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Why Your Compliance Officer is Re-Assessing the Risks Around Microsoft Teams

Written by Darren Rushworth, President, NICE International

After slightly easing up on regulations during the beginning of the pandemic, regulators have since resumed focusing on banking and financial services firms who fail to accurately record and monitor regulated employee communication. As such, compliance officers are reassessing the risks surrounding regulated employees and the unified communications (UCaaS) platforms being used, especially considering continued hybrid working models. Without the right technology, firms can open themselves up to reputational damage and hefty fines.

As regulated employees continue working on a hybrid schedule, new ways of communicating are being adopted. In fact, Microsoft Teams now has 270 million active users globally, making it one of the most popular unified communications platforms in the world. While the multi-modal nature (e.g., voice, video, and chat) of UCaaS platforms like Teams affords many benefits, it also introduces complexities.

Under existing regulations, all regulated employee conversations across all communication modalities must still be recorded – something that most legacy compliance recording solutions simply aren’t equipped to do. As such, many compliance officers have been left scrambling for solutions that meet the rigorous requirements of compliance recording.

Compliance recording must-haves in a hybrid world.

Banking and financial services firms rolling out Microsoft Teams to regulated employees need to be mindful of staying in compliance with regulations around recording, archiving, and retaining communications.

In a recent report, NICE outlined ten compliance recording must-haves for firms relying on Microsoft Teams as the main platform for regulated employee communications. Below, I have summarised the ten areas that should not be overlooked when looking for a compliance recording solution.

  1. Enables compliance with all applicable regulations. For example, simply recording multi-modal communications may not be enough. Some regulations have specific retention requirements, and some regulators may require your firm to respond to requests within 72 hours.
  2. Addresses all compliance recording needs, regardless of where your regulated employees work (at home or in the office) or how they choose to communicate – for example, via unified communications, turret, mobile phone or desktop phones.
  3. Uses flexible capture techniques to simplify set up and maintenance, while ensuring reliable recording, and keeping costs in check.
  4. Offers the highest levels of resiliency through 2N recording, geographic redundancy, and more.
  5. Provides the flexibility to adapt to new communication modalities and new regulations, while providing seamless scalability to add more locations and regulated users.
  6. Offers advanced capabilities required by MiFID II including automated recording announcements and record on demand.
  7. Ensures complete compliance assurance to ensure communications for all regulated users are being captured all the time.
  8. Leverages automated trade reconstruction and technologies like Natural Language Processing to bring data together and reduce trade reconstruction time from days to minutes.
  9. Employs a security-focused approach to deliver the advanced security and compliance capabilities that regulated financial services firms expect.
  10. Is backed up by experience. Here, look for a Microsoft certified solution that already deployed and proven in top firms.

As financial services adapt to address the changing communications needs of regulated employees, a re-assessment of compliance risks is paramount. A phenomenal growth in usage numbers of unified communications platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, means that companies must now have recording technologies that deliver complete compliance assurance. For financial services to succeed, these technologies must be able to adapt to communications trends, business disruption, and regulatory changes as they happen. This will help regulated employees stay compliant no matter the situation. If not, companies may find themselves in hot water in years to come.