The rise of modern technologies enabled people to communicate more easily than ever before. We communicate in a variety of channels, like chat, voice and video calls, and emails. However, the new, digital ways to communicate also made communication security and data privacy big concerns for all parties involved.
Communication security means prevention of unwanted and unauthorized access to telecommunications. It includes four major disciplines:
- physical security
- emission security
- encryption security
- transmission security.
Organizations that want to secure their communication and protect their customer data must pay attention to all four areas.
In this article, we discuss eight approaches that can help organizations secure their communication and cover all four areas of communication security.
What is communication security?
Also referred to as COMSEC, communication security is the prevention of unauthorized access to communications traffic. In essence, COMSEC as a discipline tries to protect any piece of information or data transferred over email, chat, phone, and other means.
Today, as communication means are developing and becoming more digital, the call for security is greater than ever.
8 communication security strategies for organizations
Secure communication translates to continuous availability, integrity, and confidentiality of the network. Here’s a list of the best secure communication strategies used for organizations wanting to safeguard their data:
1. Physical security
Although most of the communication today takes place over the internet, servers are key components of a communication system. Thus, the network operator is responsible for protecting them against any damage and ensuring smooth connectivity.
Ideally, servers should be located in a closed facility with limited access. Organizations concerned about communication security often choose on-premise deployment of any service to ensure maximum safety. In addition, having an efficient alarm system to notify authorities to respond swiftly and control the damage can aid secure communication.
As covered in our recent article about on-premise vs. cloud security,
When companies choose cloud providers, data security becomes a shared responsibility between the company and the cloud provider. With on-prem, they are fully in control of their data.
2. Network and architecture of the communication system
The reliability of any communication network largely depends on a continuous and secure flow. To ensure this, the network must consist of autonomous units that can work independently to ensure smooth communication.
In addition, the hardware (including base stations and servers) should always have an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to act as a backup. The density of these hardware units in the network ensures its ability to serve its users.
In extreme cases, networks can be air-gapped to prevent the slightest possibility of external access.
3. Preventing unauthorized access
Strong access controls must be implemented within a communication system to ensure communication security and stay compliant with data sovereignty laws. Sensitive information, including the user’s name and personal details, should not be accessible even to employees below a certain security clearance level.
Multi-factor authentication is one way to enable secure communication between people without anyone eavesdropping, stealing data, or spreading misinformation. Sometimes unauthenticated users may need to join meetings for which a service that allows users to identify and accept or block their requests is required.
4. Data encryption in transit
Data traveling through an untrusted network, like the internet, is most vulnerable during transit. Therefore, it is crucial to put a protective mechanism, like end-to-end (E2E) encryption, in place. It lets data travel safely between two parties, preventing any tampering from unauthorized third-party users.
The cryptographic key decrypts the communication when it reaches the receiver. It is also important to secure the management of these cryptographic keys for communication security.
- Find out what are the ten best encrypted messaging apps for business communication.
5. Admin controls
Not every employee in your organization will need access to every piece of information. Admin controls play an important role in readily managing this aspect. When personnel join the company, change departments, or leave the organization, their login credentials and access limits are altered or removed by the admin.
Even so, a large organization requires periodic inspection of employee access and admit controls to avoid any data leaks or misinformation spreads. This helps prevent compliance mishaps with laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
6. Regular audits
When an insider performs regular audits, they may not produce accurate results if the auditor is biased or has ulterior motives. Besides, if an audit is used to spread malware, misuse information, or launch phishing attacks, it can result in an adverse outcome.
Outsourcing security audits to a reliable and compliant third party can be beneficial in ensuring communication security. The authorized auditor should launch a surprise audit if the security system picks up multiple failed-login attempts or any unusual activity in the communication.
7. Internal training
Safety protocols may not work if people don’t follow standard secure communication practices. Conducting regular training sessions for your staff on standard procedures while communicating can strengthen the communication network’s security. Internal training can help employees verify the information and avoid cyberattacks.
Internal training is especially important to bolster cybersecurity while working remotely.
8. Careful third-party use
Communication services require metadata for every communication to operate properly. Details about the communication, including the who, when, where, and how, may be collected and stored. The service provider needs to share the purpose of each collected piece of information.
An open-source messaging solution is appropriate for your organization as it has essential transparency to ensure only the necessary metadata is collected and used.
Best tools for secure business communication
Any accidental or unintentional misuse of data can cause significant damage to a business. Thus, they place greater emphasis on communication security. Some of the most secure communication platforms available today are:
Perception Point comes equipped with dynamic engines and unique security technology to prevent threats, including malicious files and URLs, and enables secure business communication. This platform can detect attacks across emails, web browsers, and online platforms and deals with them independently.
A browser-based communication platform, Mailfence allows you to conduct your business with total control and freedom over emails. Whenever you send an email, it carries your digital signature (which only you can do), leaving no room for impersonation. All communication is encrypted, and two-factor authentication ensures added security.
Used by security-centric organizations like military institutions, Pexip is a collaborative platform that connects people over video conferences. Features like self-hosting and API support make it a secure communication platform. In addition, Pexip’s integration with Rocket.Chat lets people access chat, voice calls, and file sharing through a single platform.
An open-source communication platform, Rocket.Chat offers transparent data management and multi-factor authentication that is ideal for highly regulated industries. It also offers on-premise deployment and end-to-end encryption. You can add another layer of security for sensitive data—an approval process—that prevents data loss.
A secure communication platform for your business
With an open-source platform like Rocket.Chat that can be hosted on-premise, you have the required transparency to monitor everything related to your team’s communication. Additionally, it is a highly secure platform that is ISO 27001 certified and compliant with some of the most strict data sovereignty laws, including GDPR, HIPAA, and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Rocket.Chat is a preferred choice for organizations operating in highly regulated industries such as Finance, Government and Defense, Healthcare, and Education.
Frequently asked questions about <anything>
What are examples of communication security?
Why is communication security important?
What are the basics of secure communication?
What are the most common threats to communication security?
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