Updated: May 24, 2020
With many companies forced to send their employees home to work remotely in the current climate, chief compliance officers, heads of surveillance, and their teams are faced with the challenge of staying ahead of misconduct and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements from afar. Traders and others in high-risk industries are working from home for the first time, and detecting misconduct proactively on channels including phone calls, chat messages, and video conference calls can seem like an insurmountable task.
Though it isn’t easy, it is possible to maintain an effective compliance strategy when your employees are no longer co-located. Here are some tips on how to adapt.
Risk Factors for Remote Surveillance
Employees in many industries can effectively do their jobs outside a traditional office. By adhering to best practices for remote work, being considerate of cybersecurity, and staying in close communication with their employers and coworkers—and thanks to the diverse suite of technologies available to make these arrangements possible—many of today’s professionals can ensure work hours that are as productive from their home office as they are from a co-located one.
But that’s under normal circumstances. And these circumstances are far from normal. When surveillance teams are working remotely for the first time and in less-than-ideal conditions, it’s much more difficult to conduct their normal review, capture data from communication tools being used at home, and identify risk, like insider trading, due to the abundance of alerts flowing in as a result of the heightened market volatility.
This means additional work for compliance teams—who are facing the same demands on their work and personal lives and certainly don’t need the added stress of growing alert volumes.
Defense #1: Leverage technology to capture and monitor increasingly prevalent communication tools.
Now that organizations have moved to a fully remote work environment, collaboration tools and chat systems are needed more than ever. Many organizations are embracing new tools so their employees can continue business as usual. Some teams are leveraging a single platform to support off-the-cuff conversations amongst distributed employees; others, though, are seeing employees take up several new tools at once—scattering data across platforms. In highly regulated spaces, the need to monitor the business communications happening within these channels is even more critical.
This is precisely where modern compliance software can help. Communication surveillance tools like Relativity Trace provide the right supervision of data sources your team is using, including Zoom, WebEx, voice recordings, and chat platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams—bringing all of this data from disparate tools into a single platform for compliance work.
So, as you’re relying on more scattered and data-generating communication tools for day-to-day exchanges, don’t let an inability to supervise a new and innovative data source be the reason why you aren’t deploying state of the art communication tools. With Relativity Trace you can rest assured you’re flagging potential compliance violations and preventing problems before they erupt.
Defense #2: Reduce alert volumes.
Your compliance team is under an immense amount of pressure right now. And they’re susceptible to the same stresses and distractions as everyone else in your organization. The stakes are high and, unfortunately, so are the volume and velocity of data your compliance teams continue to grapple with.
Given all the stresses and unusual circumstances already in play, the last thing your compliance team needs right now is a tidal wave of false positives. Reviewing true red flags is a large enough task—it isn’t practical to also weigh your team down with the task of weeding out huge volumes of unnecessary alerts.
Finely tuned rules and compliance policy monitoring can help reduce false positives and help your team focus on the alerts that really matter. Relativity Trace provides a lot of these protocols out of the box, and you can adjust them to your organization’s needs to further narrow in on the communications most relevant to you.
Defense #3: Save time and reduce costs.
Compliance monitoring is a constant balance of efficiency and thoroughness—especially in times as volatile as these. Regulatory requirements don’t change with office environments, and with the financial market and others feeling unsteady, it’s a vulnerable time for bad actors to take advantage. Because of the increased possibility of risks like insider trading, and the abundance of alerts flowing in, your surveillance team needs to ensure that they can detect any unusual patterns as they happen and before they escalate. If compliance failings do occur, you could face financial, reputational, and legal damage at a time when any additional complications could be catastrophic.
Fortunately, automated workflows are an option in Relativity Trace to ensure no steps are missed and no flags go ignored. The AI-powered surveillance also means that team members aren’t poring over benign communications manually, protecting their time and the privacy of other employees.
Finding a New Normal
To keep teams looking up and businesses running smoothly, it’s critical to settle into a sense of normalcy and optimism during uncomfortable times like these. Having the right tools in place is one way to empower surveillance teams to feel more confident in this new way of working—and help companies feel more confident that their exposure to risk is mitigated as much as possible.
Erika Sperekas is a product marketing specialist for Trace at Relativity.