An increasing number of companies are turning to instant messaging for business communication and it’s a shift that has been advantageous for the most part. But a number of companies in highly-regulated industries such as finance and banking, investment, insurance and healthcare — amongst others — have a very important consideration to keep in mind when it comes to instant messages: legal and regulatory compliance.
Non-compliance fines can reach into the millions, so with a seven-figure penalty at stake, it is imperative that companies consider regulatory compliance as they develop text messaging policies and then select and deploy a business instant messaging app and desktop platform.
What is a Text Message Audit? Why are Instant Messaging Audits Important?
Text message auditing is a fairly straightforward process with roots in good record keeping practices. In fact, it’s the record keeping requirements — both legally and those established by regulatory groups — that make messaging audits so important.
Instant message auditing involves a review of business communications over IM mobile apps and desktop messaging platforms to ensure that the messages are all compliant. A number of characteristics may be involved in a messaging audit, such as the following.
- The time of day messages were sent.
- The participants in a chat or message thread, such as a client or customer.
- The content of the messages and whether it complies with industry regulations.
- Whether message content for a particular timeframe has been retained in compliance with record keeping requirements.
Messaging audits can also include reviewing the messages for content such as blacklisted keywords that can be associated with ethical violations and illegal practices.
Audits can be a key component of reporting, which is commonly required by many organizations that perform regulatory oversight. Without proper auditing capabilities, an organization may fail to meet its reporting requirements, leading to hefty fines and penalties.
Could your business instant messaging app be placing your company at risk? This very important question can be answered as you perform an audit. That’s because Instant messaging audits provide companies with an opportunity to spot problems. Often, these issues can be identified before they result in a fine for non-compliance. And those fines can be devastating, especially when it comes to the amount of money involved in those fines.
Take the case of nearly a dozen major banks that were collectively fined nearly $2 billion dollars by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). It has been reported that the banks used instant messaging apps such as iMessage and WhatsApp for business communications. The financial institutions apparently allowed — and, in some cases, even encouraged — the use of consumer-grade messaging apps, resulting in scores of record keeping violations. The end result: fines totaling $1.8 billion.
Challenges With Instant Messaging Audits and How to Overcome Them
Unfortunately, virtually all consumer-grade instant messaging apps and even a large portion of enterprise or business instant messaging platforms don’t have in-built auditing tools. Some messaging platforms don’t even allow you to export data on-demand.
Additionally, many of these messaging apps retain your data for a finite period of time, making it impossible to perform comprehensive message audits and proper record keeping. This inevitably results in record keeping violations. In fact, companies using consumer text messaging apps may be shocked to find that they don’t even own their message data, much less fully control it.
In the case of SMS text messages involved in business communications, there are a number of telecommunication regulatory requirements surrounding message timing, opt-in, opt-out and written consent to receive texts for marketing purposes. Subsequently, SMS messaging audits usually include an evaluation for these points in addition to the aforementioned considerations.
Why is it Important to Audit Instant Messages for Business Communication?
Instant messaging audits are a common component that must be included in mandated reports. This means that if you fail to include an audit with a report, your company may find itself the recipient of fines and penalties from the regulatory oversight organization.
Text message or instant message audits are critical for proving regulatory compliance. Stated another way: efforts to be fully compliant are wasted efforts if you are unable to prove compliance and instant messaging audits allow you to generate that essential evidence for regulators.
What’s more, as mentioned above, messaging audits provide an opportunity for the identification of issues that may lead to non-compliance. This presents an opportunity for the company to address those problems before they result in adverse consequences such as fines, penalties and negative press coverage.
Instant messaging audits are truly essential, particularly in the case of highly-regulated industries like finance, insurance, law enforcement and healthcare. But to perform these audits, you need a well-built auditing tool set — something that is absent in nearly all consumer-grade apps and even a large number of enterprise messaging platforms designed specifically for business. That’s a clear problem; one of several that’s solved by SayHey Messenger®, an instant messaging platform for business.
Instant Messaging for Business Communications: SayHey Messenger®
SayHey Messenger® is a user-friendly instant messaging app for business communications, designed with regulatory compliance in mind.. The admin portal also allows for easy moderation and data management capabilities. The latter ensures that all message data is retained and auditable for easy reference and reporting.
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 you need to have the right app designed for business — not a consumer-grade messaging app like WhatsApp because as discussed above, these platforms can lead to serious problems.
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®.