Separating personal from business may prove to be sometimes more difficult than expected, especially when using certain social media apps and tools for both purposes.
Therefore, after detailing the advantages of using WhatsApp for business, we’ve decided to also show you the disadvantages that come with choosing to use it on a professional level.
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- It does not provide enterprise data protection
WhatsApp accesses and stores the address books of employees, which contains confidential corporate and customer data. While the app has announced an improved encryption, it currently does not provide enterprise-grade encryption (e.g. metadata, storage on device, storage on servers, etc). In addition, free services like WhatsApp require user data to make a living. taking in account the fact that it has announced to generate revenues from businesses by allowing them to communicate to customers, it’s important to understand that such a business model requires knowledge of your users and is in conflict with minimal use of personal data, general data reduction and strong data protection.
“Hidden in the legal mumbo jumbo of “Terms of Service” of a consumer chat app are the following key issues. First, consumer applications cannot guarantee that conversations or files exchanged are confidential. Second, it is also necessary to stress that chats in applications like WhatsApp are not erased, they just become hidden and archived in the database of the app (including our status updates). Companies have secrets they want to keep, whether it’s because of regulatory issues, SEBI requirements, or patient confidentiality in the case of healthcare. Consumer chat applications are a ticking time bomb for business users,” writes Gadgets360.
Moreover, according to cwsi.ie, in 2015 WhatsApp was ranked last by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the subject of users’ data privacy. Even more worryingly, the European Court of Justice ruled that U.S. based companies in the tech industry – specifically Facebook – do not afford an adequate level of protection of personal data for their European users. Considering that WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and the terms and conditions of WhatsApp’s usage wrangle users into agreeing to have certain data passed from WhatsApp to Facebook, then this is a double blow for user privacy.
2. WhatsApp is a cloud service based in the USA
Due to the weak data protection laws and the broad surveillance in the USA, cloud services based or hosted in the USA cannot ensure comprehensive data protection required by businesses and their employees and customers.
3. It mixes private and business communication
For enterprises it is important to separate business from private communication. First, a dedicated enterprise messaging app allows faster access and gives a better overview of everything that is relevant for the internal communication, and thus increases the productivity. Second, confidential business content is protected in enterprise messaging apps, because it can only be shared with colleagues and the content distribution is under control of the enterprise IT. Third, the motivation and satisfaction of employees are improved with a professional messaging tool, since people value a separation of private and business communication.
However, even while paying a lot of attention, switching from a personal account to a business one and vice-versa can sometimes prove to be creating problems.
4. It does not support enterprise file sharing solutions
Businesses often use enterprise-grade file sharing solutions like Microsoft Sharepoint, Box, Business Connector, etc, which are not supported by WhatsApp at all. “Since file sharing with colleagues and teams is a regular use case, employees should be able to directly share documents from their file sharing solution via the enterprise messaging app. This helps to simplify and accelerate workflows,” writes TeamWire.
5. Still having to manage the tasks
HiboxCo highlights the fact that just by messaging a group about new ideas doesn’t mean they’ll actually amount to anything. There have to be clear, concise tasks and deadlines in order to see projects through effectively. “Though a good place to openly discuss new ideas and innovative solutions, group chat alone doesn’t get you to the finished product. Without task management, WhatsApp doesn’t allow you to organize actionable to-dos needed to get the job done.”
6. Lack of transparency
What most of us seemed to have forgotten is the fact that the app was meant for casual conversation. Anyone can create groups and anyone can private message anyone. “If the organization within your business needs remain as transparent as possible to those at the top, this is not an ideal situation. If multiple groups and side groups are created, that can lead to a lack of knowledge and clarity, which in turn makes it difficult for managers to know what’s really going on,” adds The Hibox Team.