WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world and that is why everyone resorts to using it, in and out of the workplace. You get answers quicker, you can see if your message has been delivered and read. The whole WhatsApp environment is designed for easy and simple communication. You contact work colleagues and clients on it, arrange meetings, discuss sales strategy, company strategy, everything, and because it is encrypted, you think that the data is safe. Unfortunately though, this cannot be regulated in the workplace and with this comes a host of issues and headaches for those trying to keep the workforce safe and the business compliant.
Using either the WhatsApp app or WhatsApp Business app, on either a personal or company issued phone, comes with a host of problems that you may or may not have considered.
Protection of Data
Both the sender's and the recipient's smartphones store WhatsApp communications. How do you secure the data if a device is lost or stolen? Who is in charge of the message data, and with whom may they legitimately disclose it? Your company is the data controller for all the information it gathers, uses, and stores. It could be argued that using WhatsApp makes it impossible to fulfil the obligations of this function under GDPR.
How can your organisation access communications that WhatsApp stores on individual devices when necessary? This can be required for a variety of reasons, including responding to a DSA or FOI request, doing an internal inquiry, or examining a decision-making procedure. Each of these is pretty commonplace, so completing them should be easy. It may get highly complicated and time-consuming if WhatsApp is involved.
WhatsApp communications are permanently kept on specific devices. How would you make sure that data is kept for the necessary amount of time and afterwards safely deleted? How would you guarantee that this was carried out? Data retention compliance is impossible when using WhatsApp, especially if you are handling sensitive data.
Work Life Balance
How can you turn off WhatsApp if you're using it for business as it's constantly on? Naturally, you'll check your phone if it rings while you're at home in the evening. Are you really going to ignore it till the morning if it turns out to be a work message? This is a problem that has to be fixed for good employers, and WhatsApp is a part of the problem, not the solution.
Duty of Care
Every connected user of WhatsApp is publishing their phone number. Private phone numbers can be misused in ways that have serious welfare repercussions. It is a direct, unrestricted line of communication into someone's private life, and misuse of it could have detrimental effects on everyone involved. Any misuse of this data falls under the employer's duty of care if an organisation mandates or requests that phone numbers be supplied through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp Business API
Fortunately, there is a way to communicate using the WhatsApp ecosystem, which utilises the WhatsApp Business API, a new version of WhatsApp which the company themselves has designed around compliant business use and the ability for them to monetise it's use. WhatsApp themselves do not provide you with any software or apps, but rely on tech companies to integrate or build a solution around the API, allowing access to the billions of users who use WhatsApp everyday.
This allows for all communications to be centralised, messages and company data secured within the business environment, complies with GDPR, has the ability for reporting & analytics therefore protecting your business from a compliance standpoint.
The WhatsApp API is a gamechanger in business communications.
Stitch offer a range of messaging solutions built around the WhatsApp API - Get in touch to find out more!