Risk management covers a really broad scope of the business landscape and many company leaders simply overlook a number of areas that can pose a serious threat to an organization. If you just wondered, “Could my business text messaging platform be putting the company at risk?” then you’re asking the right questions.
Business instant messaging platforms have transformed the corporate world in recent years, but some forms of this technology represent a very commonly-overlooked issue within an organization’s risk management sphere. In fact, business communications are a key component of a good risk management strategy, which makes messaging mobile apps and web apps a major consideration. But how does using instant messaging for business communication play into a company’s risk management threats and vulnerabilities?
How is Your Company Using Business Text Messaging Platforms?
To fully appreciate how risk management ties into instant messaging for business, you must gain a complete view of how your company uses these communication tools. Here are a few questions you should consider.
- What instant messaging apps and platforms are employees using?
- Are the in-use messaging platforms equipped with security features such as encryption, multi-factor authentication and geofencing?
- How and when are employees using instant messaging mobile apps, web apps and messaging systems that are integrated with enterprise software platforms?
- What devices are employees using to communicate? Are they personal devices, company-owned devices or both?
- Are employees using instant messaging apps to communicate with co-workers only or are they texting people outside of the business, such as customers, clients and vendors?
- Does the company have access to all messaging data? If the answer is “yes,” consider whether efficient data management is currently possible.
- Is the company’s preferred instant messaging platform moderated? If so, how effectively is it moderated?
Once you have an answer to these questions, you will be well-positioned to effectively consider whether your business instant messaging platform is putting your company at risk. Only then can you take action to implement new measures in the company’s risk management plan.
User Management as a Risk Management Vulnerability
There are strict regulations surrounding what can and cannot be said in the workplace, with organizations and legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are also anti-discrimination standards set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which could be flouted if someone within the company says the wrong thing while communicating with a current or prospective employee.
Fortunately, business instant messaging apps are equipped with user management capabilities that can be leveraged to remove a user from the platform. True business messaging apps also feature moderation tools and keyword detection capabilities that allow admins to intervene immediately, preventing or limiting the damage from this sort of incident. But many companies opt to use text messaging mobile apps designed for the average Joe — not for business use — and so they lack the toolset needed to avoid legal, ethical and regulatory compliance issues. We’ll take a closer look at regulatory compliance instant messaging apps in a bit, but user management is one area where you encounter several issues that are putting your company at risk.
These consumer-grade apps also lack any mechanisms for moderation which is problematic from a perspective of diversity and inclusion. An organization’s diversity and inclusion initiative can be blown out of the water with a single message. And if you’re not using a proper business instant messaging app, then you have absolutely no control — no moderation tools or other similar mechanisms — available to intervene. The resulting mess can create real problems in both a legal and ethical sense.
Messaging app user management represents a risk management threat if, as mentioned above, a company lacks the control or remove users from a messaging platform. The best, most compliant messaging systems will give admins the power to control or limit a user’s access on a platform. They can also control or limit the following, including whether a particular user is permitted to even access the messaging platform.
- How often messages are sent over a certain period of time;
- When messages are sent;
- Who a user can contact;
- Where the user is located when the app is in use (a.k.a. geofencing);
- What topics and keywords can and cannot be discussed;
- What type of content is posted in group message threads;
- What device(s) can be used for sending messages; and
- Whether a user can send new messages or only read existing message threads.
Data Ownership and Data Management as a Risk Management Threat
Do you actually own your business messaging data? Many may be shocked to realize that they don’t own — or even control — the data that is associated with company messages. Think of all the sensitive information that is transmitted over texting apps and other instant messaging platforms. This represents a serious risk management threat that cannot be understated.
The use of personal devices and consumer-grade instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal is extremely problematic from a risk management perspective because the company lacks any access to or control of the messaging data. The business is at the mercy of the employee because users each have their own personal account on these apps and they are in no way required to provide access to their data. This is highly problematic from a risk management perspective.
A lack of data management capabilities is another common threat that places companies at risk. Some of the most common data management risk management threats include the following:
- Lack of data auditing capabilities;
- Little or no control over data retention;
- Non-compliant data storage; and
- Lack of encryption and other security features for data that is being transmitted or stored.
Data management risk management threats associated with business messaging apps can be quite serious and costly. This is especially true for organizations that are required to adhere to strict rules and regulations set forth by HIPAA or the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A lack of auditing capabilities could lead to GDPR fines, while HIPAA has stringent data storage requirements for data that includes protected health information or PHI. Messaging data containing PHI must be obtained, transmitted, accessed and retained under very specific conditions and if these conditions are not met, the healthcare organization could face major penalties.
Messaging Apps as a Risk Management Threat Due to Regulatory Compliance Issues
Regulatory compliance accounts for a very serious component of any risk management strategy due to the tremendous potential for loss. And that potential loss can be very dramatic. Recently, nearly a dozen major banks were issued fines totaling nearly $2 billion dollars. Regulators issued the fines after investigations revealed that the banks were permitting and even encouraging the use of non-compliant instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Signal and iMessage.
The problem: these apps offer very little — if anything — by way of data management capabilities. Data retention is spotty, with many apps deleting message data after a certain period of time. They all lack true auditing capabilities. Data exports are sometimes possible, but the process is challenging. Combined, these circumstances led to recordkeeping violations because investing and financial institutions are required to retain a record of all client communications. The use of these consumer-targeted apps is what led to the sizable fines. Virtually everyone would agree that those fines represent a serious risk management threat.
A regulatory compliant messaging app is essential for highly-regulated industries such as companies within the financial sector, insurance industry, banking, the investment industry and healthcare.
Compliant text messaging apps allow an organization to meet all regulatory compliance requirements with the inclusion of specific tools such as auditing capabilities, reporting capabilities and precision data management tools. SayHey Messenger® is one of the few compliant instant messaging apps with these essential capabilities and many others.
Instant Messaging Built for Business Communications: SayHey Messenger®
Banks, traders and others in the investment and financial sector companies may feel a bit dismayed by these SEC and CFTC fines because at the end of the day, instant messaging has become an integral part of the corporate landscape. In fact, messaging apps have been found to be some of the most effective business communication tools. But there are enterprise messaging solutions, like SayHey Messenger®. an instant messaging mobile app for businesses both large and small.
SayHey Messenger® is a unique and regulatory-compliant business instant messaging platform that solves many of the challenges that companies face when it comes to communication. The team at 7T developed SayHey Messenger® as a method for patching the holes in your company’s messaging situation.
The SayHey Messenger® app features:
- Data sovereignty for control and ownership of all messaging data;
- Fully compliant instant messaging for regulated businesses;
- Seamlessly integrates into existing company software platforms;
- Admin portal for moderation, auditing, and inclusivity;
- SayHey Spaces for company-wide broadcasts and team collaborations;
- Engaging, intuitive user interface for incredible adoption rates;
- Send compliant SMS messages to external users with full data retention; and
- Custom UI with your logo, colors and branding elements for a style that’s all yours.
SayHey Messenger® offers two regulatory-compliant deployments: a SayHey Messenger® Business deployment with a mobile app platform (for iOS and Android) and web app portal. There’s also SayHey Messenger® Enterprise deployments, which entail storing all messaging data in the client’s private cloud environment and the platform is fully integrated within the client’s existing software platforms, including mobile applications. This allows users to access their instant messages without leaving the screen, leading to greater productivity, higher user adoption rates and better efficiency.
Consider using SayHey Messenger® as your business messaging platform. And the best part? We can deploy this business messaging solution in a matter of days. Contact us today to learn more about SayHey Messenger®.