5 features to look for in a secure text messaging platform

Illustration of features in a secure platform.

As digital threats rapidly evolve, increasing the dangers of data breaches, companies are under growing pressure to safeguard their customer data. Business SMS data is no exception.

Secure messaging platforms are essential in this landscape. The right platform will not only protect your organization’s sensitive information, but also build trust with your customers.

In this blog post, we’ll explore five features to look for in a secure text messaging platform, highlighting how these features can help you achieve optimal SMS security.

Feature #1: In-storage and in-transit encryption

A secure text messaging platform will protect texts between your team and contacts by encrypting them, which scrambles the data so it is unreadable to anyone without the proper decryption key. The platform will offer in-storage encryption and in-transit encryption, which is made possible through SSL (secure sockets layer), an encryption-based Internet security protocol.

Encryption helps ensure that:

  • Outside parties can’t hack into your SMS platform to access contact data or messages.
  • Texts can’t be intercepted as they move through your business texting platform to contacts’ phones.

Choose a platform that offers both types of encryption. These powerful tools will help you protect contact messages and data, like names and addresses, as long as they’re in your hands.

Feature #2: Secure platform access

Any business SMS platform worth its salt will offer both a web app and a mobile app. It should also let you tightly control who accesses these apps, ensuring that only authorized users can log in.

Your platform should offer:

  • SAML SSO. Single Sign On lets platform users confirm their identities with one identity provider (IdP), like Google. Then they can use that confirmation to log into other platforms, like your business texting platform. This makes logging in secure and convenient for your team.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA requires users to use two methods to verify their identities. For example, they may have to provide their email address and password, then enter a code sent through SMS. You should be able to require all users to enable 2FA, ensuring consistent security measures across the board.
  • Deactivation tools. You should be able to deactivate mobile and web accounts immediately, within minutes of the request, regardless of an employee’s role.

With comprehensive control over platform access, you’ll make sure only the right team members can access customer data. This feature helps keep your contacts’ and your business’s information safe.

Feature #3: Roles and permissions

Roles and permissions give you complete control over which users access customer data. Roles are user statuses that you can assign to yourself or team members; each comes with a specific set of permissions. Permissions are access and control capabilities.

Your SMS platform should:

  • Offer at least four distinct roles with their own permissions
  • Empower top-level administrators to assign and unassign roles
  • Prevent lower-level roles from adjusting their capabilities or viewing sensitive information (e.g., through a hide PII (personally identifiable information) feature)

Some platforms enhance this feature with custom user roles and permissions. This allows users to create unique roles with hand-picked permissions, ranging from report access to restricted view of personally identifiable information (PII).

Feature #4: Ability to save (and delete) messages

Reviewing texts is useful for quality control, training, and compliance. It helps you improve team performance and report problems. Look for a platform that allows you to save customer texts and delete messaging data when appropriate.

You should be able to check saved messages to ensure that team members:

  • Confirm that customers have opted in before texting them
  • Don’t request or share PII information (e.g., health data or credit card numbers)
  • Comply immediately with opt-out requests

You should also have configurable data retention options. In other words, higher-up administrators should be able to choose whether (and when) to delete contacts, conversations, and message data.

Feature #5: SMS compliance support for key standards

Compliance with applicable local, national, and industry standards doesn’t automatically equal SMS security. But because standards often focus on certain aspects of SMS security, complying with them is a great place to start.

Three compliance standards are most likely to apply to you: the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2). A secure text messaging platform will offer tools to help you navigate these regulations.

For example, it will:

  • Track opt-ins. The TCPA requires you to get permission to message customers. Your texting platform should offer opt-in management features that make it easy to capture opt-ins sent via SMS, gather opt-ins through online forms, create opt-in reports, and more.
  • Automatically opt out customers who text in with keywords. The TCPA requires that customers have the ability to opt out of your SMS services easily. Your business SMS platform should be able to automatically opt out customers who text predetermined keywords, like STOP, NO, or STOPALL.
  • Offer team administration tools. SOC 2 is all about data control. For example, your business SMS platform should let you control which team members can access contact data and make changes to your account (e.g., roles and permissions).
  • Empower you to send links. This is a small yet important feature. HIPAA requires that you refrain from sending personal patient information via SMS. However, you can text links to patients’ secure portals, notifying them that they have new information for review.

SMS compliance support is critical in a secure text messaging platform. Compliance with these three standards will help you boost your overall SMS security.

Bonus features for enterprise organizations

Enterprise organizations often have additional needs, given their larger business app ecosystems, audiences, and retained data.

Enterprise organizations should look for:

  • A directory sync feature. Directory syncing tools empower you to control SMS permissions from your central directory, simplifying the process of giving or removing platform access.
  • SOC 2 Type 2 compliance. Your business texting platform should not only help you comply with regulations but also adhere to them itself. It should manage all of its customers’ data carefully, proving its dedication to security through SOC 2 compliance, and preferably Type 2 compliance, which is more comprehensive than Type 1.
  • HIPAA compliance. A HIPAA-compliant platform is a must have, especially in the medical industry. In order to help you achieve compliance, it should encrypt texts in storage and in transit, and support automatic opt-outs.

A secure business texting platform that offers a directory sync and complies with these vital standards provides you with a solid foundation, aiding your compliance efforts and enhancing your overall security.

Want to learn more about secure text messaging? Check out our free guide.

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