Survey Reveals Message Supervision Plays a Growing Role in Risk Prevention

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Data Production Challenges

The issue of data production is under FINRA's microscope this year, as the self-regulatory organization explicitly called out the inability to provide data in the requested time as "unacceptable" in its 2015 Exams Priorities Letter.

The No. 1 challenge compliance officers face in producing data is managing the number of platforms used to retain and supervise this data.

A single platform to manage and supervise messages from various communications channels was reported by 83.2 percent as 'important to critically important' when developing a comprehensive electronic messaging compliance program.

Recently, Smarsh, a leading provider of hosted archiving solutions for compliance and e-discovery, released its fifth "Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report," which focused on key trends and challenges facing compliance officers around the retention and supervision of electronic communications.

Overall, the study found that compliance is taking on a more significant role across organizations – moving beyond traditional archiving and e-discovery efforts, to add value to sales and marketing, HR, risk assessment and cybersecurity.

In comparison to past studies, this year's report also found that compliance officers are feeling more confident about incorporating new communication channels for business, including social media. According to Stephen Marsh, CEO and found of Smash, nearly three-quarters of respondents now report having a BYOD policy and the ability to capture data to make non-business-specific tools compliant.

One apparent blind spot that has yet to be addressed, however, is the capturing and preserving of text messages used in business communication. Given the multiple tools and platforms that are used for messaging, compliance departments are not able to easily capture the data – leaving this area out of compliance. Nearly two-thirds of respondents admitted they had no confidence in their ability to reproduce messages.

"The oversight of electronic communications has evolved to become far more than the cursory, check-the-box review of email that existed years ago," said Marsh. "Today, with more data points and better technology at their disposal, compliance teams are more empowered to identify risky communications and then mitigate potentially damaging issues before they become serious. Also, as the compliance role is elevated in importance within an organization, convergence with IT and marketing initiatives is increasing. As a result, compliance is becoming an enabler of social media usage, and a key part of cybersecurity strategy."


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