Communication and meaningful interactions are what make an organization more efficient. Without members’ interaction, the concerned workplace can hardly offer a favorable business output. However, communications and information sharing between employees require a medium, which can fulfill the purpose of effective organizational communication, as well as sharing of crucial data and useful updates. Several organizations use IM clients such as WhatsApp and Skype Chat to help their members communicate individually in groups. However, many of them do not realize about dangers that internet-hosted IM clients pose to an organization and the associated information shared on these third-party IM client apps that are hosted on external servers.
To tackle these issues, it’s important that the organizations figure out a way to protect both their organizational data & employee information and other sensitive files & information that they share on their preferred IM client. Let’s see how an in-house IM client can be a better and more secure solution to facilitate instant communication between members in an office space.
How In-House Instant Messengers are Different From Third-Part IM Apps?
Third-party IM clients such as Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype allow you to communicate and share information by offering you a transfer medium between the sender and the receiver. That medium is the concerned IM client’s data centers, wherein the entire data and chats that you share on the app are stored. Basically, all the files you share, organizational strategies you discuss, and all the information you pass on using that IM client are transferred to the IM client servers, and it’s stored there in the form of a database.
That puts that information at risk of theft and hijacking. Another concern raised by many reviewers is that the data will have to pass through the public networks, and on the Internet, no one can confidently say that this data will not be intercepted by hackers and prying governments, who may misuse it.
On the other hand, in-house, IM client apps work only for your office space. Unlike third-party IM client app servers, in-house instant messengers are connected to your office network only. This means that the data shared between the sender and receiver on such IM client apps is transmitted via the server, which is installed inside your work location. This allows you to keep your shared data within your organization on a trusted server, which is not connected to a public network.
How In-House IM Clients Works?
The process is almost the same as of the third-party IM client servers, albeit with minor differences. Firstly, the IM server here is in your own office space instead of the owner corporation of some other third-party IM app. This makes you, or any appointed person in the IT administration of your organization, the controller-administrator of your in-house IM client. Now, in order to use the IM client app, the concerned user would be provided with a specifically generated username and password (which can be changed later).
Once the password is entered, the in-house server would directly load the user’s account with the list of members working within the organization, which would form your personalized in-office buddy list. The rest of the process is exactly the same. The sender types a message, which is transmitted to the in-house server and is then transferred to the receiver. And all of that is done in seconds, so you never get the hold of the entire transmission, thus allowing you to give and receive immediate responses.
The in-house IM client app working on an in-house server connected to a private network allows you to keep your data within the walls of your work location. But that’s not all an in-house instant messenger offers you.
What Benefits do In-House, Hosted IM Clients Offer Against Third-Party IM Client Apps
Why should an organization use an in-house IM client vis-a-vis an easily and freely available third-party instant messenger? Here is a list of all the plus points that would help you understand why third-party messengers, despite the features they offer are not suitable for organizations:
1. Information Sharing Becomes Safer
The packets information you share on an in-house IM client app in the form of an image or a document gets transmitted across the office network only and is stored on a server there before being transmitted to the receiver. Since the data shared remains within your owned network and servers, and are not with a third-party corporation, you need not worry about the possibility of any unauthorized access or information abuse.
2. You, As the Owner, have Control and Monitoring Over Shared Information
As a business owner, you certainly wouldn’t want anyone to mishandle the organizational data or share unauthorized files over chat. You can’t presume anything in this regard on a third-party IM client; however, using an in-house instant messenger running on an office server would allow you to keep a regular check on the information and data that is constantly being shared over the app. This would help you to avoid hate speech and unethical communication being spread within the organization.
3. Self-Preferred Database Management
Instead of leaving your server database gathered from all the activity on the IM client to a third-party corporation, an in-house messenger would enable you to keep that database within the office premises. You can then have your IT guys organize the database as per your choice, which would also make data retrieval and storage more manageable. This organized data can be further used in retrospect to serve organizational interests for research purposes.
4. You Can Keep Your Data Secure With Any of Your Preferred Firewall Methods
With third-party IM applications, you need to depend on the client’s developers and corporate owners for the security of the servers. A single flaw on their part can lead to a breach and may leave your data unprotected and vulnerable out of your control. However, an in-house server can be protected by any firewall that you choose as the owner and can be kept safe on your own terms and conditions. Thus, you can decide on how secure you want to keep your servers from malware and spyware attacks.
5. Your Data Is Yours To Use
Third-party IM clients may use your data and sell pieces of information obtained from it to digital advertisers and marketers to help them procure consumers in exchange for commissions or direct payments. Though a lot of such activities are prohibited by law, IM clients indulge in such activities to an extent and that too with your permission (which you give by accepting on their said terms and conditions).
However, by having an in-house IM app, with complete admin control, you get to choose your own terms and conditions and remove all possibilities of unauthorized and irrelevant use of your data.
6. No Issue of Space, Until You Run Out of It At Your Base
Every IM client app has a limited cloud space dedicated to one specific account. Above that, you either have to opt for separate third-party cloud and web services or pay for extra space. But, when it comes to in-house IM clients, space is limited only if you decide to not expand it. The servers have dedicated hard drives installed inside them. To allow for more data to be stored on the server, you can always have more dedicated drives or drives with larger disk space installed in the server. This way, you can always have more and more chat logs stored on your IM server without troubles of paying for extra space.
7. Control Over Changes In IM App
Third-party corporations might consider the overall interest of consumers while making changes and upgrades to their IM clients. However, having an in-house IM client app allows you to have complete authority over its user policies, updates, and its limitations. You can set all that as per the requirements of your business and organizational purposes, and therefore, code the concerned messenger in accordance with the accomplishments of your business interests. This means no unnecessary upgrades, unwanted (per your business uses) features, and freedom from restricted user agreement terms and policies.
8. Dedicated to Organizational Use Only
An in-house IM client would be something that would work on office systems only. Since it’s going to be connected to office servers and networks, one cannot use it remotely for any personal communication. This would allow you to have a separate dedicated IM client app for your business and organizational communication, which would also be mandatorily installed in every computer in use. Being limited to office systems and the buddy list only comprising of organizational members, the concerned IM client app would be completely dedicated to your business communications and information-sharing only, and there would be no interference of personal contacts and personal communication on a business IM app.
9. Complete Participation
An in-house IM client app would establish a common communication medium between the members, which would be accessible from the allocated systems. Moreover, it would be separate from the remotely accessed third-party IM apps, and therefore, would be only open for office communications only. Thus, it would be used by all members mandatorily as that would remain the sole place to gather all organizational updates and get along with fellow colleagues.
With the fast-increasing speed of communication, Instant Messaging is an important way to get a connected office. It allows the task force to communicate with each other instantly, share data and files, get responses, and answers on an almost immediate basis. Having said that, it is important to remember that the race for speed does not mean that we compromise on the security and sanctity of the organizational data. There are multiple fallouts of using a third-party service, the most important of them being the fact that they are owned and controlled by a third-party!
Organizations will have to connect to public networks, to access third-party servers, for their internal communications. With increasing privacy and security concerns and the lax attitude of these 3rd party communication service providers, it is imperative that we choose the right medium for internal communication. Try a self-hosted Instant Messaging client today!