Recent announcements from Facebook have had an impact on the world of business continuity in more ways than one.
The company has a vision of making its Messenger app the default communication mode for businesses, whether with other businesses or with customers.
Because of the current popularity of Messenger with consumers and therefore customers of many enterprises, Facebook (or its CEO Mark Zuckerberg at least) thinks enterprises themselves will move to Messenger, to avoid losing their customers.
However, while Messenger scores high in the popularity stakes, the story on security and business continuity is rather different.
In particular, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gave Messenger a score of just 2 out of a possible 7 for security.
The missing points correspond to lack of encryption independence from Facebook (Facebook can access the keys), the impossibility for users to verify the identity of their correspondents, vulnerability of past messages to attacks, lack of openness of Messenger source code, and lack of proper documentation of the security design.
The two points that Messenger did manage to score correspond to having encryption in transit and completing a recent independent security audit.
This is not the first time that the business continuity community has faced technological upsets and dominant market players. Mobile computing in general has brought both advantages and challenges, as have specific technologies like Twitter.
Facebook has enough clout to make Messenger an important actor in the messaging world, and business continuity managers will need to work with the challenges that such a situation brings.
If Messenger becomes as popular as Facebook hopes, it will also become an additional resource for BC manages to use to communicate proactively during crises and to manage their organisation’s reputation.
Nonetheless, the real challenge remains to correctly plan and execute business continuity, whether the underlying tools are called Messenger, Twitter, email, SMS or pigeon post.