While business communication has moved past the usual means to mobile devices, many companies, especially in regulated industries, are reluctant to resort to these tools.
By doing so, they are missing out on being nimble, something that’s been essential for efficient decision-making.
However, these companies are right to reason that there is a risk that comes with using mobile devices for business discussions.
So today, we’ll look into text message archiving and how to overcome the risks associated with the use of mobile devices to implement an efficient strategy.
In case you want to learn more specific information for your business needs and industry, check out additional resources at the end of the post.
In May 2018, WhatsApp, a mobile instant messaging app hit a daily message record of 65 billion.
Fast forward to 2021, and the daily message record is now 100 billion messages.
And what’s interesting is that voice and video calls are taking up a significant portion of the total number of messages exchanged: according to Fortunly, 2 billion minutes of voice and video calls are made on WhatsApp daily.
Just like WhatsApp and Viber, texting was not originally designed for business but has proved to have the potential to rival many services that were.
According to TextRequest, 89% of consumers recently said they want to text with businesses, “typically for sales, service, and appointments”.
Why Archiving Text Messages Matters
What these figures tell us is that people, literally billions worldwide, rely on mobile instant messaging to communicate not only with friends and family, but also to organizations.
Texting is so successful because it does precisely the thing users want instant messaging to do – it’s quick, simple and efficient.
As TextRequest reminds us, it has become easier to reach most people through text, since only 20% of people answer calls they aren’t expecting, while texts are read within 5 seconds on average. Texting is also 10 times quicker than phone calls and has a 45% average response rate.
Mobile communication is on the rise among employees as well.
88% of employees use mobile phones for work while on personal time, and almost 50% of work-related content is now accessed via a mobile device. This leads to business-critical and often confidential data residing on corporate-issued or personal devices.
Text Archiving and Compliance: Making It Work
Following the popularity and increased use of text messaging for business, all major laws, regulations and regulatory bodies in the United States and Europe recognize content created on personal and company-issued mobile phones as a valid business record.
There are numerous regulatory bodies and pieces of legislation that regulate this area, including:
All these mandate the retention of mobile electronic communications, be it messages, calls or voicemail.
The specifics of these regulations differ greatly among industries, but the intent remains the same – organizations have to retain records for potential review by applicable regulatory agencies or suffer fines and penalties.
The situation seems basic when laid out in these terms, but the day-to-day reality may be different for many businesses.
The nature of regulatory efforts means they tend to exist in the back of most staff members’ minds.
With reviews coming at random, but relatively lengthy intervals or on a yearly basis, it’s easy to ignore the need for an effective archiving solution until the date of an announced audit draws close.
This approach leaves companies vulnerable to unannounced audits and other surprise inspections and can lead to negative consequences.
The fact remains that no matter what type of audit is conducted or what specific requirements for retention, formatting, and storage are, proper data retention is something a business in a regulated industry must address every single day to be successful.
Overcoming Risks with Text Message Archiving
The first step to ensure compliant use of mobile devices is to understand that both compliance and archiving are continual concerns.
You need to anticipate and document potentially devastating problems related to the lack of a plan for securely storing unstructured information (such as email, official social media channels, mobile communications, including BYOD).
This means having a clear communication policy in place as well as raising awareness among everyone in the company about the importance of proper handling of business records. You need to address questions such as:
- What mobile channels and apps do you use for communication?
- Which channels are forbidden for business purposes?
- What are the consequences of using these channels? What are the dangers?
- Who will be responsible for overseeing the compliance with these guidelines?
- What kind of information will be exchanged through these channels?
Understanding the enduring nature of archiving and regulatory needs is just the first step, however.
Comprehension doesn’t automatically ensure an archiving system is cost-effective, useful or up to the standards of the specific regulations set forth in a given industry.
Awareness is a great way to consider archiving a continual need, but efforts can’t stop there.
Businesses must take their own unique needs into account and explore archiving solutions to find the best fit.
In case your organization already retains email, it would be best to find a mobile archiving solution that works as an add-on or that can integrate with your existing setup.
In reality, businesses often have a cluster of solutions for their data archiving and protection – most of which don’t work well together.
Without a cohesive solution, the result is a vast amount of single channels containing company data which is primarily stored on expensive hardware and confusing and competing software.
A comprehensive, all-in-one solution will allow your company to eliminate many single channels, and instead, create connective channels that support one another.
A powerful archiving solution doesn’t only store communications data, it also takes other broad and specific considerations into account.
Secure storage only goes so far when the process of retrieval is difficult and time-consuming, and the inability to find specific communications is just as bad as not retaining the records in the first place.
The same goes for approved formats for storage. Businesses must use a solution that stores data in the specific file formats required by their regulatory agencies.
How will your organization benefit from mobile archiving?
A major argument in favor of adopting mobile archiving solutions is that they will allow worry-free workplace messaging in a way that boosts employee productivity and collaboration but also addresses compliance and eDiscovery requirements and reduces risk across a variety of industries.
When mobile content (SMS, MMS, calls, chats, voicemail) is captured, it is indexed, made searchable and stored safely until the retention period mandated by relevant regulations expires.
With an archiving system, your compliance officers and administrators will be able to gain quick access to various types of electronic records in the event of audits, compliance requests or litigation.
Jatheon is an email, social media and mobile archiving specialist with 15 years of experience with regulated industries.
With Jatheon’s on-premise and cloud archiving solutions, organizations are empowered to properly and securely retain, access, search and manage unstructured communication data in a single repository, improving compliance, eDiscovery response, business productivity and reputation management.
In case you want to learn more about mobile archiving and why it matters for companies in regulated environments, check out the additional resources below to help you get started.