Why WhatsApp Concerns Employers

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In the world of finance, it seems that the ability to enforce regulation standards has been one step behind those employees intent on circumventing the standards, but the industry is catching up. As more institutions are feeling the financial and public relations fallout from messages being sent under its radar, their drive and ability to enforce the regulations is increasing.

The lure of using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and more covert apps such as Signal, Confide, and Dust looms great in any industry, and particularly in the fast-paced world of finance. Clients want to be kept up to date and successful traders want to share their good news with colleagues and friends as fast as their typing allows.

The problem with using these apps for work-related communications is that, even on company phones, most messaging apps are encrypted and some have even more safety measures, such as deleting any trace of the message after a preordained amount of time, barring phones from taking screen shots of messages, and otherwise circumventing many of the monitoring safeguards these industries have in place.

Banning messaging apps and providing work phones for work-related messages are two approaches that have proven themselves insufficient. Work phones are left unused or used only for certain applications while use of personal devices is still popular in the industry and forbidden messaging apps remain prime communication methods.

And so the need has arisen to develop more and smarter technologies to combat the phenomenon of messages being sent below regulatory radar. It is imperative that these industries comply with regulations regarding work-product, and that means that even innocuous messages between colleagues and clients must be on the record and available for review.

New software has begun to comb through work messages to detect hints of untoward activity to give institutions a leg up in tracking down breaches of compliance protocols. Messages that direct the recipient to check another messaging source send up a red flag. Certain phrases that indicate illicit activity will be picked up and notifications sent to the proper oversight department in the company.

Some software sits right in the operating system of the mobile device and can snag information even before it leaves the phone in its encrypted form. This type of software is key in combating the use of unofficial encrypted messaging services.

With failure-to-comply fines at stake and the plethora of messaging apps at their employees’ fingertips, financial institutions are waking up to the reality that they must tighten the network around the flow of information in the industry and software that enhances compliance capabilities has to be a top priority.

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