How Remote Work Offers New Challenges and Opportunities in Regulated Industries

October 13, 2020by John Gilles

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The combination of Smarsh Enterprise Information Archiving (EIA) software and Microsoft Teams is enabling large banks, capital markets and insurance companies to continue operating through the global pandemic. It is also allowing them to accelerate their digital transformation, even as global regulatory demands grow more complex.

EIA is more than traditional email archiving. It extends to cover company and user communication data, including email, voice messages and calls, instant messaging, and social media, for instance. For banks and other financial services companies, regulations from agencies like FINRA and the SEC require the retention and oversight of these communications. When the content is captured and indexed, tools such as e-discovery, classification and supervision can also be applied.

With the effects of COVID-19 continuing to loom large, businesses in all industries around the globe are struggling to operate as workers are forced, in many cases, to stay home. For highly regulated industries, such as financial services and healthcare, the adoption of modern workplace tools that allow remote work (e.g., video meetings and instant-messaging applications) are enabling this shift. However, the use of these tools creates governance challenges, as they are new sources of communications data that must be archived compliantly.

Microsoft Teams adoption in regulated industries

Most, if not all, banks have been considering adopting Teams and other modern workplace solutions. For many, it was a roadmap item slated for the next two-to-five calendar years that is now being moved to the head of the line for the sake of business continuity during the COVID-19 remote work scenario. By combining Teams with Azure-based Cloud Capture and Enterprise Archive solutions from Smarsh, banks can accelerate their Teams adoption. And when workers return to office, they’ll already be familiarized with Teams live events, Teams meetings and Teams apps that will help them be more productive both at home and at work.

Teams is already a mature platform with a large user base, but the platform continues to evolve with new features and capabilities. A lot of notice was given to the Teams Together mode, which groups participants’ images together in a virtual space such as a virtual stadium, theater or coffee shop. What may now be more noteworthy to business users is a new notifications feature, either native OS or custom. And while meeting notes is enabled in the current version of Teams, coming soon is the ability to add whiteboards to meetings, including an InVision Freehand whiteboard.

Increasingly Teams is the de facto choice for large financial services customers like banks and capital markets firms to enable remote work. We can expect that when remote workers return to office, these newfound Teams capabilities and the Teams meeting culture will only continue in the traditional office setting, making EIA solutions even more critical to enable compliance and to protect valuable data for the financial services enterprise.

Communications archiving for non-regulated enterprises

Protecting valuable data will be an ongoing focus for companies outside of financial services as well — extending the need for EIA beyond big banks and wealth managers. According to Gartner, demand for EIA tools will increase nearly 10-fold in just a few years: “By 2023, 45% of enterprise customers will adopt an enterprise information archiving (EIA) solution to meet new requirements driven by data privacy regulations; this is a major increase from 5% in 2019.”

Organizations of all sizes and in all industries with compliance, e-discovery and governance needs will need to retain and manage email and other communication data. Smarsh EIA technology can enable those objectives.

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John Gilles

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