In 2021, JPMorgan faced $200 million in fines over the unauthorized use of WhatsApp. This incident compelled several businesses to reconsider their use of WhatsApp at work. However, WhatsApp itself was not the issue. In fact, WhatsApp is one of the most secure options a business can use to communicate. So, what was the problem?
The financial institution allegedly failed to ensure proper WhatsApp archiving. That led the SEC to suspect that the company and its employees had deliberately avoided archiving WhatsApp chats to hide some conversations that they were required to monitor and store.
Failed WhatsApp Compliance Can Cost Millions
Whenever compliance issues related to WhatsApp come up, JPMorgan comes to mind. However, this is not a one-off case. Several companies have faced millions in fines for using unapproved channels or failing to monitor them. The cost can come from fines and the cost of cooperating with investigators.
Misusing messaging apps has become such a widespread problem in the U.S. that European regulators are preparing to fine U.S. companies for these violations within their jurisdictions. Facing fines in multiple regions will further cause the cost to climb.
Compliance Starts With the Company’s Culture
An organization with a culture of letting internal protocols slide will likely face compliance issues. Initially, it might seem like the company continues to prioritize external compliance. After all, workers know the cost of failing to meet obligations to regulatory bodies. However, a lax approach to internal rules will eventually grow into larger problems.
Consequently, managers can start by setting an example. If they follow the rules, other workers are more likely to follow suit. Here are some additional best practices to consider:
- Educate employees on the compliance requirements for their position.
- Train employees on how to remain compliant.
- Create a policy for identifying, reviewing, and approving appropriate communication channels.
- Regularly review and monitor WhatsApp use, as well as the use of other IM channels.
- Conduct internal audits to ensure compliance.
- Enforce consequences for violating compliance policies.
WhatsApp’s Built-In Archiving Feature Means Something Else
WhatsApp allows you to organize chats easily, but this is not the archiving that keeps businesses compliant. Instead, this feature will enable you to remove some conversations from the main inbox section, so you can focus on the chats you wish to see.
You can still access a WhatsApp chat archived, but you will no longer receive automatic notifications. While this feature can be helpful, businesses need to focus on compliant forms of archiving WhatsApp chats, a requirement in several jurisdictions.
Businesses Need Third-Party Solutions for WhatsApp Compliance Archiving
WhatsApp saves messages for as long as the user of that device prefers. However, that person could choose to delete specific messages. They can even delete the previous backups that might include those messages to ensure they erase all traces. This level of control over stored messages creates a clear compliance issue and opens the door for fraud.
You can take specific steps to ensure compliance by using a third-party message archiving service that automates the process. When instant messages come and go on any company-authorized platform or device, the software automatically records these. Authorized persons can then quickly locate files when necessary. Meanwhile, unauthorized persons cannot delete these conversations.
Tiered Access Plays a Crucial Role
If everyone has access to the archiving software, it defeats the purpose. Managers might initially allow this so that employees can delete conversations not deemed work appropriate. Some might even allow workers to share log-ins. This increases the likelihood of abuse, fraud, and fines. Managers will need to take some time to determine what positions require access to this data.
Once they make this decision, it’s essential to follow up by updating the log-in credentials and the authority assigned to each. No workers should share log-in credentials. Individual access ensures that managers can track and identify suspicious user activity.
The Bottom Line
Companies worldwide rely on LeapXpert to record their communications and ensure compliance. Our software works across multiple instant messaging platforms so that companies can confidently use several IM options. Doing so also allows companies to communicate with customers via their preferred methods. This, in turn, significantly impacts the customer experience for the better.
Are you ready to see what LeapXpert can do for your business? Book your demo of our message archiving service today.
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