Text Message Retention
Among the many types of communications data that companies are required to capture and archive in order to comply with regulations are business-related text messages sent and received by employees.
While much of the focus is on saving emails and other official documents, companies in certain industries – especially those that are highly-regulated like finance and insurance – must also ensure that they have a solution in place that will allow them to copy and retain text messages.
Key Elements of a Text Message Retention Policy
When creating a text message retention policy, there are a number of factors to consider, including:
Text Messaging Purposes
Employees may use text messaging for a range of purposes, and it’s important to have a handle on what all of those uses are to make sure that anything required by law is always captured and retained. Potential purposes include:
- Internal and cross-departmental communication
- Client communication, including trade confirmations or other personal/financial information
- Connections with vendors
- Conversations with colleagues at other companies
The retention policy can be a blanket policy that covers all text messages in a given category or it can go into specifics depending on the legal requirements of the industry and local government or regulatory bodies.
Whether employees are using their own mobile phones or company-issued devices, any business-related text messages are bound by the text message retention policy. Companies can decide whether they want to prohibit the use of personal devices for business purposes or if they want to have a system in place that allows them to capture only the business texts being sent and received from employees’ personal phones.
If the use of personal devices is forbidden, the company must also have a way to monitor and ensure that employees are adhering to this rule. If they are using personal devices anyway, the company is still liable should those text messages not be properly retained.
Local Legal Requirements
Before drafting a text message retention policy, it is important to review all of the relevant legislation that applies to the company. This will ensure that the policy checks all of the relevant boxes and is compliant with regulations without going overboard and infringing on the privacy of employees or clients.
The laws and regulations are different in various countries and municipalities, and may also vary by industry. For example, in the United States, financial firms are regulated in part by the Security and Exchange Commission while the banking sector in Europe is overseen by the European Banking Authority. European financial companies are also bound by the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) which includes directives for storing electronic and phone communications. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for regulating the financial services firms and markets. The relevant regulatory body is likely to also include information on how long companies are required to retain each text message.
Key Features of a Text Message Retention Tool
As with most business processes today, there are plenty of technological tools that companies can use to capture and retain text messages. When choosing the right tool, there are a number of key features that are important to have:
- Real-time capture – all text messages should automatically be captured as they are sent/received. This eliminates the risk of employees deleting text messages before they can be saved.
- Robust search feature – once the messages are stored, it’s important to be able to search the files to find relevant messages when needed.
- Universality – the tool should be able to archive text messages from any kind of device and messaging platform.
- Automation – being able to flag certain words or phrases for automatic detection and flagging by the system can set a company up for extra efficiency and quicker identification of potential problems.
LeapXpert’s solution ticks all of the boxes and then some, allowing companies to capture and retain text messages and all other electronic communications in one place. Book a demo and start retaining crucial text messages ASAP.