With security such a high priority for businesses across the globe, a European Parliament committee has lent its weight to the trend by encouraging the use of online encryption for all digital communications to protect the privacy of its citizens.
We are used to apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal providing end-to-end encryption for messages, videos, photos and documents for allotted amounts of time to prevent uninvited and unknown others from reading, looking at or watching our digital interactions.
But should we use the same functionality for our business unified communications (UC) which often uses cloud-hosted apps like instant messaging, email and video, as well as calls? The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs thinks so.
A draft proposal released this week stated: "The principle of confidentiality should apply to current and future means of communication, including calls, internet access, instant messaging applications, email, internet phone calls and personal messaging provided through social media."
This preservation of digital privacy is a sticky subject with terrorist incidents dominating our headlines of late, but it is widely agreed that citizens should have the same protection in both their online and offline lives.
This may mean that when a business chooses a UC solution, it may also list security and end-to-end encryption as must-haves on their features list.
What is end-to-end encryption?
The best definition of end to end encryption I can think of is a lock and key. Imagine sending a message through an app to another user; they can only access the message if they have the key, so the key is only shared with the individual or group of your choice. No-one can gain access to the document without the key; anyone who tries to must tackle the encryption code.
It is this encryption that has allowed businesses to trust cloud-hosted telephone systems and modern UC solutions that integrate with corporate or BYOD/CYOD mobile devices. All interactions, including calls, are encrypted to ensure they are only heard, read or viewed by relevant participating parties.
ShoreTel, for example, uses 128-bit AES media encryption to provide protection against electronic eavesdropping. Even if someone successfully taps the media stream, they cannot decode and understand the conversation. Encryption is enabled or disabled through ShoreTel Director on a system-wide basis only; it cannot be enabled for individual devices or select calls.
If your business if looking for a UC solution with in-built encryption, please do not hesitate to contact me for more information.