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Instant Messaging Services: Great Communications Channels, Great Compliance Risks

compliance

Every company wants to get closer to its customers. Messaging services such as WhatsApp and WeChat provide a great opportunity to do just that, but they also create serious compliance risks.

Why Messaging Services Are Invaluable for Business

With more than 2.1 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is the perfect example of a modern messaging service. It’s easy to use, smoothly integrated into daily life, and sells itself on its encryption. A service like this can be invaluable to a business.

Many clients want to communicate with businesses through messaging services. These are easy and convenient to use and are already embedded into clients’ lives. By using them, you can show your willingness to work in a way that suits the client, building goodwill. The flexibility to communicate how the client wants helps to attract and keep business.

The Business Risk of Messaging Services

But messaging services bring serious risks through the loss of access to data. If employees are communicating through private messaging channels, then companies have no record of the information and no audit trail. The data is held on servers outside the company’s control and encryption means that it can’t be accessed without the employee’s involvement. If an employee moves on, that data goes with them.

This is particularly important in sectors with high regulatory standards, such as finance, healthcare, and law. Complying with those regulations, and proving compliance, can be difficult when you lose control of communication channels.

Keeping Business Communications Compliant

To prove compliance, you must show that you’ve been following the rules, and for that you need to provide a compliant audit trail. That’s impossible if you don’t have access to the data.

The recent wave of regulations about personal data further complicates this. To be compliant, data has to be kept in its original form and must be accessible at any time. If the data isn’t visible because it’s not kept by the company or has been encrypted by third parties, then it’s impossible to meet standards for storing clients’ private data.

Solutions for Compliant Business Communications

The importance of compliance in business can’t be overstated. What can you do to meet standards for secure business communications?

Basic steps include:

  • Create a communications strategy that has compliance built in.
  • Encourage a culture of awareness about compliant record keeping.
  • Use a communications service that integrates messaging with a full audit trail.

Having and using a compliant communications strategy is vital. It gives direction to employees and provides the bedrock on which policies and procedures are built. If your company is challenged to prove that it is compliant, then a good communications strategy will be one of the first pieces of evidence you provide.

WhatsApp, WeChat, and similar services are great tools for communicating with clients, and the compliance risks shouldn’t scare companies off using them. But it’s important that they’re used in a way that creates a compliant data trail. By building compliance into your communications strategy and corporate culture, as well adopting a compliant communications service like LeapXpert, you can have the benefits of modern technology without suffering from its risks.

LeapXpert - Compliant Communication Evolved
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