10 communications compliance trends in 2023

10 communications compliance trends in 2023

As 2022 enters its final month, it is time to look into the new year. Theta Lake, a security and compliance platform for modern collaboration tools, has outlined the 10 trends it sees coming to fruition in 2023.

Embracing UC tools

The first trend outlined by Theta Lake was that firms will embrace unified communications (UC) tools as a way to gain competitive advantages.

It stated that as part of digital transformation, IT budgets will favour voice, video, chat, whiteboard, document and project tools that can improve productivity, connectivity, and information sharing as well as customer acquisition and experience.

These investments and ROI expectations will drive the adoption of currently disabled features in Zooms, Teams, Slack, and many other communication tools. Firms that fail to modernise their UC and compliance technology, relying on policy-based controls to block or manage use of these features, will be at the mercy of regulators, customers and competitors.

It said, “As a result the growing gap between firms that embrace the full features of UC tools compared to those that try to prevent the evolution to UC will begin to show in the improved topline, bottomline, and compliance of the former over the latter.”

An enablement race

The next trend of 2023 is an accelerating feature enablement race to improve compliance. Theta Lake explained that it is already clear that firms disabling features in communication platforms are risking a continued escalation of non-compliance, record keeping gaps, and audit issues as employees and customers circumvent unenforceable bans for productivity needs.

As firms look to enable more features, they will seek integrated communication suites. They will want ones with rich mobile capabilities, including SMS, so employees can engage and communicate on dynamic platforms, whilst maintaining compliance.

“Strategically, this shift by IT, UC and compliance teams towards getting engagement and usage of compliant UC tools will improve compliance, and reduce the incidence of employees circumventing blocks to use off-channel platforms.”

Incoming fines

Theta Lake warned that fines for unmonitored communications will extend across sectors and geographies during 2023. It stated that the $2bn fines issued to US banks is just the tip of the iceberg. Firms from all sectors and geographies should be prepared for regulatory scrutiny of their ability to capture, monitor, retain and retrieve all relevant communications.

Investigations are not slowing down and there will be greater scrutiny as the year goes by. It pointed to the UK Information Commissioner’s call for a review into the use of private messaging apps by the UK Government and the US federal agency’s scrutiny of private equity and asset management firms.

Individual accountability

Up next, Theta Lake explained that individual accountability will make communications compliance a boardroom priority. It said, “As the regulatory scrutiny on communications intensifies alongside ever escalating fines, we can expect to see senior individuals facing personal consequences for compliance failures, putting the spotlight firmly on the compliance and security of UC powering today’s modern workplace.”

It continued by stating that firms have already acted. This includes demotions, the exiting of individuals, and board members voluntarily foregoing variable pay in acknowledgement of recordkeeping failings.

Organisations are shifting their priorities to enable a hybrid workplace with UC tools that ensure compliance and security is at the heart of all communications.

More videos, everywhere

Its fifth prediction is that the use of video will continue to accelerate in line with regulatory expectations for firms to be much more proactive in their approach to compliance.

Supporting this claim is its recent research report. In its survey, it found that 63% of organisations use video as much or more than email. Furthermore, 78% of respondents in financial services anticipate regulators will increasingly expect firms to monitor video communications.

Firms will need tools to ensure all this video content can be captured and taken through relevant regulatory processes.

Wider compliance reach

The next predicted trend is that UC compliance will go beyond regulated users. Theta Lake explained that firms will look to mitigate growing compliance and security risks by expanding their capture and oversight of communications beyond regulated activities.

It pointed to research from Gartner that predicts 35% of enterprise customers will archive workstream collaboration and meeting solutions for non-regulated requirements by 2025. This is a sevenfold rise from 2021.

“Indeed, we anticipate at least three new high profile instances of poor record-keeping, data exposure, insufficient supervision practices, and legal proceedings due to conduct issues and lack of compliance coverage for UC environments. The approach to oversight and governance is, and will continue to be, a key element of an organisation’s stance on the management and mitigation of conduct and data privacy risks.”

Unified communications

Trend seven is that unified communications will continue to cross pollinate. The RegTech company stated that application meshing will continue to evolve, such as using Zoom within Slack. This will bring fresh challenges to compliance teams as they will need to identify potential risk and policy violations as communications cross modalities, including voice, video and text.

Due to this, it urges firms to be prepared for the sheer volume of communication and the need to be seamlessly connected, as well as be vigilant in the need to plug compliance gaps as cross pollination evolves.

Working together

Another trend for 2023 is that UC and compliance team strategies will align.

It said, “With modern unified communications underpinning all of today’s business, the need for compliance and UC teams to work together in lockstep will be key. Together teams will be strategically aligned on unlocking essential functionality (such as webcams, whiteboards, chat, and mobile), ensuring regulatory obligations are met, and enabling employees and customers to communicate on preferred channels.”

Due to this, both UC and compliance teams will need to assess their skill sets and improve their knowledge of the other department. For example, the compliance officers will need to boost their technology knowledge and UTC staff will need to learn the regulations.

Accelerated mobile usage

The penultimate trend outlined by Theta Lake is that mobile usage will accelerate. It stated that the return to the office has meant a return to travel, being on the go and being in touch anywhere and anytime.

A consequence of this chat and video support on mobile devices across UC platforms will be increasingly critical as organisations seek to enable employee productivity regardless of geography. 

As a part of this, compliance teams will need to ensure these communications are being monitored.

Control of data

The final trend outlined by Theta Lake is that organisations will demand control of all of their data.

It said, “The emerging reality is that firms are changing their approach to data. Organisations now want to host and control data centrally and securely using universally accessible cloud storage infrastructure. Cloud-native platforms offering modularity, flexibility, and simple UC application integrations will be the first choice of privacy-focused, budget conscious firms.”

As the volume of dynamic chat, voice, video and text data increases, the need to assess, search and retrieve this data will also rise. “Any inability to manage data could have profound regulatory and other, more damaging, consequences.”

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