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The advent of RingCentral’s cutting-edge dynamic end-to-end encryption

Ring Central Blog

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4 min read

With the release of an end-to-end encryption (E2EE) option for our video products, RingCentral has leapfrogged its competition and positioned itself at the forefront of cybersecurity innovation. We believe that this first-of-its-kind innovation became essential as working out-of-office became a necessity due to the pandemic. During this unusual, unprecedented time, the world awakened to the fact that encryption over either a public or a private network didn’t mean that no one could eavesdrop. Breaking up encryption to do processing, like to create a transcript, exposed a fault line in some companies’ cybersecurity, allowing for breaches; those news stories proliferated in the pandemic’s early days. Unfortunately, such breaches weren’t just a business matter; they were personal. Public confidence in videoconferencing systems waned with questions of whether or not confidentiality was assured when communicating with doctors, lawyers, therapists, and others with whom confidentiality is of paramount importance. RingCentral felt motivated to offer the most powerful end-to-end encryption, in the most usable way possible, as a way to assure customers that they can have those really sensitive conversations on our platform with zero risk.

The work-from-anywhere world in which we now live really means “communicate from anywhere, at any time, on any device.” This new world requires that our technology keep up with our demands for both unprecedented mobility and unmitigated safety from wherever we choose to communicate, whether for work or for our daily activities and special occasions. To that end, true E2EE is vital; it ensures that communications are encrypted and decrypted only at the participants’ endpoints. Unlike other solutions, with RingCentral E2EE, your communications are securely encrypted whether they’re issued from our website or through desktop and mobile apps, providing secure communication from anywhere, at any time.

Our unique approach leverages a fit-for-purpose IETF (draft) standard called MLS, or Message Layer Security. What makes MLS so powerful is that it was developed in the public domain with an explicit goal in mind: to enable scalable, secure messaging and communication, making it far more scalable than the E2EE solutions used by other companies. Through our acquisition of Kindite, a highly-skilled Israeli team that sought to redefine encryption in the cloud, we focused on eliminating cloud data leakage risks by bringing together a unique set of cryptographic technologies into a platform that ensured that data remained encrypted end-to-end at all times, even while being processed. Conversations taking place with this level of unparalleled, unbeatable security are the most secure conversations available on any cloud communications platform in existence today.

Noteworthy, this all happened very quickly. By June of this year, just three months after acquiring Kindite, RingCentral began limited testing of this encryption technology for internal video meetings. By August, we were in closed beta. Now, as you read this, open beta has launched. By the end of September, we will have general availability of end-to-end encryption for video meetings. (Want to just have a quick call? We’ll be bringing out a phone-based option soon, but, in the meantime, you can use a video-meeting without the camera). With E2EE for Video, RingCentral successfully and single-handedly has established the ability for our partners to engage in a zero-trust relationship with any infrastructure, from any endpoint, for any user, while maintaining full business continuity. To ensure that we have the most cybersecure E2EE available today, we’re not stopping there. RingCentral has engaged a specialized cybersecurity team to challenge our product by trying to break our E2EE. Although we know our product to be the most sound encrypted solution out there, we will continue to test and to innovate to maintain our leadership position of offering the most advanced E2EE in this realm.

And, we’re not finished yet; dynamic E2EE is right around the corner, and RingCentral will be the first to market with that advancement in cybersecurity, too. Right now, any customer can opt in to true E2EE at the beginning of a video call regardless of whether that call is launched from a web browser or from our app. By the end of the year, we’ll have introduced dynamic E2EE, meaning that our customers can opt into E2EE on the fly and at the touch of a button instead of having to make that choice at the beginning as a call is launched.

Why is this so powerful? Imagine calling your child’s school to ask about a “tardy notification” on a day in which you know you dropped your child off at school on time. Instead of explaining this to the school’s attendance desk, you are switched over to the school’s guidance counselor, who wants to talk about the nature of how your child got lost between the front door and their first class and the follow-up that these concerns will necessitate. While you didn’t start out expecting to need a fully secure, private call, given the conversation’s unexpected turn, you do want that now. With dynamic E2EE, it’s a simple matter to uplift your conversation to a higher level of encrypted security on-the-fly so that you can discuss this situation with no question about the conversation’s complete confidentiality.

Our customers soon will have three choices: whether or not to use E2EE at all, an option to engage it from the outset of a call, or the ability to opt into it later in a conversation. Customers can choose what is right for them, when it’s right, with regard to encryption in the context of their own environment. By providing true E2EE available from our app, or from a web browser, for a paid or for a free logged-in user, you can, truly, communicate from anywhere, at any time, on any device at the highest level of security possible. Our E2EE is another example of how communications and collaboration tools can help to democratize technology, putting you, the end-user, at its center, secure in the knowledge that our company has built this for you and to serve your — and our — peace of mind.

Originally published Sep 14, 2021

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