Global Businesses Need Global Compliance Technology

January 02, 2020by Shaun Hurst

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Modern businesses have a more global reach than ever before. Technology has fundamentally changed the way employees work, communicate, and collaborate. Teams on opposite sides of the world can now work together as seamlessly as they can with those in the same physical office. Advances in technology have also meant that companies can now sell to a global customer base with unprecedented ease. In the UK, for example, 74% of high-growth businesses now trade internationally and one in four employees work in a job role with an international focus.

However, while a global reach offers businesses opportunities, it also creates substantial compliance challenges. How can businesses keep on top of diverse and shifting regulatory landscapes across multiple regions? Can IT departments handle the rising volume and diversity of data incurred from a global customer base? Can businesses compliantly capture and store communications from the collaboration tools needed to support an effective global team?

The key challenge here is keeping up with the vast amount of data their businesses are producing while ensuring it is stored in a way that satisfies the regulatory requirements of the region where the data was generated.

In part, this explains why PwC’s 2019 Annual Global CEO Survey found that regulatory compliance was far and away the greatest concern among business leaders. For CEOs and CCOs across the world, finding strategic solutions to improve compliance capabilities is now one of the main factors playing into their global growth strategies. This means adopting technology that can adapt to meet changing regulatory needs. And it means investing in compliance solutions that don’t just solve for today’s business needs, but tomorrow’s as well.

Unfortunately, many companies are suffering from a “burning platform” mentality. Their strategic data platforms systems run on legacy technology, much of which was created over two decades ago. These platforms are slow and can no longer keep up with the volume and variety of data needed to be captured and stored, let alone keeping pace with the data and regulatory requirements faced by global businesses. But for many companies, inertia is caused by the challenge of updating archiving platforms that have grown exponentially larger and more complex since they were first introduced.

Using communications tools as an example, most legacy archiving systems were created to store e-mail. With the explosion of collaboration tools – from Slack to Microsoft Teams – these archives are no longer fit for purpose. Saving new forms of communications like photos, voice notes, GIFs, videos, and even emojis requires a level of sophistication which many legacy platforms simply don’t have. For global businesses these collaboration tools are fundamental to ensuring cross-border teams can work together effectively. But without the ability to capture and store new forms of data, they risk falling foul of regulators if they are unable to accurately retrieve or supervise communications involving their employees. For many large financial institutions, this has meant simply banning the use of collaboration tools – limiting the productivity of their global workforce.

For companies to grow globally, they need to invest in technology that is specifically built to tackle the challenges facing modern businesses. I believe that this need will drive an inflection point in the adoption of cloud-native compliance solutions, with an increasing number of companies deploying their archiving, supervision and e-discovery services using public cloud infrastructure – on platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform.

This is a crucial step for companies hoping to future-proof their businesses. On-premise archiving systems that hold petabytes of data are becoming hugely expensive to maintain while their performance deteriorates. The volume of data that companies have to ingest will continue to increase in the future, testing scalability for firms unable to keep pace with the change. Public cloud infrastructure allows companies to scale the amount of data they process as they grow and ensures data is always backed up across multiple data centres – giving companies more reliable access to their data when disaster strikes.

Public cloud infrastructure also offers a solution for multi-national companies that face a broad range of regulatory demands across the countries they operate in. As regulators are increasingly giving more data-rights to citizens, this has grown more complex for multi-nationals facing a constantly shifting regulatory landscape. Public cloud infrastructure allows businesses to easily deploy their archive in data centres that satisfy any regional data residency requirements.

Moreover, the true value of data comes from the wealth of insight you can gain from cutting-edge analytics tools. Application program interfaces (APIs) for everything from content ingestion and administration to data enrichment and predictive analytics are now key for driving growth, but many businesses miss out on using these tools to their full potential because their data is not stored in a compatible way. Often used as the industry standard, public cloud infrastructure systems make incorporating these APIs completely seamless, further helping businesses to develop and execute their growth strategies.

Global companies need compliance solutions that can meet the modern realities of doing cross-border business. Not only are we faced with unprecedented amounts of data, there has also never been such a diverse and quickly changing regulatory landscape to navigate. Failing to change the burning platform mentality keeping businesses wedded to their legacy archives will spell disaster for companies looking for global growth. Cloud-based compliance technology is a truly global solution to the problems faced by truly global businesses.

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Shaun Hurst

Shaun Hurst

Shaun Hurst is the Technical Director for International Markets at Smarsh. He has over 18 years of experience solving complex IT challenges for Financial Services Institutions, and is a subject matter expert in topics like E-Discovery, Regulatory Requirements, Data Privacy and Cloud Computing.
Shaun Hurst
Archiving and Compliance Blog

Our Blog explores the news, trends and best practices in electronic recordkeeping. It’s about managing and getting value from your electronic communications data. It’s about satisfying legal and regulatory obligations. It’s all about turning compliance liability into business insight.

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