Jan 14, 2019

Digital Workplace Firm WorkJam Acquires Secure Communications Firm Peerio

Montreal-based digital workplace solutions provider WorkJam has acquired the Canadian secure communications provider Peerio Technologies together with its entire team.With growing mobility and the dispersion of workforces, WorkJam is a firm predicated on improving corporate communications to maximize the knowledgebase locked inside workers by managing and optimizing the employee-employer relationship.Peerio is a firm providing end-to-end encrypted communications.

Consider one use case: healthcare. WorkJam offers improved communications between corporate and employees that aligns everyone to the goals and vision of the company. But there is one area not so well-covered: employee-to-employee communication that doesn’t directly involve the corporate center.

Traveling health visitors speak amongst themselves. One employee might not be able to make a scheduled visit. Rather than go back to head office, the health visitor might text a colleague asking if that colleague could call in and see a particular client.

That second health visitor might text back, “Sure, I’ve got two hours free this afternoon. Tell me about the patient.”

All of this — name, address, health details — could be sent across the employees’ preferred chat method across the internet. The security risks are obvious; and the act could bring the organization into conflict with health regulations in the Americas and perhaps GDPR in Europe.

While this example concerns the health industry, similar principles will apply to almost any industry with a dispersed workforce where one employee might ask a colleague, rather than head office, for advice.

“When it comes to communicating with a large dispersed group of non-desk workers, control over data security is everything,” explains Steven Kramer, CEO and co-founder of WorkJam. “Organizations can no longer afford the immense risk of their employees using unsanctioned and unsecure communication systems that cause a company to lose control over its confidential data and the personal data of its employees. With the addition of Peerio, WorkJam now provides the most secure digital workplace platform available — a platform that exceeds the most demanding security standards any enterprise could have when it comes to communicating with their workforce.”

Peerio adds three separate secure modes of communication for WorkJam users: live chat, messaging and channels. Live chat would probably be used in the healthcare example above. The two health visitors could communicate directly with each other over an end-to-end encrypted channel. No regulations could be broken, and the patient’s needs would be served.

The messaging feature allows files to be sent direct to the user’s inbox. The channels option allows staff to be put into groups — say, a group of health visitors with a specific expertise. Peerio user Ernest Yale, CEO and founder of Triotech, explains, “All our sensitive information stays within Peerio. It’s user-friendly. We can group our discussions and projects, control the amount of people in a group, add and remove people. We can essentially do collaborative work together. It’s a bit like Slack, but you know… private.”

Peerio Technologies was founded in 2014 by Vincent Drouin. The software is open source and cross-platform — running on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux. Encryption is described as ‘fast encryption primitives from the NaCl cryptographic framework’. In-transit encryption is with TLS and supports perfect forward security (PFS).

Kevin Townsend / Security Week

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