Nuro has announced the release of Nuro Secure Messaging for the enterprise in the UK. The company already positions itself as: “a secure messaging platform for enterprise, government and armed forces.” This latest move into the UK is timed to coincide with the InfoSecurity Europe tradeshow next week.
Positioning itself as a platform rather than a secure messaging app is deliberate. Nuro is keen to create distance from itself and other products such as WhatsApp by covering a wider set of communication routes. In addition to the securing of the communications channels Nuro is making it clear that customers get full ownership of their data. This means that the data is not held on a third-party platform. According to the Nuro press release:
“This means the privacy of sensitive or confidential information is assured and can be audited for compliance purposes at a later stage”
One of the challenges for many enterprise messaging solutions is how to be user friendly while also being enterprise safe. According to Mike Foreman, Nuro’s Managing Director, Europe: “Our secure collaboration and group messaging platform solves this headache by blending consumer app-type functionality with centralised IT administration and enterprise-class security.”
A raft of interesting features
The press release highlights a number of features that should appeal to enterprise buyers. Among these are:
Simple to use: The app is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play.
Safeguards privacy: Each channel is kept separate and encrypted which means that users are only able to connect to chat sessions that they have been invited to.
True end-to-end encryption: All data is encrypted at the endpoint and stays encrypted even when in transit and on the enterprise servers. This reduces the risk that hackers can obtain part or all of any part of the conversation.
Searchable database: The enterprise database keeps all data encrypted yet allows auditors and compliance teams to search conversations. What is not clear is whether this is done by encrypting the search terms and then applying that to the database or at some point having to expose the data unencrypted for searching.
Flexible deployment: The central database can be deployed through Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), on-premise or hybrid formats.
Cognitive security: Nuro is an IBM Watson partner and uses its cognitive AI engine to monitor conversations for compliance issues.
Of all the features here one of the most interesting is the latter. IBM is only just beginning to seed IBM Watson Security Advisor with information about security. This work is being done mainly by university partners and a small number of commercial firms. What Nuro are doing is very different. They have already taken the IBM Watson API’s and are using them to monitor conversations for a set of words, spoken or written, that could indicate a compliance issue.
What is not clear yet is how far Nuro are able to go with the Watson API’s. For example are they able to look deep inside files to find material that could be a compliance issue? Will we see Nuro work with a partner and deliver a set of compliance ready searches for different industries that can be imported to speed up the detection of issues? Will IBM is licence the code from them to add to its growing use of Watson as a security tool and to continue to bolster its own work in this area?
Not just a large enterprise tool
What is also going to interest a lot of people is that the product is free to enterprises with less than 15 users. After that the pricing is just £50 per month for a 100 user site license. The free option could well lead to an increase in the number of smaller companies taking on secure messaging especially when delivered as a cloud-based solution.
The secure messaging market is in a bit of a mess. Many of the apps that have claimed to be secure have had breaches. Meanwhile governments want every app to have backdoor access without having any understanding that once created the backdoor is just as accessible to criminals as it is to law enforcement. What is interesting here is that Nuro already claim to be able to search the encrypted database for compliance issues and this might just be the halfway house that will work for law enforcement access.