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2023 Cybersecurity Predictions: Communications Compliance Will Become a Boardroom Priority

This post is part of our 2023 cybersecurity prediction series.

Devin Redmond, Theta Lake

Devin Redmond, CEO and co-founder, Theta Lake

Fines for unmonitored communications will extend across sectors and geographies.

The over $2 billion in fines imposed on U.S. banks for failing to capture chat communications are the thin end of the wedge for regulatory focus. Firms from all sectors and all geographies should be prepared for regulatory scrutiny of their ability to capture, monitor, retain and retrieve all relevant communications. From the UK Information Commissioner's call for a review into the UK Government’s use of private messaging apps to the reported U.S. federal agency scrutiny of private equity and asset management firms, there’s no slowing down of investigations into record-keeping failures.

As individuals are held accountable, communications compliance will become a boardroom priority.

As the regulatory scrutiny on communications intensifies alongside ever-escalating fines, we can expect to see senior individuals facing the personal consequences of a failure to comply, putting the spotlight firmly on the compliance and security of unified communications (UC) powering today’s modern workplace. Firms themselves have already taken actions ranging from demotions, loss of bonuses or exiting of individuals. And that loss of bonuses includes board members voluntarily foregoing some of their variable pay in acknowledgement of the recordkeeping failings. The more than $2 billion in fines already imposed mandate a compliance review to examine individual conduct - it is entirely possible that there will be future liability for (senior) individuals. Strategically, organizations now need to move from simply enabling a hybrid modern workplace with UC tools to ensuring compliance and security is front and center for all communications.

Video everywhere, for everything.

The use of video continues to rise and regulators will expect firms to be proactive in their approach to compliance. The reach of video is vast, from Zoom Rooms at AMC theaters to wealth advising, healthcare, education, and global cybersecurity coordination. That ascent as the predominant mode of communication is supported by the results of Theta Lake’s fourth annual survey report which found that 63% of organizations use video as much or more than email. 78% of respondents in financial services anticipate regulators will increasingly expect firms to monitor video communications. Organizations need to be aware that modern tools will need to be deployed to enable the capture of all relevant video (mobile expressly included). In addition, firms should expect increased regulatory oversight and interest in the use of video and be able to explain the rationale for their compliance approach.

‘Return to office’ will accelerate mobile app usage.

In a post pandemic world, a return to the office means a return to travel, being on the go and being in touch anywhere/anytime. As a result, chat and video support on mobile devices across UC platforms will be increasingly critical as organizations seek to support employee functionality regardless of geography. UC and compliance teams will need to implement a robust joint strategy to enable mobile apps as users will demand full feature support (such as meeting chat and file sharing). As a matter of course the oversight of all aspects of mobile app usage should be included in monitoring plans.

Unified communications will continue to cross-pollinate.

The concept of application meshing will continue and become widespread. Using Zoom within Slack is an example of meshing in unified communications and more of these integrations will develop. This will have a profound impact on regulatory compliance, as compliance teams will be challenged to identify potential risk and policy violations as communications cross modalities (voice, video and text) and across ingrained application usage. Firms need to be prepared for not only the sheer volume of communications and the need to be seamlessly connected but also the need to be vigilant in the need to plug gaps as cross pollination evolves.

Dynamic data searching will become essential.

Organizations will prioritize the management of unstructured conversation content. As the volume of dynamic chat, voice, video, and text data exponentially increases, accessing, searching, and retrieving this data will be more important than ever. Whether for forensics, financial reporting, internal investigations, or litigation, the ability to understand the contents of complex communication data, organize it, and retrieve it will need to become a core competency. Any inability to manage data could have profound regulatory and other, more serious, consequences.



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