What data structure is used by WhatsApp

GDPR: Viennese chat startup Grape declares war on WhatsApp

The General Data Protection Regulation, which came into force on May 25, 2016, but will only come into effect after a two-year transition period for implementation on May 25, 2018, is causing a lot of unrest among companies. Among other things, a new topic came up: Data dissemination in the professional environment via cloud-based providers such as WhatsApp. If employees use WhatsApp to share personal data (within the company), severe consequences are to be feared, warns the Viennese startup Grape. Because WhatsApp is subject to the US Freedom Act, which obliges service providers to grant US authorities access to customer data upon request. With the entry into force of the EU GDPR, this could possibly lead to rule violations. Grape, founded by Felix Häusler and Leo Fasbender, therefore wants to position its chat software as a GDPR-compliant alternative. This happens with a clear declaration of war: "Why companies and authorities should rather do without WhatsApp" is the title of a public broadcast by the startup. It explicitly attacks the powerful competitor from the USA.

+++ Wiener Stadtwerke: Chat service for 9000 employees +++

The problem with providers like WhatsApp

“Two thirds of the world's major corporations operate 'Communication 1.0'. You use 100 percent email. But now there is a spirit of optimism that benefits us, ”Leo Fasbender told the incubator last year. Now the big date is approaching when the DSVGO becomes active. A reason for Grape to set up as an alternative to unofficially used company messengers such as WhatsApp. The key point on which the Viennese startup relies in a broadcast is that the WhatsApp servers are in the USA. A fact that creates uncertainties in Europe because neither companies nor experts can currently assess the extent to which rule violations will be sanctioned in the future. If the GDPR is violated, penalties amounting to ten million euros or two percent of the worldwide turnover of the previous year are mentioned, in serious cases even 20 million euros or four percent of the worldwide turnover of the previous year. Daniel Kauss, CMO of Grape, has a clear opinion: “With WhatsApp, the app automatically reads customer information. Like the phone book from the cell phone, for example, ”he says in conversation with the incubator. "But it needs a clean data structure in which the data is used appropriately."

Broken down, this means that a company needs the exclusive consent of the customer for each specific data string. This includes addresses, telephone numbers and location information. Companies that use cloud-based chat providers such as WhatsApp for internal communication would have the problem that they would no longer have the customer data they collected centrally stored. “Mixing private and business communication can also lead to compliance violations. Companies and authorities should therefore ensure that they offer their employees a safe and, at the same time, similarly usable alternative to WhatsApp, ”said Grape in the broadcast. "Otherwise it can be a problem for companies," adds Kauss.

Video: Panel discussion on GDPR at Incubator Meetup # 3

Grape: "Server and data are with the customer"

Grape would like to enter this problem niche and replace shadow IT’s that are formed by unofficial applications with their app. From a technical point of view, the Viennese business messenger uses Mobile Device Management (MDM) for this, which offers the possibility of centrally configuring the messenger app on company smartphones or deleting them if necessary. Due to the new regulations, companies will have to prove who has access to which data. In line with this: The Austrian government's surveillance package will also force companies to take appropriate measures, Grape argues. In addition to that of public spaces, it will also be possible to monitor messenger services such as WhatsApp or Facebook using a federal Trojan. "Companies of all sizes should therefore use secure instant messengers to guarantee the security and confidentiality of sensitive company data," it continues.

Video: Leo Fasbender in the incubator livestream

Leo Fasbender, the co-founder of Grape, in a live conversation about the competition to Slack, product development, b2b sales, natural language processing, elastic search, intelligence amplification, AI vs IA and much more.

Posted by DerBrutkasten on Thursday March 30th, 2017

"On Premises": Server on your own company network

This control should be given to the company by means of "On Premises". “On premises means that Grape can be installed on your own servers in your own company network. Accessibility from outside can be just as easy as with common cloud systems, except that the server, including the data, is with the customer, ”explains Kauss. In addition to data security, Grape offers a messenger that complements work processes. For example, information can be easily found in the chat with the help of the extended search function. According to Kauss, the costs for this are staggered, but are around four to five euros per user per month for the Euro Cloud or the Grape server.


⇒ Here you can find the chat service provider