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Instant Messaging Services: Great Communications Channels, Great Compliance Risks


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 are you fully aware of instant messaging 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.

Instant messaging compliance risk

Messaging services bring serious risks through the loss of access to data. If employees are communicating through private messaging channels, 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 involving the employee or the company. 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 can be especially difficult when you lose control of communication channels.

Want to read more about risks in NOT providing a way for RMs to compliantly communicate with clients over public messengers? Surf here.

Keeping Business Communications Compliant

To be compliant, you need to provide a communication audit trail. That’s impossible if you don’t have access to the data. In addition, recent wave of regulations about personal data complicates this even further. To be on the safe side, your company has to keep the data in its original form and accessible at any time. If the data isn’t visible to you and has been encrypted by third parties, you are not capable of meeting standards for storing clients’ private data.

Dealing with messengers risks

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. Give directions to your employees and provide a bedrock to build policies and procedures. If your company is challenged to prove that it is compliant, a good communications strategy will be 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. Having said that, it’s important that you use them in a way that creates a compliant data trail. Build compliance into your communications strategy and corporate culture. Adopt a compliant communications service like LeapXpert, and you will achieve the benefits of modern technology without suffering from its risks.

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