Cyber Phone Security Encryption - Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay RingCentral has announced the extension of end-to-end encryption for its platform beyond RingCentral Video, which it announced earlier this year. It will now include encryption for phone and messaging within the RingCentral MVP product, enabling an organisation to secure its entire phone and messaging solution. RingCentral E2EE for phone and message is planned to be available in a closed beta globally for select customers later at the end of this year.

RingCentral E2EE (End-to-End Encryption) is scalable for any size of organisation and will protect their communications from third-party intrusion and attacks. It enables organisations to maintain private conversations and communications and reduce risk when security against third-party intrusion is increasingly important.

Michael Armer, chief information security officer at RingCentral
Michael Armer, chief information security officer at RingCentral

Michael Armer, chief information security officer at RingCentral, commented, “With RingCentral’s E2EE for video, and soon, phone calls and messaging, organizations can leverage RingCentral’s native capabilities to simplify their technology stack with one offering.

“We believe our approach to end-to-end encryption across message, video, and phone is truly differentiated, and represents the most complete deployment of E2EE for enterprise communications, to date. People exchange millions of calls and messages a day on RingCentral’s platform. With our new E2EE, we’re extending enterprise-grade privacy and security controls for our customers, giving them the freedom to have confidential conversations across any mode.”

Why is this important

Encrypting call and communications traffic may seem excessive, but data privacy is now increasingly important for any organisation. From a marketing point of view, it is important to offer privileged conversations with clients where they know that their calls and the recording of those calls are secure. AI has meant that the transcription of voice calls is rapid if the data is available. Once transcribed, the analytics can extract key information, whether that is PPI or information relating to corporate contracts are valuable to cybercriminals.

According to the 2021 FBI Internet Crime Report, corporate data breaches topped $151M in 2021. The report does not separate out how those breaches occurred. Whilst it seems unlikely that the majority was through communications tools, it is a huge area of vulnerability moving forward compared to other IT systems that are becoming hardened.

Even as data breaches cost organisations, compliance risks and costs are soaring. DLA Piper’s GDPR fine and data breach survey, indicated the GDPR fines related to communication security and compliance risks rose 570% from $179M in 2020 to $1.2B in 2021. That growth is not likely to slow. Gartner estimated that by 2023 65% of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations. In the US, new data privacy acts within Colorado and Virginia will come into force during 2023. Abroad, there are draft laws in process in Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Bolivia, Nigeria and others. In India, the new Digital Personal Data Protection Bill 2022 was published for public consultation in November 2022.

For organisations working in these and other countries that are tightening regulations, maintaining data privacy must extend into voice calls. Before the E2EE, organisations relied on various third-party tools. However, these do not offer a holistic approach nor critical business-grade compliance oversight.

What RingCentral E2EE offers

The new offering extends encryption across chats, calls, and meetings and places more privacy and security controls in the hands of enterprises. RingCentral identified the benefits of the new solution as the following:

  • Expanded support beyond 1:1 calls or messages–supports large groups. RingCentral takes a comprehensive approach across message, video, and phone. Using Messaging Layer Security (MLS), the technology is scalable. It supports all RingCentral users – whether inside a company communicating with each other or interacting with external guests – as long as they are signed into a RingCentral account. To date, this represents the most complete deployment of E2EE for enterprise communications.
  • Multi-modal and available on desktop, mobile, or Web browsers. E2EE is accessible across various devices and web browsers to ensure that people working from anywhere – or guests who have not downloaded the app – can still have access to E2EE.
  • E2EE can be turned on in the middle of a call or meeting. E2EE is available whether the conversation is ongoing, scheduled, or spontaneous and lets participants easily and securely switch devices mid-conversation.
  • Privacy by design. For compliance-minded organizations, IT administrators can turn E2EE on/off at any time. IT administrators also have cryptographic access to messaging data and can export it if needed. RingCentral also plans to empower customers to enable content capture and supervision with select partners for E2EE voice, chat, and video next year.

When RingCentral first launched end-to-end encryption for video, it highlighted certain features that were not covered. It is not clear whether some or all of these are now resolved. They included:

  • Dialling into meetings using the Public switched telephone network (PSTN)
  • Cloud recording
  • Live transcription
  • Closed captioning
  • Breakout rooms

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

With cybercrime on the rise and the risk of compliance fines growing, enterprises must consider the weak points in their technology architecture. Voice and messaging are one such area. Organisations choosing the RingCentral communication platform can now ensure that all of their communication, whether voice, video or message, is secure (once the product is generally available).

For some organisations, this will be a relief and an opportunity as they look to offer secure communications both internally and to clients.

Dave Michels, principal analyst and founder of TalkingPointz, an industry analyst research firm, commented, “As businesses shift more of their communications to team messaging services, it has become more critical to secure these conversations. The newly expanded E2EE is a significant offering from RingCentral that aims to keep content private comprehensively across messaging, video, and phone. Additionally, its end-to-end encryption works with one-on-one and group conversations, and it is designed to enable high standards of security without sacrificing user experience.”


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