(Or, How Not to Go About Employee Engagement)
WhatsApp is brilliant. Most people who use it agree? Except possibly the police and the security services who find its almost impenetrable cryptography a frustration when trying to listen in on the nefarious activities of drug barons and other bad people.
That aside, it’s still brilliant. You can download it easily from the app stores, open an account and be up and sending pictures and text messages before you even get out of bed in the morning. The advantages of free apps like this are obvious.
However, for a business, and in particular a business that wants to be in business next week, and that cares about its data and whose server it ends up on; that cares about the private information of others; and that gives a hoot or two about their staff, surely you have got to aim higher than ‘free’. This is where security focused care communications apps come to the fore.
It’s kind of ironic that communications technology like WhatsApp has its philosophical roots in privacy, freedom and the human right to express our views. Ironic because the way that many of us use / abuse these tools often violates others’ privacy and could one day end in incarceration or a cease and desist order for approving its use into a professional, work environment!
So, just in case you are tempted to casually allow your workforce to use one of the many free and easy social comms apps to convey the thoughts and information carrying your organisation’s reputation and customers’ confidentiality with every click, here are a few good reasons not to close your eyes to this practice and consider a communications change today…
Since the advent of the camera phone, there have been great advantages and huge risks to being able to save time, money and travel by sending healthcare work-related pictures of things such as skin conditions back to a doctor or head office for a second opinion. This is something that professional care communication tools do very well, and very securely and very safely. There is no need for me to spell out the risks involved with using a free app to start sending medical images…
Let’s face it, when you are dealing with a client or customer, they don’t think twice about the thing you’re using on your mobile device to send real-time feedback about the meeting or care visit that you are having. Though I’m sure that if they did happen to ask what app you were opening, I think they would feel a whole lot better about your organisation and you, if you assured them that you were using a professional tool that only accredited, trusted and selected colleagues could access. It’s not only professional, but clearly the only respectful choice too.
The police might not be able to read encrypted messages but your friends can. ‘Fat finger’ mis-sends happen every second of the day. Consider just for one second the possible implications.
The tone of a comment can easily be misread, especially when the sender is trying to be humorous. Quick, ill-thought out responses to messages are far easier to get wrong if you are using a communication tool that you also use to talk to your friends outside of work. Whilst the NHS may consider WhatsApp an acceptable tool under very specific circumstances. A professional, monitored and audited work tool is used with a lot more respect and consideration, even if it is for fear of the consequences.
Your free app sends any message you like but what message are you sending to your staff by acting so fast and loose with confidential information about your clients and organisation? Who cares? Management don’t…
The Cost of (Weak) Security
And finally, cost. The cost of a free app is clearly nothing in terms of your itemised company phone bill. But it is even more apparent that the cost to you, your reputation and your business and everyone who relies on you if / when this false saving becomes the most expensive error you ever made.
If you were a pilot, you wouldn’t use an Audi estate to transport 300 passengers to New York during the week, and an Airbus A380 to take the kids to the park on a Saturday morning. Common sense and business logic dictates that you’d use something a little more appropriate for the job. So why would you use the same communication apps that you use to circulate pictures of your cats amongst your friends, to send messages about critical medications to your work colleagues?
I could go on, but I won’t! Information security is a risk that not only should you not take, but, as I have said elsewhere, it is a completely unnecessary risk and one you don’t have to take at all. In my view, it is irresponsible and borderline reckless. As Zammo said in a slightly different context and now quite ancient time, “Just say no!” (Anyone under 45 just Google it…).
Looking for the right way to go about security when it comes to your Social Care and Healthcare comms? Look no further and book your demo now.