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Implementing an Enterprise Collaboration Tool? Here Are 5 Questions Your Compliance Team Will Ask

Organizations are embracing team collaboration tools at a rapid rate. However, the massive volumes of scattered data these platforms create can cause compliance issues that have the potential to spiral out of control. The smart solution? An enterprise-grade archiving solution that can help organizations collect, store, and monitor their collaboration data.

In the age of digital information, organizations want to grant more freedom to employees to collaborate and communicate in a range of formats. With the advent of robust enterprise collaboration tools, organizations can ensure that their communication lines are aligned with internal policies.


Forbes highlights that more than 80% of enterprise data is usually unstructured. Similarly, up to 70% of companies have no idea how to collect, review, manage, and protect this valuable data. 

While team collaboration tools have the capacity to generate an ocean of unstructured data, there’s no reason for businesses to miss out on the many benefits they offer. Whether you’re ready to implement your first collaboration tool or want to switch your existing service, make sure to have answers for these five essential questions that your internal compliance teams will ask beforehand:

1. Who will the primary users of the platform be, and how many regulated and other employees will have access?

Enterprise collaboration compliance needs to form a strong element of a business’s internal communication policies – it’s important to know exactly who is using the platform, and how. Your compliance team will want answers to both of these important questions, so it's essential that you have a good handle on how you’ll control and monitor usage of the platform with regard to your workforce.

Your objective should be to convey the control and access parameters of different employees in collaboration channels. If you want to make sure that employees receive proper access, the best course of action is  solid and dependable categorization of employees. For example, which channels should contractors have access to? Does everyone automatically have access to channels, or should some be by invitation only?

When it comes to access control of your channels, specificity can make a huge difference. You may have to make special provisions for regulated employees (for example, placing those holding certain roles under permanent legal hold.) 

With Pagefreezer, organizations can enjoy more flexibility to protect and preserve the data of specific employees or users, keeping data preservation accurate, easily controlled, and highly efficient.

Mandatory Staff Training For Enterprise Collaboration Tools

Don’t make assumptions about employees using your collaboration platform within set limits. Reassure your compliance team by letting them know you’ll leave nothing to chance when it comes to communicating your expectations of how the platform is to be used. Assigning mandatory training sessions that teach employees about the acceptable use of a collaboration platform is a great way of ensuring this.

Mandatory training is a good opportunity to discuss organizational policies more broadly. Organizations should walk users through intricate aspects of acceptable use of the collaboration platform to eliminate confusion later on and demonstrate how this factors into the broader context of your business’s policies. Throughout the training, your organization should communicate the outlined policies of the platform and ensure there is no bullying, obscene, or profane behavior.

Your policies should highlight the management aspect of the platform and paint a clear picture of certain actions. Organizations should think of actions in terms of cause and effect. Transparency, after all, is the hallmark of every successful organization.

If production managers have access to employees’ conversation channels and private messages, the policies relating to this should be clear. For instance, you can set up a security policy that instructs the monitoring and protection of sensitive data on internal channels. Organizations can even limit the number of individuals who can post on company channels to avoid disruptions.

2. How does ECT data need to be retained? And for how long?

The popularity of these tools rests on their usability. Thanks to their intuitive nature, usage continues to grow globally, year on year. However, this degree of utilization means that collaboration tools can regularly generate huge amounts of unstructured data.

Data is power, but organizations now need to preserve, control, manipulate, and categorize this data effectively. When you decide to archive your data from internal channels and communication platforms through enterprise software, don’t forget to consider retention duration.

Data Retention and Data Preservation: What’s the difference?

Technically, data retention refers to the information governance and management of records. Whether it’s healthcare or finance, most sectors have specific, in-depth guidelines about data retention.

Financial services for instance have to maintain thorough communication records to the requirements of FINRA and SEC.

Data preservation, on the other hand, is associated with litigation and eDiscovery. Companies should always assume the possibility of litigation and have measures in place to preserve any data that may be requested as the result of a legal case.

Don’t fall foul of WORM Recordkeeping Rules

According to SEC Rule 17a-4(f), companies need to maintain the records of stored information on their channels and media in a non-erasable and non-writable format. FINRA states that firms are susceptible to WORM deficiencies that impact hundreds of millions of data records.

The requirements of WORM 17-a4 (f) can get quite technical, but essentially require businesses to store data in a manner that allows easy export with the inclusion of location details. When it comes to providing data, in the case of an audit, businesses need to be ready to comply with the requirements of the regulatory body. 

Enterprise-Grade Solution Vs. External eDiscovery Experts

Third-party eDiscovery experts can be costly, but you might find you need their services if you are tasked with retrieving data that you struggle to locate or present in the correct format. The solution, of course, is to invest in an enterprise-grade archiving tool that can automate all of these procedures for you. 

Pagefreezer offers companies a better way to collect collaboration data in archives, keeping you covered, compliant, and connected to your data. With automated retention, you no longer have to ask compliance teams to manually delete records. You can store data for as long you need and expect automatic deletion right after your specified retention period is complete.

3. How will data be retained to meet regulations? How can it be shared with auditors?

If you operate in the financial sector, you’ll already be used to making sure that your emails, social media accounts, and official websites are compliant with mandatory recordkeeping rules. The same rules apply to your text communications and enterprise collaboration messages.

Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid retention strategy in place. When it comes to team collaboration tools, proper retention settings can make a huge difference. For instance, Slack retains your workplace information permanently by default. Your goal should be to make sure these default settings align with your own internal retention periods and policies.

Easy Dashboard Access To Real-Time Data

Pagefreezer enables you to archive data from internal and online channels securely. You can preserve each ECT post, comment, reply, image, link, and direct conversation as it appeared, in real-time. This adds an additional layer of context to the data that you retain.

With Pagefreezer’s dashboard, you can export data records in numerous formats, such as WARC and PDF. You can also grant auditors instant and easy access through an archive link. If auditors require access to a huge volume of records, you can use the same public link functionality of Pagefreezer to grant access to a specific archive. Auditors can use links to perform independent searches and view the required data in the blink of an eye. It is an ideal way to streamline workflows related to regulatory audits.

4. How will compliance teams gain access to this data?

It is not enough to collect and store your collaboration data; you have to make the records accessible in an efficient manner. To this end, it helps to think of archival as the first in several steps towards ensuring complete compliance. Ultimately, you have to roll out proper hierarchical access at the correct level. 

With collaboration tools generating such large amounts of unstructured data, you need a solution like Pagefreezer to position and categorize. Should compliance teams need it, access to your data is easy. Pagefreezer’s dashboard comes with advanced search results, making it easy to pinpoint specific users, dates, and messages. You can use it to deliver correct data across any archive, timeline, group, account, or direct conversation.

Moreover, you can grant limited access to specific users or groups to records and comments. As a result, users can comment on and annotate a specific piece of information before it’s exported. At the same time, you can use Pagefreezer to allow DLP and HR teams to monitor conversations on your platform.

Keyword monitoring means that teams can keep an eye on all conversations through predefined text and number patterns. Furthermore, administrators can set alerts based on specific phrases, number patterns, and keywords.

When it comes to data access, security takes the spotlight. Pagefreezer solution adheres to the SOC 2 standard to maintain operational security. Its management system is ISO 27001:2013 certified, which means the enterprise-grade solution meets the ISO standards to collect, maintain, and update data. It also includes authorizing data access to specific users and protecting the integrity of data by preventing unauthorized modifications.

5. How will this data be shared with regulators and auditors?

It is vital to understand that you have to collect data in the specific formats that regulators find acceptable. Your compliance team will also want to find out how huge generated data volumes by collaboration tools will impact their ability to respond to requests made by any given authority. Be ready to show them that solutions are in place to make achieving this in a timely fashion more than achievable.

Without proper data collection in the right format and timeframe, organizations risk hefty penalties. And Pagefreezer serves as a perfect solution to export in various requested formats. You can grant eternal parties limited access to your records through a public portal or access link. 

Ready to unlock the benefits of Enterprise Collaboration Tools without sacrificing compliance?

Once you have the answers to the key questions listed above, your organization will be able to mitigate various compliance risks associated with collaboration tools. Enterprise-grade archiving software like Pagefreezer is the key to achieving success here. 

Whether it’s Slack or Microsoft Teams, team-based collaboration and communication tools will continue to evolve. So long as organizations have access to an enterprise-grade archiving tool like Pagefreezer, it’s easy to collect, control, monitor, and tailor complex unstructured data.

The recent spike in eDiscovery requests related to collaboration tools like Slack sends a clear signal to organizations. If you want your business to remain competitive, think of an archival tool as an investment, proactively protecting your organization from compliance issues.

Boosting productivity and enabling better communication, the need to leverage team communication protocols is here to stay. In order to maintain compliance, organizations have to think beyond basic data collection and understand the significance of data preservation and manipulation to mitigate risks and remain compliant in the foreseeable future.

Want to learn more? Download our white paper, How to Mitigate the Compliance Risks of Team Collaboration Tools in Financial Services.

Download the White Paper

George van Rooyen
George van Rooyen
George van Rooyen is the Content Marketing Manager at Pagefreezer.

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