Encrypted messages can't be read by anyone but the intended
Managing your email inbox is an important part of running a business, but email exchanges can be slow and fragmented. For quick and easy communication, instant messaging is more convenient than email, and more secure than SMS text messaging at least if you have the right app. A secure messaging application will let you safely exchange private information with employees, clients and co-workers, without worrying that your data could be compromised.
But what does it mean for messaging to be secure? Usually, it means that your messages are encrypted before they even leave your device. Encrypted messages can't be read by anyone other than the intended recipient, even if they're intercepted during the exchange. Some apps even offer self-destruct functionality, letting you send messages that are automatically deleted after they're read. No messaging app is totally foolproof, but business users with privacy concerns would be wise to check out these five secure messengers for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices.
Signal Private Messenger (Free) – Android, iOS
Secure, free and easy to use, Signal Private Messenger (available on iOS and Android) is our favorite secure texting app overall. The app features end-to-end encryption to keep all of your private correspondences secure. And while it’s simpler than some of the other options on this list, it has plenty of features that power users will appreciate. That includes the ability to set up encrypted groups for private conversations with your entire work team. And while most secure messaging apps require both parties to be using the same application for encryption to work, Signal Private Messenger sets itself apart by working with standard SMS text messages, as well as SMS picture messages. That means business users can use the app to add an extra layer of security to regular texting, even if the client or colleague you're messaging isn't on board.
BlackBerry Messenger (Free) – iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has broader compatibility than most messaging apps; it's the obvious pick for BlackBerry users, and it's also available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. Instead of connecting with others using phone numbers or email addresses, each user is identified by a unique personal identification number (PIN). That keeps the service private and gives you more control over who contacts you. All messages are encrypted during transmission, and pass through a firewall before they hit BlackBerry's servers, so they can only be decrypted by a private key on the intended receiver's device. Individual businesses can also obtain a unique encryption key for an extra layer of security.
Gliph (Free) – Android, iOS
Gliph is a secure messaging service that you can use on all of your computing devices. When you're on the go, use the iOS or Android app on your smartphone. When you're at the office, use the Gliph desktop app so you can send and receive messages using a mouse and keyboard. Another key feature is "Real Delete," which lets you permanently delete a message from both the sending and receiving device, as well as the Gliph server, whenever you choose. You can also attach a pseudonym to your main account at any time, so you can use a screen name for personal chatting and switch back to your real name for professional communications.
Wickr (Free) – Android, iOS
Wickr (available for Android and iOS) is a secure messaging app that lets you set an "expiration date" for every message you send; just select a date and time for your media to expire, and it will automatically be deleted at that time. That way, you don't have to worry about a third party inadvertently reading private communications that are left on a contact's smartphone. Meanwhile, the app features end-to-end encryption for all messages, and it lets you remove metadata from individual messages, such as the time it was sent, as well as geo-location data. Another handy feature gives you the ability to completely clear away message files that have been manually deleted but still reside on your smartphone's memory. Wickr also has standard messaging features, like the ability to chat with groups of up to 10 people at once.
Telegram – Android, iOS, Windows Phone
Telegram (available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone) is a messaging app that features end-to-end encryption so your messages can only be read by the intended recipients, with no data logged on Telegram's servers. Like Wickr, Telegram lets you program your messages to self-destruct from both devices at a particular time so there's no record of it. It's also a solid app for everyday messaging, letting you create group chats with up to 200 people so you can stay connected with everyone in your company at once. Regular messages are stored in the cloud so you can easily access them from any device running the Telegram app. Support for Windows Phone also helps this app stand out, making it one of the few good alternatives to BlackBerry Messenger on the platform.