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Is WhatsApp Secure? Here's What Business Leaders Should Know

Jenna Alburger

May 6, 2020

The world's leading businesses trust WhatsApp to communicate with their customers. But, concerns about WhatsApp's security still exist. So, is WhatsApp secure? Here's what business leaders should know.

WhatsApp for Customer Communication is More Secure Than Email. Heres Why

What's up with WhatsApp? 

WhatsApp gets a lot of attention when it comes to privacy and security. With 1.5 billion active users in 180 countries, it's no surprise that the messaging giant is in the spotlight.

There are also more than five million businesses using WhatsApp Business. Business leaders see WhatsApp as a necessary tool to communicate with customers on their terms at scale. Anyhow, you may ask if is WhatsApp secure.

How secure is WhatsApp? 

All WhatsApp messages and calls are secured with end-to-end encryption. To frame this from a business context, this means that only the business and the customer can read messages or listen to calls. Nobody in between, not even WhatsApp can read business communication. 

End-to-end encryption prevents potential eavesdroppers – including telecom providers, Internet providers, the government, and even the provider of the communication service (like WhatsApp) from being able to access the cryptographic keys needed to decrypt the conversation.

What about the WhatsApp API? 

When businesses use WhatsApp at the enterprise level, it's so important for them to be able to manage communications at scale. They need more options to integrate WhatsApp into their existing workflows.

It's in WhatsApp's best interest to make this process manageable for larger companies. Why? Because WhatsApp wants its customers to receive quality, timely service on the application. 

For that reason, WhatsApp now offers a Business API that's designed for larger companies. Since it is an API, there is no front end interface needed. Instead, businesses take the WhatsApp API endpoint and integrate it into their business software.

The benefits of this are immense for enterprises. They can finally manage one to one conversations at scale. They can also use automation to handle repetitive queries and workflows. Again, all of this results in a more contextual, relevant, and timely level of service for the end customer. 

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How secure is the WhatsApp API? 

With the WhatsApp API, the end-to-end encryption of messages remains unchanged. The communication between the business and the customer is secure. 

The difference is that the business might need the help of a third party to provide the level of service a customer expects. For example, at the enterprise level, businesses generally will need a third party's help to automate queries, build chatbots, or other conversational technology. 

Those third parties are called WhatsApp Business Solution providers, and there are only 65 official providers worldwide. 

How can I protect my customers while using WhatsApp? 

If you’re an enterprise company using the WhatsApp API, make sure you're working with an official solution provider. There are plenty of rogue WhatApp business solution providers out there, and they may not have the proper security protocols in place. 

You can double-check to make sure your business solution provider is on this list from WhatsApp

What security measures do Business Solution Providers take? 

WhatsApp Business Solution Providers must comply with strict data and privacy regulations. At Hubtype, our products are designed to meet on European, Canadian, and US privacy laws. No matter where you are, you can be sure that our products and services comply with any privacy framework, including the GDPR.

We are also required to regularly conduct penetration tests to ensure enterprise-level security. A penetration test is an authorized security attack performed (almost always) by an external company. The external company will try to hack our systems to expose any vulnerabilities that should be fixed.

In addition, we make it easy for businesses to go into our API and erase all customer information. In this way, businesses can delete identifying information when it is no longer necessary to store.

How secure is WhatsApp compared to email? 

It's ironic that enterprise companies have concerns about WhatsApp yet fail to give their traditional communication tools a second thought. The main. question is if is WhatsApp secure.

For example, most email companies do not protect messages with end-to-end encryption. What's more, copies of emails are usually stored on mail servers. If those mail servers are not GDPR compliant (and not all of them are) the business can be held accountable. 

Even Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and other leading mail providers lack important security features. For example, Google can technically store messages indefinitely.

Despite efforts to increase security through features like confidential mode, businesses are still at risk. According to Gennie Gebhart, associate director of research at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), confidential mode provides absolutely no confidentiality from Google. 

“My biggest fear with confidential mode is that it will give users a false sense of security that prevents them from seeking more secure, end-to-end encrypted communication options, like Signal or WhatsApp," Gebhart tells Forbes

Institutions that use WhatsApp for customer communication

At Hubtype, we work with businesses for which security is a top concern. We've helped Bankia, Allianz, Zurich, and Volkswagen among others to use WhatsApp safely and securely.

“85% of customers who have a good experience with a brand on WhatsApp do not go back to other channels”

We know how important it is for businesses to comply with privacy and security legislation. Our tools and workflows are designed to protect you and your customers at all times. 

The world's leading banks and insurers trust Hubtype to safeguard their customer communications. We help enterprise companies serve customers on messaging at scale, without sacrificing security.

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