As more and more private companies and government agencies embrace digital transformation, their compliance challenges grow exponentially.
Compliance teams now have to contend with employees communicating across a multitude of platforms, including instant messengers, video conferencing tools, and project management software.
Undoubtedly, the strong-arming of recordkeeping requirement violators by the regulatory authorities and the government will also extend to these new-age platforms.
Case in point, a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) exec has made it clear that even emojis will be subject to regulatory scrutiny. Also, financial organizations, especially in the US are scrambling to preserve their employees’ video chats, all to avoid situations, like with the WhatsApp fines that saw organizations evading communication compliance requirements hit with billions of dollars in penalties.
With the regulators hot on their tails, these organizations can’t rely on the backup and retrieval option that comes with most of the communication channels due to:
- the potential for alteration of the chats
- the sheer volume of conversations across multiple apps
- the inability to monitor them simultaneously and take corrective action in time to prevent regulatory action or lawsuits
This is where data connectors come into the picture.
The vital role of data connectors in modern communication governance
Essentially, connectors are tools that can capture and archive communication data from multiple sources into the data storage vendor of choice for the government agency or regulated firm to facilitate e-discovery, compliance, and data governance.
Given the direct link between third-party data sources, including social media platforms, instant messengers, document-sharing tools, etc., and the data connector, there’s a clear and tamper-proof audit trail. The messages can also be preserved for the required retention period by the compliance team without relying on the employees or the fledgling archival system of the various communication channels. This capability goes a long way in facilitating the e-discovery process for organizations during trials and complying with Sunshine Laws as a government agency.
The ability to seamlessly archive text messages, record voice calls, and retain multimedia files, GIFs, emojis, attachments, and links further means that organizations can empower employees to communicate via popular mediums instead of resorting to ineffective bans.
Notably, they can also enforce communication compliance policies by being able to constantly supervise the communication channels, irrespective of the mobile network carriers, in real time. Using these connectors, firms can set up auto-flagging of certain keywords across the communication channels to combat data leakage, privacy concerns, harassment of co-workers by employees, problematic or non-compliant messages sent to clients, etc.
Further, with connectors that can ensure SEC 17a-4 WORM-compliant archiving, companies can take data security to the next level, because their archive is immune from employees altering or deleting messages. Data integrity can further be enhanced by employing a SOC 2 Type 2-audited data connector.
Aside from that, since the messages are all captured and secured with the appropriate meta data (sender info, receiver info, time, date, etc.,), it is incredibly easy to search through them and retrieve the needed communication data.
Beyond compliance— The comprehensive impact of TeleMessage data connectors
TeleMessage has a whole suite of data connectors pre-built for regulated entities and government bodies that use data storage vendors like Microsoft for their archiving needs.
The connectors seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft 365 Compliance Solutions to help compliance teams capture context-rich text messages, MMS, calls, and IM chats from devices, irrespective of the operating system and network carrier. Consequently, the entities can cater to the requirements of regulatory bodies, like the US SEC, FINRA, HIPAA, etc., depending on the industry.
In addition to regulatory compliance, the compliance officers can preserve specific information for litigation, retrieve chats according to date or keyword, and even set in place policies to automatically retain or delete data based on requirements. They can even have advanced reporting and analytics capabilities at their fingertips, which will enable them to identify compliance risks early on and derive insights into employee mobile activity. This information can further be leveraged to train employees on how to communicate in compliance with company and industry regulator policy.
It is also crucial to note that TeleMessage’s mobile communication connectors for Microsoft 365 Compliance Solutions help organizations capture employee communication directly via the networks of AT&T, O2, Verizon, T-Mobile, Bell, and Rogers without the presence of a hefty app running in the background of employee devices. To ensure the accurate attribution of the captured communication, the data connector uses the person’s email and phone number.
As the retention of the communication is fully automated and the storage is on cloud-based systems, data connectors can scale with your organization or department’s growth and ensure sustained compliance without you having to spend extra effort to back up or categorize the messages.
The importance of data connectors for compliance purposes has risen in parallel with the proliferation of new-age communication channels. Using these connectors, organizations can bring order to the chaos of their communication channel usage by employees. All the communication data from multiple channels will securely be retained in a centralized archive in a tamper-proof, searchable format, with the option of preserving it for as long as needed.
As communication channels evolve, compliance teams must be mindful of the increasing demands from regulators and put in place solutions, like TeleMessage data connectors that simplify compliance with surveillance and mobile archiving regulations. Using the connectors from Microsoft 365 Connector Catalog, private firms operating in finance, IT, healthcare, etc., and state and federal agencies subject to transparency regulations can safeguard employee communication no matter what device they use. Messages are directly captured via the network, so there is full accountability even with BYOD arrangements and employees working remotely or in hybrid settings. Even conversations through the desktop and mobile versions of popular messengers, like Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, and WeChat will be retained with a transparent audit trail.
To get started with the data connectors, contact us for more information.