As business communications continue to evolve to include modern channels such as instant messaging and collaboration platforms, so too must businesses evolve to effectively manage risk. In a recent webinar, Smarsh Chief Evangelist Mike Pagani sat down with Senior Director of Information Governance Robert Cruz to discuss how the best practices for stopping risk have changed, how organizations can improve their supervisory workflow to better reveal risk, and why improving these workflows can deliver value beyond simple risk mitigation.
Modern business communication has grown far beyond email. Official conversations take place across myriad channels including social media, instant messaging, and collaboration platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. The financial services industry is leading the way in use of new communications tools, but all industries are affected because at root the cause of this evolution is a one-two punch of client demand and employee desires driven by the increasing prominence of younger generations. Millennials prefer to utilize cutting edge communications tools and proactive firms have learned to cater to this. The immediate benefit of embracing these new channels is rapid, efficient communications utilizing wholly new modalities like video and voice chat, but those positives are balanced out by the unique risks that each of these channels brings with it and the unique efforts firms must undertake to counter said risk.
A good example of this shift is the increasing prominence of Instagram. With half a billion users — a full 50% of which engage with the platform each day — Instagram’s value as a communications tool can’t be overstated. Yet, as our 2018 Communications Compliance Survey Report reveals, Instagram lags far behind email when it comes to firms who both allow the channel and have a supervision solution in place — and the same can be said for SMS/text messaging, collaboration platforms, and social media.
How can firms improve their supervision workflows to better reveal risk? The key is proactive governance. You must assume that both risk and value can live anywhere, and your firm must have a solid understanding of how supervisory policies can be executed on new communications channels. Even better, you should be constantly anticipating the next channel or device and be focused on updating policies as necessary.
It’s here that Pagani and Cruz take a moment to remind the audience of a crucial lesson we try to drive home as often as possible: Prohibition is not prevention! No matter how adamant you are that your staff not use channels like Slack, instant messaging, and social media — it will still happen. If you don’t have policies in place to mitigate risk from these channels, you could be in big trouble. Even worse, if you’re relying on prohibition, you’re not utilizing the benefits of these channels and losing out on a potential business advantage.
Getting back to how firms can reach compliance without impacting productivity, our hosts offer a few tips for those firms seeking to uniformly enforce policies across all communications channels:
- You should place an increased emphasis on spotting infractions before they reach the archive.
- You should strive to go beyond simply capture and archival to more proactive policy controls.
- Your policies must be explicit so that everyone in the organization can easily understand their obligations.
Remember: Those who intend to do wrong will do their best to do so in places where they believe supervision is lacking. If your firm invests all its supervisory resources in email, it’s likely that risk will migrate away from email and toward channels like text messaging and social media. Your goal as a mitigator of risk will be to eliminate all potential blind spots, and that is done with uniform policies.
For more from Mike Pagani and Robert Cruz and to learn how Smarsh can help you to proactively eliminate risk, please watch the webinar.
A global client base, including the top 10 banks in the United States and the largest banks in Europe, Canada and Asia, manages billions of conversations each month with the Smarsh Connected Suite. Government agencies in 40 of the 50 U.S. states also rely on Smarsh to help meet their recordkeeping and e-discovery requirements.
The company is headquartered in Portland, Ore. with nine offices worldwide, including locations in Silicon Valley, New York, London and Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.smarsh.com.
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