in person or over the internet. With the rise of virtual communication products like apps and chatbots, businesses are shifting the way they interact with consumers. However, with this comes cybersecurity concerns.
The digital world can be a vulnerable place. Cybersecurity threats have risen significantly throughout the pandemic because people are relying on technology to connect. Fortunately, the following practices will help any business with communication tool safety protocols.
1. Use Encrypted Platforms
The first step for any organization is to ensure communication platforms have end-to-end encryption. Chatbots and messaging apps hold a lot of data at any given moment as they transfer information back and forth.
Something like a text message already has encryption. Chatbots, though, combine synchronous and asynchronous channels, which means they operate in real-time but allow customers to chat at a comfortable pace. Without the right privacy, the contents could be stolen during this conversation.
However, end-to-end encryption ensures the sender and receiver of a message are the only two parties that can view it. All companies that use chatbots must make sure they offer this form of encryption.
2. Enable Authentication
Just as communication platforms must offer encryption, they should also have authentication settings for consumers and employees alike. Though chatbots talk to consumers autonomously through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), professionals still need to secure these platforms. Similarly, if the chat is part of an app, that requires strict authentication, too.
Enabling biometrics, strong passwords and two-factor authentication systems will help secure these communication channels. Users on each end of the chat can use thumbprints or facial identification to see the conversation, ensuring that only they can access the private data.
3. Limit Access
Authentication is half the access battle. While the above protocols help protect communication channels, it’s also critical to limit access within the workplace. Unnecessary parties could increase the chances of infiltration.
Information could be leaked accidentally, and more access means people are operating on additional devices. These vulnerabilities can pave the way for cyberthreats.
Instead, the workplace should limit access to chatbot and app data to only the employees who specialize in those areas. Workers should have access codes and isolated networks for these dynamics as well.
4. Create a Team
When it comes to cybersecurity, having an IT team in place is perhaps one of the most important practices. A group that’s directly responsible for protecting digital networks and assets will be on top of any threats and vulnerabilities, especially with customer-facing platforms.
An IT team will analyze the data from users, enable encryption and authentication protocols, and monitor the layers of protection for the business. These employees should respond to threats with alert systems and prevent any data theft or fraud. In addition, if a breach does occur, they can figure out ways to keep those instances from happening again.
5. Audit and Diagnose
There will always be room for improvement. This idea applies to chatbots and apps themselves, as well as the way businesses protect them. Chatting is instant, and the bots can carry out conversations with customers, accurately addressing their questions. Companies can run audits and diagnostics to properly protect this sensitive dynamic.
Whether it’s an inter-company operation or through an outside party, audits help address what needs improvement. IT professionals can see where errors or vulnerabilities are in encryption or authentication systems, then fix them quickly. This process should be an ongoing one that continuously improves communication platforms.
6. Provide Education
Roughly 90% of cyberattacks are due to human error. Businesses should encourage training and education to reduce this number.
Through meetings, interviews, surveys and training programs, employees can learn more about how they can mitigate their own vulnerabilities to cyberthreats as they interact with customers digitally.
Since the online landscape always changes with the times, ongoing training is the best solution to ensure communication platforms are as secure as possible.
A Secure Communication Dynamic
Any business can secure its communication channels with the above steps and practices. That way, customers get the best service possible and companies can rest assured that no cyberthreats will deter these connections. Improved cybersecurity is here — it’s time to step up the game.
Devin Partida is an industrial tech writer and the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com, a digital magazine for all things technology, big data, cryptocurrency, and more. To read more from Devin, please check out the site.