Slack is an increasingly essential element of many enterprises’ technology stack. When it comes to internal communication and collaboration, its functionality is truly exceptional. But with great power comes great responsibility...
While there’s no reason that highly regulated industries should steer clear of Slack, to ensure compliance and security, there are certain precautions and measures that must be taken care of.
Is your business on top of things when it comes to the management and archiving of your Slack data?
1. The Need To Comply With External Recordkeeping Regulations
Slack enables teams to collaborate and communicate no matter where employees are located, and has seen a huge boom since the shift towards remote working, accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Every day millions of messages get sent, files are shared, and data is generated. But this ability brings extra responsibility, especially with regard to recordkeeping.
When it comes to archiving, the data generated by your company will be subject to a range of compliance measures. The extent of these measures will be somewhat governed by your sector. For more heavily regulated industries and organizations, such as financial services, government, health care and insurance sectors, these requirements will be significant—set and overseen by a range of regulatory bodies.
With enterprise collaboration tools like Slack generating huge amounts of data every day, it’s important to ensure that you have measures in place. These need to meet the standards required by the governing bodies of your specific sector.
This data should be archived in a way that ensures it can be readily recalled and presented in the appropriate formats. It should also include all of the necessary metadata once it's exported.
You could attempt to keep yourself up to date with all of the necessary legislation to ensure your processes remain compliant. But for true peace of mind, simplify the compliance process by utilizing an automated system like Pagefreezer for Slack that will provide you with the authenticated evidence you need to satisfy an auditor.
2. Meet Your Own Internal Recordkeeping Rules
While adhering to external regulations is important, you should also ensure any Slack archiving is also compliant with your internal policies. Ideally, it should align with rules around data collection and preservation processes.
For example, did you know that Slack can retain all of the messages for the life of the workspace? It's highly unlikely that this aligns with your internal policy on storing data.
As communicating with colleagues moves away from traditional channels to digital messaging alternatives, the importance of information governance becomes greater. You shouldn't have to create one set of rules for Slack and another for the other data collection methods that occur in your business.
It should also be just as simple and easy to locate and access the necessary information. You never know when an external authority will request data or HR ask for access to a conversation to help with investigation of a complaint.
Solutions like Pagefreezer allow companies to quickly and easily align Slack retention policies with that of the rest of the organization. Through Pagefreezer, they’re not only able to purge both live and archived Slack data, but they can also place content on legal hold to ensure that crucial content isn’t lost as part of regular retention scheduling.
3. Ensure Access to Edited and Deleted Content
It’s easy to edit or delete conversations in Slack. This is why records of doctored interactions risk painting a misleading picture.
If HR issues arise concerning conversations had over Slack, you’ll need a way to validate any accusations. As messages can be edited, or even deleted, archiving is essential to ensure you’ve got the capacity to review all communication before it was tampered with, to get a clear and truthful record of how matters transpired.
Another benefit of real-time archiving is the preservation of the native look and feel of Slack. Context is everything when it comes to written or social communication, and the intended tone of a message is much easier to investigate when it's placed into the context of any accompanying GIFs, emojis, and reactions.
Without real time archiving of this nature, your company runs the risk of its legal and compliance teams having no access to the data they need. This can lead to troublesome delays in resolution, or even escalating litigation, so it does pay to be proactive here.
If your company doesn't already have one, it's also worth exploring a usage policy for Slack. For bonus points, combine this policy's launch with a mandatory training session, to make employees aware of how the software should be used and what data gets preserved. This will help them to make more informed choices with regard to their use of the platform and help to reduce the chance of issues arising.
Scheduled archiving of Slack data is simple with a solution like Pagefreezer. The process is entirely automated, so you don't need to organize calendar reminders or rely on one of your employees to complete this task. Simply define when and where you would like your data to be archived, and enjoy total assurance that your Slack communications are perfectly preserved.
4. Streamlined eDiscovery and Litigation Readiness
Don’t wait for an audit or legal matter to send you scrambling for your Slack data. The number of enterprise eDiscovery requests is increasing, and it’s important to ensure that all of your data, information and files are easily accessible to meet the tight submission deadlines and collection criteria.
Without a solution in place to preemptively prep for it, eDiscovery can prove a lengthy and expensive process. Adopting an enterprise-grade data preservation solution can help you save time, money, and the unnecessary stress of bringing in external eDiscovery experts to sift through your unstructured data. When information is requested in connection to an audit or lawsuit, the data provided must meet strict preservation standards, rendering it admissible evidence in court. By working with a solution like Pagefreezer, you ensure that all of this critical metadata (including SHA-256 bit strong digital signatures (hash values) and timestamps) is accurate, included, and instantly accessible.
Preparing for an audit or legal matter can feel challenging, but need not be a stressful or time consuming experience. Pagefreezer ensures that your Slack data can be exported in a wide number of formats. Exported data can also seamlessly sync with the latest eDiscovery platforms, to help speed up legal workflows.
Our advanced search functionality also means keywords can be leveraged to quickly hone in on the content you require. Search parameters can even be set to look at the communication of a certain user’s communication.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you have a strategy in place for Retention Scheduling and Legal (Litigation) Hold. Your Pagefreezer dashboard gives you instant control over the amount of time your data is preserved for, making it easy to bring into line with your internal policy.
5. Guaranteed Compliance With Internal Communication Policies
One of the reasons that Slack continues to grow in popularity is its ability to reduce the requirement for email and other communication tools between peers and teams. As the software usage rises, so does the need to update your internal communication policies to protect employees from any bullying or harassment.
You can use archived Slack data to enforce these rules. Some of the most common types of complaints this information is useful for includes:
- Sexual harassment
- Threats of violence
- Deliberately withholding important information
If you're in control of your Slack data and have it available, employees can feel confident that any issues can be resolved using this information. It's also helpful for when these issues escalate to representatives outside of the workplace, as you can put it in a format suitable for their needs.
Internal investigations can be stressful for everyone involved. That's why it's important to use software like Pagefreezer. Your Head of In-House Counsel or HR can access the necessary information and platform content (including direct, edited and deleted conversations) quickly and discreetly, helping to make sure that employees are protected and working inside a safe, harassment-free environment.
How Will You Archive Your Slack Data?
Collaboration tools such as Slack will only continue to grow in popularity. Especially as more businesses look for better ways to communicate in and out of the office, with the rise of remote working.
Don’t risk leaving it until data is needed for a compliance audit or legal matter - and then found to be lost. When it comes to archiving your Slack data, it’s much safer to take a proactive approach over a reactive one
When considering your options, look into certified compliant products. Seek an automated solution that requires the least amount of configuration to keep you and your company safe. This removes any potential issue of user error and makes sure that, if required, your data will meet all the necessary legal requirements.
Pagefreezer’s software already helps archive important information for government agencies, educational institutions, and the healthcare industry. It meets legal legislation requirements and makes data retrieval simple and easy.
Want to learn more about Slack compliance and eDiscovery? Have a look at our The Complete Slack Field Guide for Legal & Compliance Teams.