Privacy

Convenience and Privacy in Online Business Communications: Are They Mutually Exclusive?

Privacy and Convenience can both exist in business collaboration.

Using online communication tools at the office has become second nature—it just makes life easier and business more efficient. Need to drop a quick note to a co-worker with a project update? Send it on Slack. Need to discuss a deal with a potential client halfway across the country? Set up a meeting on Zoom. But as we look a little closer  we  become quickly aware of the potential risks of sharing  business information online . We’re now at a turning point where consumers and businesses alike are realizing that they don’t want to  sacrifice the security of their sensitive information for the sake of convenience. But the question is: Do they have to?

Convenience vs Privacy

All too often, companies creating communications tools opt for ease-of-use at the cost of privacy and security. Just last week, it came to light that Zoom, in an attempt to make Mac users’ experience  more seamless, set up a workaround for a privacy feature on Safari web browser—which  inadvertently allowed would-be hackers to gain access to a video chat or meeting. This Zoom glitch—and the response it generated—raises the question of whether there must be a trade-off between convenience and privacy when it comes to business collaboration online. These kinds of situations—where convenience is prioritized over security and privacy isn’t limited to Zoom—they’re more a trend of the trade. Slack, another prominent business collaboration tool, stores conversations to make them easy-to-access, but in the process puts them at risk of being leaked or hacked. Organizations should evaluate how online tools view convenience and privacy to ensure that they align with their own policies and views.  

The People Want Privacy

The Zoom security flaw wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a company—it was the kind of bug companies find themselves and fix regularly. What’s different about it, though, is that the company defended its decision, claiming the vulnerability was ‘low-risk’, before making a complete 180 and pushing out an emergency patch. The news about Zoom came on the heels of revelations that Google and Amazon home assistant products use employees to monitor customer conversations—so it’s no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the possible cost that comes with the tools that make our lives so much more convenient—our privacy. 

Where people once handed over privacy and security without a second thought in exchange for convenience, people and organizations are now thinking twice about whether convenience is really worth risking sensitive information. And their concern has had an impact—according to Zoom’s Chief Information Officer, the decision to push an emergency patch was “based on the feedback of the people who have been following this and contributing to the discussion”.

So, Does it Have to be One or the Other?

The general trend of business collaboration tools –Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp–seems to suggest that yes—consumers often have to choose between convenience and security—but at Vaporstream, we disagree. We know that convenience can exist side-by-side with security and privacy, which is why we’ve developed a secure communication solution that allows you to collaborate with your team from your mobile device, tablet or desktop—sharing ideas,  and making joint decisions—securely, confidentially andeasily. Our solution is simple to install and intuitive to use, making it easy to send and receive messages without any risk of your information being leaked or hacked. To learn what makes us both easy to use and secure, download our NowSecure Case Study here

Contributor: Kristi Perdue Hinkle