Electronic communication: Great advantages but great risks

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In today’s businesses, electronic communication channels like Slack, Zoom, and WhatsApp have revolutionized business communication and have become vital to business continuity, collaboration, and working from home. distant. While convenient and essential for many organizations, this massive shift in how we communicate also presents significant risks, including security and compliance concerns that could lead to leaks. severe data and heavy fines. This is a problem on a global scale. Wall Street’s biggest banks have faced a total of 1 billion dollars in fines due to employees using encrypted messaging apps to communicate and conduct business, and the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning companies to find alternatives to WhatsApp.

And it’s not just those in regulated industries who need to tackle this new wave of employee communication. Organizations of all types, including those in the private sector, are at risk when employees become overly dependent on electronic communication applications. In addition to business risk, the insecure nature of these services has resulted in a meaningful increase in sexual harassment, racism and abuse the market on today’s important and necessary business channels. Online trolling has become popular and unfortunately, it has seeped into today’s work-from-home culture. Being physically segregated did not reduce the number of cases of racism or sexism, but instead, led to an increase in violations.

To mitigate these risks associated with electronic communications applications and combat market abuse, companies must focus on monitoring and understanding the data in these channels to deconstruct context and identify see if any prohibited activity is taking place. Conversations across communication channels always leave a trail leading to any workplace misconduct, making it imperative for organizations to have technology-enabled tools for management and monitoring properly data is found in these applications.

Extended communication application

Organizations must now tailor their policies and procedures to meet the communication expectations of both employees and valued customers, or continue to pay the price of not doing so. This means that organizations are constantly adding new channels of communication to communicate both internally and with customers and clients. Today, people are using more devices and channels than at any other time in history, making it even harder for organizations to keep track of who said what, what information was shared, and where it was going. is spread.


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WhatsApp, Zoom, Slack and other electronic communication channels have become necessary to maintain business continuity and cooperation during the pandemic, and now the proverbial toothpaste cannot be used. put back in the tube, despite the great risks and Follow And protect concerns related to these channels. While these tools came at a time when they were essential for employee collaboration, recently surveyy of corporate employees found that more than half of respondents think collaboration tools are a problem, despite having multiple channels over the past year. To keep employees productive and protect the business from risk, it’s best to simplify channels of communication, choose the ones that work best both internally and with customers, and eliminate the clutter. channel is deemed unnecessary.

After an organization has determined the parameters around the possible and impossible use of communication channels, the next step is to ensure that all conversations are being monitored for nefarious behavior as well as as stored in case problems arise in the future. In the past, when it was only necessary to archive phone and email conversations, organizations used to use on-premises archiving software; however, in today’s evolving world of business communication, where we must also take into account video conversations, text messages and other types of electronic communication, Cloud Activation solutions have become necessary for many organizations that did not see this as such a move before the pandemic.

data leak

In addition to regulatory fines and the potential for a toxic work environment, these communication channels can also lead to data leaks that threaten business, especially when it comes to information. material not publicly available (MNPI). When MNPI falls into the wrong hands, nefarious activity, such as market abuse, often occurs. To combat this, security teams must develop parameters for languages ​​and messages to be considered MNPI before determining which employees have privacy rights over which information. From there, modern active monitoring technology should be able to warn of improperly mentioned MNPIs so that the monitoring team can address them.

View conversations as data

Today, organizations must view employee electronic communication channels as data centers fraught with risks, including security and compliance issues, that can cripple business if not done. proactively resolved. Complicating things further is that electronic communication channels are evolving — what is used today won’t be used tomorrow, so solutions must be adaptable to address concerns. in the future as they arise and develop.

Just as communication channels have adapted to today’s business times, the solutions needed to protect organizations are evolving, with new, cutting-edge solutions hitting the market every day. It is important that organizations recognize the significant importance of this change in business communication. These electronic communication channels are where business takes place, so monitoring and securing communication data should be a core function of the organization.

Undoubtedly, electronic communication channels offer the enormous advantages that businesses today believe in. However, they also come with huge legal and reputational risks, risks that can disrupt a business if not calculated properly.

Shiran Weitzman is the CEO and co-founder of Shield.

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