Why WhatsApp Document Sharing is a Threat to Enterprise Data Security

March 4, 2016, by Blake PritchardPosted in News, Security


The latest update from mobile messaging service, WhatsApp, now gives its one billion users the ability to share documents from third party applications. According to Forbes magazine, “…the feature appears to be limited to PDF files but it does pull files from third-party cloud storage apps enabled on the phone, including iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Inc., and Quip.”

Though features like this are common in mobile apps, CIOs and IT Directors should be aware because it can be a threat to enterprise information if used by employees to share sensitive data. WhatsApp is out of IT control and does not comply with HIPAA and many other regulations. The Company has mentioned that it is focusing on end-to-end encryption, but that still doesn’t give IT admins the ability to run audit reports on documents that employees are sharing internally and with customers. Plus, the documents being shared from WhatsApp are being stored in applications like Dropbox, Inc., and iCloud that are not suitable for business messaging, especially in industries like finance that regularly transfer sensitive information like credit card and social security numbers.

To solve the problem of unsecure document sharing in the enterprise, CIOs and IT Directors can adopt an Enterprise File Sync and Sharing (EFSS) solution like Thru. According to Gartner, EFSS solutions can “reduce or avoid the inherent security/compliance threats of storing enterprise data unmanaged on personal cloud services and mobile devices… (2015 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing).”

With native applications for iOS and Android devices and plugins for email and business apps, you can use Thru to easily share confidential documents and send private messages to customers while remaining compliant with HIPAA and more. Because Thru has extensive administration features, IT can have peace of mind with the ability to track all document transactions that are performed by employees.

What makes Thru different from other file sharing companies is that its solutions are specifically for the enterprise user. WhatsApp is just getting its feet wet with business offerings and it will be a long time before you ever see it adopted as a secure file sharing solution by enterprise IT departments.

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