The past year has prompted radical shifts to the corporate world, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. With the mass closing of traditional office spaces, companies across all industries were forced to reckon with an entirely digital world – whether they were ready for it or not. This new virtual collaboration space morphed the fundamentals of how businesses traditionally conduct themselves, taking it from between the four walls of a conference room to the four corners of a computer screen.
As businesses continue to grapple with the complexities of keeping operations running smoothly amid the extended disruption, security and compliance cannot fall to the wayside. The increased reliance on modern collaboration tools like video, chat and voice coupled with a lax approach to security can bring forth challenges that have the potential to upend businesses. In order to avoid issues like regulatory violations, large fines and security breaches, the financial industry must take a look at its processes related to the increased collaboration tool usage that facilitates work-from-anywhere and ensure its security and compliance is top-notch going into the new year.
Here are my top predictions for what the fintech industry will see in 2021 when it comes to modern collaboration tool security and compliance.
- Organizations will double their usage of cloud-based video conferencing and collaboration tools in 2021, resulting in more risk and compliance violations. The vast 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 NSFW events or controversial background scenes. This will result in an increased amount of compliance violations.
- 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 be built to 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.
- Collaboration security will be a top priority for government. Incumbent collaboration tools (Zoom, Teams, Webex) are going to 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.
- Regulators will no longer show compliance-related leniency to the financial services industry. 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 a remote workplace that uses collaboration tools. This will exacerbate fines and enforcement actions, which will continue to mount in 2021 for communication supervision failures, likely significantly surpassing 2020 numbers.
The work-from-anywhere environment of 2020 will persist into 2021 including more, smaller and geographically dispersed offices and more hybrid remote working that will likely become the new normal. The sooner organizations can establish protocols and fail-safes for the usage of video, chat, and voice collaboration tools, the better. Investing in the enhancement of existing technology to meet compliance and regulatory standards will ensure companies remain competitive and viable into the new year and beyond.