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Survey: As Regulated Organizations Continue to Ramp Up Collaboration Tool Usage, Compliance Concerns Persist


Rapid adoption of collaboration tools during pandemic helped ensure employees and customers in financial services industry were connected, but research reveals that quick uptake of these platforms elevates compliance risk in regulated industries like finance.

More than eight in 10 financial services executives say their companies are turning off key productivity and usability features of collaboration platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex because their organizations lack the technical ability to adhere to relevant regulatory compliance and security requirements, according to a newly released survey by security software provider Theta Lake.

Theta Lake’s report, Modern Communications Survey Report: The Security and Compliance Risks of Collaboration Tool Usage in Financial Services, showed that the exponential adoption of collaboration tools since early 2020, coupled with a reliance on legacy archiving and supervision technology built for email, has challenged financial services firms. While 91 percent of financial services professionals reported using two to six collaboration tools, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) were concerned about the ability to share data and communicate in ways that circumvented email-based monitoring and archiving. That directly correlated to 83 percent of respondents broadly disabling features such as whiteboarding, screensharing and meeting chat.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The top three collaboration features considered to be threats or challenges to privacy and security are files uploaded or transferred in chats, links shared in chats or onscreen and screenshares. Nearly two-thirds 63 percent of respondents indicated that their top security concern is the circumvention of email and sharing of confidential information through screenshares or webcams.
  • Video and chat usage have surged, increasing more than 70 percent and 50 percent, respectively, since Theta Lake’s 2020 Benchmark Report.
  • Sixty-eight percent of organizations have deployed four or more collaboration tools in the past year.

The rapid adoption and increasing use of collaboration tools creates risks for companies and a corresponding need for appropriate compliance oversight. 2020 saw IT teams mobilize to implement collaboration platforms to provide flexibility, efficiency, and business continuity, however compliance and supervision considerations were often secondary. Recent guidance from the SEC, FINRA, FCA and ESMA indicate that demonstrable electronic communications capture, retention and supervision controls are essential for the compliant use of collaboration and chat tools.

About Theta Lake

Theta Lake’s award-winning product suite uses patented compliance and security for modern collaboration platforms, utilizing more than 40 integrations, including RingCentral, Webex by Cisco, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom. Its report, Modern Communications Survey Report: The Security and Compliance Risks of Collaboration Tool Usage in Financial Services, was based on surveys of 100 executives in the financial services industry.

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