August 05, 2015 by Jatheon

Web chat archiving an important, enduring compliance concern

Web chat archiving an important, enduring compliance concern

Web chat platforms, whether GChat, Skype, another free program or a specialized tool purchased or developed by individual companies, are incredibly valuable tools for many types of business. They eliminate distance between employees, whether it’s across the office or the country, and provide a short-term, objective record of what’s said to everyone involved – an improvement over phone or face-to-face conversations in that respect. However, chat systems used in official capacities, especially when compliance or legal issues are common to such interactions, need to include a component for reliably recording, storing and protecting the text.

“The problems for the lender may not be over yet.”

A compliance snafu for a major bank
Deutsche Bank AG is one of the world’s most prominent financial institutions and one that recently reached a $2.5 billion settlement related to interest rate rigging. The problems for the lender may not be over yet, however. The Wall Street Journal reported Deutsche Bank is now facing the prospect of further discord thanks to lost chat records, potentially including messages relevant to the previously reached settlement. The total number of records lost is unknown, but the losses date back to 2005. With such a large period of time wherein records may no longer be available, Deutsche Bank could be in for more legal wrangling and, potentially, an adjustment to that interest rate-fixing settlement.

The internal chat platform in question, DB Chat, is one of many used by the bank. Employees involved in the probe and relevant information from them may have been transmitted via DB Chat, according to The Journal. While the system is more commonly used by staff who don’t set financial policy or fill similar roles, it’s sometimes utilized by those who do.

“After we discovered this software defect in one of our internal messaging systems, we reported it to our regulators and are presently working with them to rectify it,” Deutsche Bank said to The Journal in an emailed statement. “We have been able to recover a majority of the chats via a backup system.”

Attempts at recovery
BloombergBusiness reported the chat storage errors were internal ones, and Deutsche Bank has so far been compliant with recovery efforts. Much of the information is from anonymous sources as the recovery process is incomplete and could reveal new information as it continues. According to those sources, the case with U.S. and U.K. regulators that led to the settlement could be reopened, based on the findings.

A better solution
Businesses that have regulatory and compliance needs can’t settle for anything less than the best possible data archive solutions. When information is securely recorded and stored, it’s a weight off the shoulders of management and staff involved in maintaining compliance. Too often, the archiving of unstructured data only comes up after a major incident, with companies wishing they would have used a different, more robust system. Organizations that place a premium on archiving their unstructured data and put a response plan in place before a problem arises are far more secure than the ones that don’t.

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