Why You Must Archive Mobile Communications in 2021

April 12, 2021 by Jatheon

Mobile is everywhere. It’s how we kill time waiting for the morning commute. It’s how we book our flights, order food, pay for things and do business on the go.

And it has quickly become an integral part of our office routine.

The use of mobile devices has dramatically affected the way we work. Even before the pandemic, 88% of employees used mobile phones for work while on personal time, and almost 50% of work-related content was accessed via a mobile device.

Then, with the implementation of social distancing and WFH orders, the usage of mobile devices for business purposes suddenly accelerated even more.
While business communication has moved past the usual means to mobile devices, many companies, especially in regulated industries, remain reluctant to resort to these tools. By doing so, they are missing out on being nimble, something that’s essential for efficient decision-making.

However, these companies are right to reason that there is a risk that comes with using mobile for business discussions.

So today, we’ll look into mobile 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 proven 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 Text Message Archiving 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.

With these new communication channels coming into play and boundaries between enterprise and private use of mobile getting blurrier than ever, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to track and oversee business communication.

With mobile communication channels coming into play, it’s becoming more and more difficult to track and oversee business communication. Click To Tweet

Still, multiple regulations demand that organizations retain and be able to produce messages exchanged via mobile.

This makes the archiving of mobile content a new, yet essential business practice that is bound to become protocol, at least in regulated industries such as healthcare, government, finance or education.

Text Archiving and Compliance: Making It Work

The majority of organizations are familiar with the regulatory need to archive email communications, but only a small number are aware that they should archive other content too.

Recent research shows that only 50% of work generated content is ever archived. On the other hand, all relevant standards and regulations that initially focused on email have been updated to include social media and mobile communication.

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 work-related 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 and mandate the monitoring and retention of all electronic communications, including mobile messages and voicemail. These include:

  • SOX
  • FINRA, SEC
  • GLBA
  • Dodd-Frank
  • HIPAA
  • HITECH
  • MIFID II
  • GDPR
  • and public records acts such as FOIA, FISMA or FRCP.

All these mandate the retention of mobile electronic communications, be it messages, calls or voice mail.

As a result, industries ranging from finance to healthcare have specific requirements in terms of securely retaining data.

The specifics of these regulations differ greatly among industries, but the intent remains the same – organizations have to retain mobile 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.

Beyond Compliance: 3 Reasons for Mobile Archiving

Ediscovery
As enterprises grow more reliant on mobile, an increasing amount of corporate information gets exchanged on those channels.

An employee might choose to communicate something via mobile precisely because it’s traditionally considered less official and formal than email.

However, those conversations are still considered business records which might contain valuable, even sensitive information that can be used as evidence in breach of contract allegations, work disputes or misconduct cases.

For early insight, proper preparation and an adequate response to ediscovery requests, it is essential that all organizations have access to their employees’ mobile exchanges.

Mobile archiving allows you to capture, index, store, search, monitor and retrieve mobile (text and SMS) and voice messages in a central vault under your control. With a reliable message archiving platform, your organization will be able to place legal hold on certain data, suspend deletion and ensure everything is there when you, your lawyers or auditors need it.

Business Insight
Organizations now utilize their archived data for a lot more than compliance and legal discovery. With the focus shifting to business improvement, increased oversight and proactive archiving, information governance and the need to protect valuable company information are currently assuming a more central role in enterprises.

A good archiving solution will have sophisticated options that will allow you to analyze and draw valuable conclusions from your archived data and extract information that will benefit your entire organization.

Looking at your archive as a strategic business asset rather than something that you should use only in emergency situations will give you unique insight into your organization and improve data management in all your departments.

CYOD ‒ A New Trend on the Horizon
An alternative to BYOD (where employees bring their personal devices to work and use them for both private and business communication), CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) is a new phenomenon which gives organizations much more control of mobile devices used by staff and facilitates the handling of enterprise information.

The CYOD approach requires employees to choose from a limited range of devices (e.g. allow Apple devices but forbid Android) or limit the usage of mobile phones to work activities only.

This is a factor that can influence the choice of an archiving solution, as many solutions support only particular devices, operating systems, carriers and phone ownership models.

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.

The Art of Finding the Right Mobile Archiving Solution

In case your organization already retains email and social media, 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.

An obvious advantage is that users and compliance officers won’t have to get used to a new interface, but will be able to continue using the tried-and-tested solution they’re already familiar with.

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.

When it comes to features, it’s essential that your messages are archived in a WORM format which prevents data tampering.

In order to yield precise results fast, your message archiving solution should possess advanced search capabilities and a variety of search criteria.

For monitoring purposes and ediscovery, make sure there are customizable roles for level-based access and features such as audit trail, reporting and the ability to export to multiple formats.

How will your organization benefit from mobile archiving?

The main 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.

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. After the retention window expires, the data is automatically deleted from the system, limiting liability.

Another benefit is that, with a mobile 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 17 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.

For an inside look into Jatheon’s mobile archiving platform, contact us or book a 30-minute demo.

Read next:

Mobile Archiving Solutions for Businesses: How to Archive Mobile Messages and Calls

Does Your Organization Really Need to Archive WhatsApp Chats?

How to Ensure HIPAA Compliance with Mobile Archiving

Social Media and Mobile Archiving: A Brief Guide to Jatheon CTRL [Infographic]

Why You Need to Archive Mobile Communications in the Government Sector

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