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5 Reasons Companies Absolutely Need To Archive Slack Data

As of 2022, Slack has over 35 million daily active users from one million organizations, like Amazon, PayPal, Target, Airbnb, Shopify, and Pinterest. And there's very good reason for its popularity — when it comes to internal communication and collaboration, its functionality is truly exceptional. But with great power comes great responsibility.

Your company's Slack data, rife with GIFS, emojis, documents, integrations, custom apps, hundreds of channels and thousands upon thousands of messages (many edited or deleted), is subject to the same recordkeeping and discovery requirements of other communication data sources that are much easier to manage, like email. 

But as you can imagine, the process of capturing this data, monitoring it, searching it, putting it on legal hold, exporting it for review, and using it for discovery or litigation readiness is much more complicated than it is with simple emails.   

While there’s no reason that highly-regulated industries should steer clear of Slack, to ensure compliance and security in such a dynamic digital environment, there are certain precautions companies should take to ensure the company's Slack data is kept safe

Most of these precautions can be satisfied with a comprehensive, secure, automated archive of all of the company's Slack data. 

Here are the 5 crucial reasons companies should be archiving their Slack data:

1. Avoid Fines & Sanctions from Regulators

Slack enables teams to collaborate and communicate no matter where employees are located. Every day millions of messages are sent, files are shared, and a lot of data is generated. When it comes to recordkeeping this means a lot of extra responsibility.

The data generated by your company is likely 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 like financial services, government, healthcare and insurance, 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 to capture and preserve this data in place to meet the standards required by the governing bodies of your specific sector.

Commonly, recordkeeping requirements include stipulations that all data should be archived in such 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.

Now, keeping yourself up to date with all of the necessary legislation to ensure your processes remain compliant is essential — but using a reliable archiving service that captures messages in real-time, whether they are edited or deleted, with the appropriate authentication is going to give you peace of mind should you face a regulatory audit. 

2.  Meet Your Own Internal Recordkeeping Rules

While adhering to external regulations is important, your Slack archiving has to also be compliant with your internal policies. Ideally, it should align with your company's rules around data collection and preservation processes.

Here's an example: Did you know that Slack can retain all of the messages for the life of the workspace? It's highly unlikely that this practice aligns with your internal policy on storing data. Having a proper archive with the ability to delete or hold data when needed is essential for data privacy, cybersecurity, and litigation readiness. 

As our communication platforms become more dynamic and generate more data, the importance of information governance becomes greater. Having different data collection policies and rules for different modes of communication, for instance, is ripe for confusion and error. Locating and accessing necessary information should be simple and easy. After all, you never know when an external authority will request data or HR could ask for access to a conversation to help with internal investigation.

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.

Without real-time archiving, 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.

It's also important to note that context is everything when it comes to written or social communication. 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. A comprehensive archiving solution should preserve the native look and feel of the platform to ensure that all messages can be reviewed in context, how they actually would look on screen to a user. 

4. eDiscovery and Litigation Readiness

If you wait for an audit or legal matter before you start scrambling for your Slack data, it's already too late.  As expected with the rise of enterprise collaboration platforms, the number of enterprise eDiscovery requests is also increasing. To ensure that all of your data, information, and files are easily accessible to meet the tight submission deadlines and collection criteria, you need a real-time, comprehensive archive. 

Without a solution in place preemptively, 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.

It's important to understand that 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. This means all critical metadata (including SHA-256 hash values, strong digital signatures, and timestamps) needs to be accurate, included, and instantly accessible.

In these cases, advanced archiving solutions can be extremely helpful if they include advanced search functionality, case management, retention scheduling, and legal holds. 

5. Monitoring Internal Communication for Bullying and Harassment 

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 internal communication policies to protect employees from any bullying or harassment

Archived Slack data can help you enforce these rules, investigate complaints, monitor for certain language, and give you access to messages that have been edited or deleted. Some of the most common complaints Slack data can help you investigate include:

  • Sexual harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Bullying
  • Threats of violence
  • Retaliation
  • Deliberately withholding important information
  • Favoritism

If you're in control of your Slack data and have it available, you can be confident that issues can be resolved using this authentic information. It's also helpful for when these issues escalate and representatives outside of the workplace need access to these records. 

Internal investigations can be stressful for everyone involved. That's why having a comprehensive, real-time archiving solution is so important. Your Head of In-House Counsel or HR can access the 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?

Leaving your Slack data in limbo without archiving it is a risk — for compliance, legal matters, employee safety, litigation readiness, and ultimately the entire business. 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.

Want to learn more about Slack compliance and eDiscovery? Have a look at our The Complete Slack Field Guide for Legal & Compliance Teams.

Read the Guide

Pagefreezer is a user-friendly enterprise archiving platform helping over 1900 organizations reduce risk and streamline their compliance and eDiscovery workflows.

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