A 2016 study suggests that more than two-thirds of all network data breaches in the United States originate with an employee using his or her mobile device to access an employer’s network. Notwithstanding the cyber risk exposure presented by an employee’s use of a personal mobile device, employers are not likely to ban use of personal device access to corporate networks because they perceive that the convenience and benefits of that use outweigh the cyber risk detriment.

Employers can, however, provide guidelines regarding the specific apps that employees use on their devices when they do access an employer’s network.

Mobile devices are used predominantly for messaging, and a number of messaging apps have been developed that claim to provide strong cyber protection and to minimize or eliminate the risk that hackers will use an employee’s personal mobile device as a gateway toward a greater network breach. All of these apps feature end-to-end encryption that encodes all messages sent to or from a mobile device while using the app. This protects messages from tampering and surveillance and makes it virtually impossible for a hacker to insert malware into a message or to ride piggyback on a message to gain access to an employer’s network.

Many cybersecurity experts would include the following five apps on their list of the most secure messaging apps for mobile devices:

1.     Signal

Signal’s developer, Whisper Systems, is endorsed without qualification by the whistle blower and privacy advocate, Edward Snowden. Signal ties into a user’s phone number to eliminate the need for separate logins and passwords. It also includes a self-destruct feature that erases messages after a time. It is available for both Android and iOS devices. Signal users can also install a plugin on their desktop computers to let them use Signal through a Chrome browser.

2.     Wickr Me

The Wickr Me messaging app takes user privacy to an extreme. In addition to end-to-end encryption and message self-destruction, Wickr removes metadata, geotags, and any other user identifying information from all messages sent through the Wickr Me app. Wickr also bucks the trend of data collection that is common to some other apps by not storing or collecting any personal user data.

3.     WhatsApp

More than 1 billion people use WhatsApp around the world, making it the most popular messaging app available. WhatsApp adds a separate security code layer to messages that users can check manually to confirm the safety and security of their communications.

4.     Viber

Viber’s users store their own encryption keys, and Viber has no access to those keys, which means that not even the app’s developers can see a user’s messages. Viber and Signal share a number of features, although both were developed independently.

5.     Chat Secure

Guardian Project’s Chat Secure app is an open source app that distinguishes itself from other apps that feature end-to-end encryption by being interoperable with client devices that are running under otherwise incompatible operating systems or platforms. This app allows users to connect with Facebook or Google, to create new accounts, or to connect directly to dedicated servers for maximum security.

Businesses that are concerned with cyber protection can adopt one of these apps, or any other apps that have mobile security anti-virus, or ensure the safety and security of employees’ messages with end-to-end encryption. Because no app can provide an absolute cybersecurity guarantee, a business should also consider procuring cybersecurity insurance to protect against direct and third-party costs that the business might incur as a result of a data breach. Insurers that focus on cybersecurity, like CyberPolicy, can help business to mitigate their cybersecurity risks, for example, by helping them to select and adopt the best and most secure messaging app for their mobile environments.