Published on: August 7, 2022
You hear about data leaks and cyber attacks almost daily, and nevertheless so many companies still don’t understand why it’s important to achieve secure communications.
Many have rushed over digital communication channels during the recent pandemic without proper knowledge and understanding of the risks involved, which explains the rise in data breaches and cybercrime in general.
To discuss how organisations should approach communication security, we invited Nicole Allen, the Senior Marketing Executive at Salt Communications, a company specialised in protecting the confidentiality of sensitive enterprise information.
Business owners and normal people alike cannot ignore these cyber threats anymore, so we asked Nicole to explain why communication security is crucial nowadays and how to better protect your online conversations.
Please describe the story behind Salt Communications: How did it all start, and how has it evolved so far?
Salt Communications, headquartered in Belfast N. Ireland was formed in 2013 by a group of tech entrepreneurs with a shared history in enterprise security, telecoms, network optimisation and app development. After the release of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android in 2009, the founders of Salt observed a significant movement towards mobility. It was obvious that communication applications were altering how people used their phones, but they were primarily designed with customers in mind. They recognised that there was a chance to create a system that provided all the appealing features of consumer apps while concentrating on an organisation’s security. This would enable organisations to maintain compliance, have complete control over their system, and, of course, keep their private communications confidential.
Salt has evolved to a stage where we work with many different industries across the globe who all see the significance of using a secure communications system. Our customers include global law firms, financial institutions, defence and security clients, oil and gas companies and large enterprises.
What are the key features of your security platform?
Our key features within our security platform are secure voice, messaging, conference calling, broadcasting and image or file transfers for busy professionals who need to make important decisions on the move.
We also offer unique features such as the ability to restrict users from taking screenshots, the ability to prevent users having the capabilities to download documents & images and the ability for users to purge messages from their device & all recipients devices too – a function that can be done manually, or have a timer setting.
What are the most common risks caused by a lack of security in communication?
Hackers are looking for any way to access smartphones and tablets as they become commonplace companions. Many people assume that iPhones and Android devices are secure by default, but in truth, security settings adjustments must be made by the user. Some of the most common risks are that hackers can acquire access to a nearby mobile device in less than 30 seconds with the correct tools, mirror the device so they can see all communication methods on the device if not using a secure business communications app or implant malware so they can steal data from it whenever they want.
Did you notice a change in the general awareness of cybersecurity since the Covid outbreak?
Yes – quite drastically actually. As many people know, the Government limitations put in place in reaction to the coronavirus epidemic encouraged workers to work from home. As a result, technology now plays a bigger role in both our personal and professional life. Despite this increase in technological demand, it is apparent that some organisations still do not offer a “cyber-safe” environment for remote working. While business meetings were once held in person, they now mostly occur online.
With this in mind we noticed many more organisations taking an interest in protecting their devices against cyber attacks and how they can do their best to protect themselves and the workforce. A lot of this came down to the fact that many people were now working off their home WIFI and personal devices for work matters. A lot of confidential information is now being passed through personal devices and networks which don’t have anywhere near the same amount of protection as corporate networks. As a result of this many organisations have put communication policies in place, continually monitor systems, educate employees more on the risks and are using a secure communication system for all confidential matters.
What are the best practices for data protection against cyberattacks that every business should apply?
Threat detection has gotten harder since attackers are always coming up with new ways to access sensitive data. Furthermore, privileged and remote users are now among the top insider actors due to the recent trend of remote work and the granting of privileged access to numerous employees. One of the best practices would be to employ a people-centric cybersecurity approach when communicating throughout the organisation. Your strongest security shield or your worst security threat can both be people.
Since hackers frequently employ people as entry points, a technology-centric approach to cybersecurity is no longer sufficient to provide complete protection. Therefore, the greatest strategy for reducing risks associated with people is to take a people-centric approach. The employees themselves are a crucial perimeter in people-centric security. By giving particular employees control over a secure communications system it grants staff the freedom to use devices, handle information, and take security measures by confiding in their staff and putting them in charge of protecting the corporate data they utilise. This will significantly take the pressure of those staff in charge of where their information is going and how it is being controlled.
It’s essential to consider both the threats that your employees could pose and how important they are to your cybersecurity. The two most important factors to take into account while attempting to defend your cyber environment are training and workforce monitoring to protect your confidential data at all times.
What can normal users do to secure their communications?
For anyone who is concerned about their communications outside of business use I would recommend being follow these simple steps:
- When system update alerts instruct you to do so, upgrade your laptop or mobile device’s operating system.
- Make sure your web browser is up to date. Change your passwords frequently, and make sure they are unique across all SNSs and other critical platforms including business accounts, bank accounts, and personal email accounts.
- When available, enable multi-factor authentication. Popular SNSs frequently include this option, but the user must choose to activate it. This can be located in the SNS search bar or help tab.
- Watch out for people requesting connections, including those who have established ties to friends or relatives on your network. There are active fraudsters posing as trustworthy acquaintances.
- Pay close attention to pop-up notifications while browsing and refrain from granting security exceptions, especially for expired certificates, or ignoring security alarms and warnings.
If you keep these steps in mind, you will keep your device up to date and protected as best as you can.
How do you envision the future of your industry and your company?
We envision our future as being the go to name of the secure communications world. We are working hard on many exciting features and projects in our pipeline that will all be announced very soon! In the meantime we will always be working with our clients to facilitate what their day to day needs are within their communications and how we can continue to help secure their communications. Keep an eye out for what’s coming up!