Secure live chat: 4 ways to safeguard your conversations

Sara Ana Cemazar
August 22, 2023
min read

Secure live chat solutions are becoming powerful channels for businesses to connect with customers and deliver quick, efficient support and problem resolution without risking data exposure.

Often, customers tend to provide sensitive personal information over chat. However, the threats of data breaches are becoming increasingly prevalent, putting these data at risk. As studies suggest, in 2023, five accounts are leaked every second. 

As a result, secure live chat is emerging as one of the most sought-after solutions. It offers comprehensive protection for sensitive information shared by customers over chats and prevents the risk of data breaches. 

In this blog, we evaluate the common security threats that businesses experience and how you can mitigate them by using a secure live chat solution.

What is a secure live chat?

Live chat is a customer communication tool that helps customers initiate a conversation, seek assistance and product information from customer support agents. A secure live chat is a platform that complies with all security protocols and protects the confidentiality and integrity of data and information exchanged through the channel. 

Many customers share sensitive, personal information via live chat platforms. It is upon the businesses to keep them safe and secure. A secure live chat system prevents unauthorized access and shields against cyber threats

There are a lot of live chat service vendors in the marketplace, and each offers a different degree of security.  So, you must evaluate different live chat apps and understand how your service provider manages customer data before choosing one for your business.

Most common live chat security threats

It's getting harder and harder to secure digital communication as hacker's methods develop continuously. As explained earlier, live chat systems are susceptible to various security threats which question the privacy and confidentiality of customer data. Following are some of the most common live security threats:

1. Email frauds

Email fraud happens when cyber criminals invade the live chat system and steal confidential details like email addresses or passwords of customers and then use the details to perpetrate scams like the popular fake prize scam.

Sometimes, scammers may send you emails with malicious programs attached. It could invade your computer and steal or delete your personal data. 

2. Phishing attacks

A live chat system is vulnerable to phishing attacks where scammers gain access to customer data, and by posing as legitimate companies, they scam the victim. By doing so, they trigger customers to share sensitive information like credit card details and passwords. As per IBM’s Data Breach Report, data breaches caused by phishing took the longest time, an average of 295 days, to identify and resolve the issue. 

secure live chat

3. Internal data breaches

As much as there are external threats, businesses also endure internal breaches.  Verizon’s 2022 Data Breaches Investigation Report shows that 82% of breaches occur due to human error. Sometimes, employees breach the agreement purposely or unknowingly and leak customer information from the system. So, it is important to deploy live chat systems that offer role-based user controls and permissions.

Sometimes, employees accidentally leak customer information. So, it is important to deploy live chat systems that offer granular role-based user controls and permissions.

4. Identity fraud

When the security aspects of live chat software systems are compromised, the system becomes vulnerable to identity fraud. In that case, criminals access customers’ personal details like credentials,  financial information, and more. They then use the information and data to steal funds or participate in scams and fraudulent activities. 

5. Cyber extortion

In such cases, criminals gain illegal access to business and customer data and claim money to return the stolen data. The scammers coerce the victims to comply with their demands by exploiting their fear.

  • Ransomware attacks

This is the most common type of cyber extortion, where attackers invade the chat system using malicious software, encrypt the data, and they render it inaccessible. To restore the data and information, they demand a ransom.  Ransomware attacks happened once every 40 seconds, and attempts were made once every 11 seconds in 2022. 

  • Cryptojacking

Scammers attack the live chat system and absorb the data using cryptocurrency mining malware. Then, they threaten the victim to pay a ransom. 

  • Cyber espionage

In cyber espionage, hackers attempt to gain sensitive data or classified information from the live chat software deployed on the websites of government agencies and businesses.

How can you ensure your live chat is secure?

While security threats and cyber-attacks threaten business harmony and functioning, the good news is that there are secure live chat solutions. While choosing a live chat system for your business, you must evaluate the platform and see if it has the following security-related features:

1. Data privacy features

Ensuring the privacy of customer data is one of the most crucial responsibilities for businesses. So, while choosing a live chat solution for your business, check for the data privacy features. It must protect customers’ personal information, including names, phone numbers, email addresses, and other.  

You must choose a secure live chat software that provides end-to-end encryption and lets you have significant level of control over your data. This ensures that the data is available for access only to authorized parties. 

2. Advanced security features and certificates

When you choose live chat software, check for advanced security features like access controls, authentication, and SSL certificate. Access controls and authentication help protect data from internal breaches. You must check for discretionary, role-based, and mandatory role-based access controls in the live chat software.

Like access controls, two-factor authentication has become a common feature in live chat systems. Businesses use biometrics, PIN, passwords, and more to restrict unauthorized internal access. 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a protocol for building secure links between networked systems. It helps establish encrypted links between the servers and clients. When you deploy a live chat system, you must focus on setting up an SSL certificate. 

➡️ Internal communication needs to be secure, too: check out our list of most secure messaging apps for businesses.

3. Compliance with data privacy regulations

Several data privacy laws and regulations exist worldwide, including GDPR, HIPAA, COPPA, GLBA, CCPA, and other. A secure live chat system should comply with your industry's and regional data privacy regulations. This is especially important for businesses in regulated industries like healthcare, defense, and financial services, that handle customers' sensitive data. 

4. Secure data storage

Data storage is crucial in ensuring privacy and protection. When choosing a live chat system for your business, you should decide between on-premises, cloud, or hybrid deployment. You must opt for an appropriate data storage mode based on the type of business you are into. 

If you own businesses in highly regulated industries like banking, healthcare, or government, you must choose one that offers on-premises deployment. On the other hand, if affordability is a constraint, you can opt for a hybrid or cloud deployment. While doing so, choose a third-party cloud provider that offers data encryption and protection. 

Why using a secure live chat is essential?

Here are some reasons why you must look for a secure live chat system:

1. Data leaks are costly

Data leaks are always a costly affair. They can lead to hefty fines, penalties, and compensations. Apart from the direct impact, identity threats and email frauds may lead to exposing sensitive information of customers, which causes significant financial losses. 

Evidently, data breaches distort normal business operations and workflow as resources divert to investigating and addressing the breach. This is where deploying a secure live chat system helps.  

2. Keeping customer trust and reliability

Data breaches damage the reputation of a business, and customers can become suspicious about the overall security practices. It tarnishes brand image, leading to attrition. A McKinsey study shows that 87% of customers may stop purchasing from a company with security concerns.

secure live chat

When a data breach occurs, customers may lose trust and credibility and become wary about sharing their personal information with the business team. This impacts the marketing efforts, eventually leading to the loss of potential customers. Using a secure live chat helps businesses build a loyal customer base. 

3. Staying compliant with industry regulations

Governments all over the world are tightening the hold on data by imposing stringent privacy regulations. Data breaches may lead to legal consequences and actions from regulatory bodies and affected customers. 

Also, businesses may endure hefty fines and penalties if proven non-compliant with government regulations. Deploying live chat software compliant with industry norms and regulations like GDPR or HIPAA helps businesses mitigate legal risks. 

4. Loss of intellectual property

Beyond customer trust and reputation, data leaks mean the loss of intellectual property and proprietary information for businesses. This may impact the competitiveness of the business in the industry scape. 

As businesses deploy live chat solutions for internal and external communication, choosing a secure system is essential to protect business secrets and intellectual property. 

Rocket.Chat: A robust, secure live chat for comprehensive protection

Rocket.Chat is a chat solution made for security-conscious businesses in mind. With on-premise deployment options, granular user controls, and high customization potential, you can add a white-labeled Rocket.Chat to your website in a form of a secure live chat.

With robust security features, Rocket.Chat allows you to own all your data and never risk exposure. Independent of the solution used on their end - WhatsApp, Instagram, FB Messenger - you can handle all conversations from a unified Rocket.Chat ticketing system.

Reach out to our team and learn how you can add a secure live chat to your website and protect all your business data.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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