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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 28, 2020 • Issue 20:12:02

2021 predictions for secure, compliant unified communications

By Devin Redmond
Theta Lake

This year, the traditional office, as we knew it, has become a thing of the past. In a world of flying chat bubbles and video calls, today's office lives inside the four corners of your computer screen, testing technology in new ways.

Just like other industries, digital technologies have been well established in financial institutions (FI’s)—as the industry relies heavily on video, chat and voice collaboration tools. The pandemic forced these organizations to rapidly increase collaboration-tool usage, which will be a constant in a post-COVID-19 remote work environment.

This surge comes with a new set of challenges as FIs enhance their current technology to meet compliance and regulatory challenges or face brand-damaging consequences. 2021 will be a touchstone year for defining our new normal work environment and virtual collaboration. How we secure it will be instrumental for FIs to remain competitive and reliable. Here are my top predictions for FIs as they embrace modern collaboration.

  1. New collaboration features such as person-to-person payments will make security a headache. Collaboration platforms will add new, dynamic features at a furious pace that will make it more difficult to monitor and configure security options. These platforms and APIs will facilitate new activities, like sending and receiving payments, that will further increase the risky and regulated activities on those platforms—forcing companies to increase the security and compliance of their API and integration features.
  2. Regulators will no longer show compliance-related leniency. The existing no-action letters allowing for the adjustment to temporary work-from-anywhere environments will lapse, and regulators will expect finance firms to adhere to communication compliance requirements even in remote workplaces that use collaboration tools. This will exacerbate fines and enforcement actions, which will mount in 2021 for communication supervision failures, likely significantly surpassing 2020 numbers.
  3. The traditional office will permanently change. Having all employees work in centralized offices for a full workweek has been forever altered by the pandemic-specific concept captured in the phrase "work from home." Instead the benefits and value of a more permanent "work from anywhere" environment powered by collaboration platforms and cloud-based applications will win out. Even in a post-pandemic 2021, the traditional office will be replaced by a hybrid office and remote collaboration-based workplace.
  4. Organizations will double usage of cloud-based video conferencing and collaboration tools, resulting in more compliance violations. The majority of video users will turn on their cameras most or all of the time—leading to video hosts suffering from unintended incidents as their cameras capture inappropriate events or controversial background scenes. This will result in increased compliance violations.
  5. Collaboration security will be a top priority for government. Incumbent collaboration tools (Zoom, Teams, Webex) will get dragged into conversations about privacy law and big tech, further pressuring them to stay on top of security and compliance capabilities. At least two regulatory agencies will make explicit statements about regulatory obligations to retain and supervise collaboration conversations. Additionally, collaboration tools will replace many call center interactions and force organizations on related compliance, privacy, and security risks.
  6. Collaboration-related personal injury lawsuits will crop up. A wave of court cases will arise involving bad conduct and abuse within online meetings across video, voice and chat interactions. Public examples of sensitive, non-public, personal, and/or proprietary data exposed by employers, employees and/or customers during collaboration sessions across video, voice, and chat interactions will increase.

Industries and FIs of all sizes must embrace the new normal and move toward a world of video calls and chat bubbles to keep teams connected. In 2021, we’ll likely see FIs further adopt modern collaboration tools and the need to keep security and privacy top of mind or face hefty fines, security breaches or worse. Integrating collaborative solutions with security and compliance platforms will help alleviate compliance challenges and scale security detection to teams of all sizes and calibers. end of article

Devin Redmond is a two-time founder and multi-time public company executive with 20+ years’ experience delivering security and compliance technology. He has helped leading, global software companies grow and innovate, including Check Point, Neoteris, Websense, and Nexgate (Acquired by PFPT). A prolific innovator, Redmond holds two patents and is a frequent speaker and press contributor as seen on CNN, CBS, in Forbes, and at FinTech New York.

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