Understanding Why Deutsche Bank Banned All Messaging on Corporate-Owned Phones

Anurag Lal Anurag Lal, President and CEO of Infinite Convergence.

You may have read that Deutsche Bank recently banned WhatsApp and other similar products on all employee-owned phones.

That’s good news for NetSfere, our secure enterprise messaging solution.

Indeed, I’m hopeful that Deutsche Bank’s actions will accelerate broader awareness of this ticking time bomb (a time bomb that we disarm, by the way).

Here’s the summary of why Deutsche Bank abandoned messaging:

  • “Secure” Employee Messages Not Controlled by Corporate IT — When employees are sending messages leveraging third-party services over which Corporate IT has no control, that’s a big problem. It’s a situation in which employees can engage in unethical or illegal activities without anyone at Corporate knowing…at least, they won’t know until the Feds rush in, the regulatory fines are levied, and the lawsuits are filed. Ugh.
  • Amplified Fines and Legal Liability Due to IT Malpractice — In the case of Deutsche Bank, the belief of many who follow these things closely is that alleged wrongdoing by employees, conducted on non-NetSfere messaging apps, caused problems that quickly mushroomed. To boot, because they weren’t using NetSfere, there will be much tougher ramifications downstream. Why? Because if, at Deutsche Bank, or at your company or at any company, IT allows crimes to happen on corporate-provisioned phones and did not take preventative precautions, then lawyers and regulators will argue that the organization and its executives were at best negligent or at worst complicit in abetting the crime. A bad situation in either case — and one that could have been avoided with NetSfere.
  • No Control Over Messages Available to Ex-Employees — Employees allegedly put WhatsApp on bank-provided phones and sent trading-related messages on them, with some saying the effort was designed to manipulate markets. If you were the CIO and employees did this and then they left the business, how could you ever access those messages? It’s the employee’s WhatsApp account, not yours. When they leave the enterprise, all those sensitive messages go with them. If they delete those incriminating messages, it’s possible they are gone forever. Is it IT and corporate governance malpractice to enable this? Absolutely.

Finally, Enterprises Are Understanding What’s at Risk

I hate to say “I told you so” but we created NetSfere because we predicted, some time ago, that this would be a massive issue for enterprise organizations.

We leveraged our many talents at Infinite Convergence — our experiences working with enterprise organizations and our messaging capabilities (delivering over one trillion messages every year) to solve this huge problem in an elegant and scalable way…in a way that IT, the compliance department, legal, shareholders and every employee absolutely loves.

Finally, the chickens are coming home to roost. CIOs are still waking up to the devastating consequences that can happen when you don’t proactively manage messaging. Time is running out quickly to get a fix in place, believe me.

Telling every employee they can’t send messages, as Deutsche Bank did, is clearly not the right answer. That’s an act of desperation one undertakes when one didn’t have the foresight to identify and mitigate risks.

In fact, the solution is quite trivial and very affordable — use NetSfere and mandate employee use of the service.

Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before that ticking time bomb goes off.

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