Don’t switch off unified communication tools for compliance

Firms shouldn't switch off unified communication features for compliance - Theta Lake warns

Unified communication tools have transformed how businesses communicate, but they come with greater compliance challenges. Theta Lake director of global marketing Gareth Landers believes the business benefits of unified communication tools outweighs the challenges.

A surprising benefit of the Covid-19 pandemic was the increased adoption of unified communications within business. These tools have allowed them to reimagine their communication paths with customers, prospects, partners and internal employees.

These multimodal capabilities, including voice, video, text, file sharing, have allowed organisations of all sizes to change how they operate. But we are still just in the early days of their impact on business.

Landers said, “Today, buyers are seeking to realise a return on investment while also asking how they can maximise the ever-expanding capabilities of UC platforms for enhanced productivity and digital transformation. It is quite likely that we haven’t begun to fully realise how UC platforms can be leveraged and the marketplace continues to evolve and develop new capabilities which will be further immersed in digital workflows and business processes.”

While they have been great at helping remote teams communicate or provide a simplified way to meet with partners or clients, there is a major compliance and security problem that needs solving. Previous communication methods, such as emails, were easy to monitor and control for governance. Whereas the cloud-based, decentralised and dynamic unified communications platforms are not as simple.

Compliance teams have had to trace the context and flow of a conversation that might start on a voice call, carry over to chat and end in a virtual conversation. Then there are the issues of capturing information that might be shared in the background of a video, or the chat functions of a video call.

With such a big compliance challenge, Landers believes it is tempting for compliance and security teams to minimise risk by turning off capabilities available in unified communications such as in-meeting chat, file sharing or whiteboards. These features come under written communications and would need to be retained and supervised and aligned with financial services regulatory requirements. 

Many compliance and security professionals are keen to switch these features off. A survey from Theta Lake of 500 compliance and security professionals found that 45% are choosing to turn off features in an attempt to limit the risk of new channels.

With regulatory fines in the past year for unsupervised channels reaching $1.8bn, this reaction is understandable. However, Landers has warned firms from switching them off.

“Unfortunately, numerous negative outcomes can result by taking a draconian, restrictive approach towards unified communications.

“These include a failure to realise a full return on investment on technology investments, falling behind competitors who leverage and reorient business processes using new communication channels as part of digital transformation initiatives and ironically, the possibility of inadvertently pushing employees to adopt non sanctioned, unsupervised communications channels if they are frustrated and not able to communicate with clients, partners and co-workers on the channels and tools, with the functionality they desire.”

He added that unified communication adoption is an important part of digital transformation. “Compliance and security concerns, no matter how justifiable, should not put the brakes on these efforts.”

Theta Lake was purpose-built for modern communication tools and helps firms meet all their regulatory and supervision obligations. For example, its eComms archiving capabilities make it simple for financial services institutions to choose the meeting components they want to archive and supervise.

Read the full report here.

Late last year, Theta Lake launched Meetings Risk Manager, which is the company’s sixth Zoom-certified module in its App Marketplace.

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