The Toll of Noncompliance

Noncompliance banking

New York, New York, September 13, 2013 – It’s no secret that many large US brokerage houses have come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the great recession, along with many of the practices that are blamed for bringing about the economic decline. As regulators continue to sort through the financial rubble and investigate these firms with a punitive eye, legal related expenses continue to amass at staggering levels.

 

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, in the past five years JP Morgan alone has run up a whopping tab of over $18 billion in legal related expenses. (Note: That’s $ billions – not $ millions). Facing at least seven separate investigations in areas ranging from trading oversight to mortgage bond sales to overseas hiring practices, the company continues to negotiate settlements with several different agencies, which still could lead to another $600 million in penalties. Bank of America and Citigroup, reported in the same article, face the same dilemma. In 2008 – 2012, each incurred legal related expenses  of $16.1 billion and $7.2  billion respectively. (WSJ: “Embattled JP Morgan Bulks Up Oversight,” Sept. 13, 2013).

 

In addition, with the SEC and FINRA now ratcheting up their regulations, it has become painfully clear to the financial industry that regulatory compliance is no longer a peripheral consideration, and measures must be taken to mitigate risk. To that end, according to the Journal, JP Morgan “plans to spend an additional $4 billion and commit 5,000 extra employees this year to clean up its risk and compliance problems, according to people close to the bank.” Without doubt, all financial firms are following suit, and corporate compliance departments are being granted greater autonomy and authority.

 

And contrary to the belief of many, “compliance” usually touches every employee in a company – not just its executives. For that matter, as an example, it may be easier and less conspicuous for a financial executive’s admin assistant to illegally divulge insider information than it is for an executive. For this reason and others, compliance policies need to be ubiquitous across the organization, clearly defined, well communicated, and enforceable, with the necessary resources in place to administer them. To be compliant comes at a cost, but in the final analysis, the investment may save a company from unexpected  fines, law suits and damage of reputation, which significantly out way the investment.

About MobileGuard

 

MobileGuard is the leading provider of mobile communications management solutions, and ensures compliance with all relevant regulatory bodies. MobileGuard’s patented solutions provide the monitoring, capturing, logging, archiving, and supervision of all communications on company mobile devices. MobileGuard’s mobile communication compliance solutions are provided as either a hosted platform or in the customer’s environment. To learn more, please visit www.MobileGuard.com.

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Website: www.MobileGuard.com

Importance Of Internal SMS Monitoring Justified by David Petraeus Scandal

Most Companies monitor their employees SMS messages on business owned cell phones as well as email messages legally.  It has become a standard procedure to stay compliant with many of the regulatory mandates by FINRA, HIPAA and the FSA. The importance behind mobile recording and monitoring text messages is to ensure compliance as well as prevention of nefarious communications. Companies use their business phones for personal use which can cost the company a significant amount of money,  not to mention insider trading or any other immoral actions that can be monitored via Email, SMS and MMS.

The private sectors understand the importance of cell phone surveillance and has found it to be a very effective way to thwart any communications which can compromise an organization and its reputation.

But what about the public sector?

Reports suggest that the  David Petraeus case was built off of the discovery of inappropriate e-mails and text messages. Jill Kelley, a close personal friend of Petraeus, received threatening e-mails from an anonymous account and she asked an FBI agent to do some email and text message spying.  The agent discovered that the messages were being sent by Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer, and had also found e-mail correspondence that revealed the true nature of Broadwell’s relationship with Petraeus.

david petreaus

But why was this process so long? Was it because the top officials are immuned from such things like email and SMS monitoring and are not required to backup their SMS messages?  Does the public sector not take monitoring seriously enough? Does the government only monitor specific people?

This complicated love scandal proves that having one’s  text messages  stored and monitored can be very invasive to the personal life, but it is also necessary to the proper functioning of an organization or business.  It is challenging to keep track of all employees and their activities, but mobile recording and monitoring makes it much easier.

Wall street has realized the importance of Mobile Monitoring, now it’s time for the government to take it a little more seriously.

Apple iPhone IOS Enterprise Use and Mobile Compliance

iPhone Monitoring

With the increase,  (daily) into the enterprise marketplace, Apple’s IOS is missing a major feature prohibiting the use of iPhone’s as it pertains to the Electronic Communications Compliance rules and regulations for archiving and monitoring messages.  Presently, there is no way for a compliance solution like TextGuard to be able to capture the incoming and outgoing messages on the iPhone device.

Companies in every industry face many legal and regulatory challenges when it comes to electronically stored information (ESI) and messaging.  This does not change when that information is on a smartphone or PDA.  All US based companies are required to comply with the E-Discovery requirements of FINRA, FRCP as well as  Sarbanes-Oxley. Several industries impose additional complicated burdens due to sensitivity and risk. The financial services and healthcare industries face the most rigorous requirements and penalties for non compliance.

iPhone has been ranked as the most popular smartphone for both enterprise users as well as consumers.  In fact, the overall consensus is that with the exception of battery life, satisfaction is close to 100%!   However, don’t ask the legal department or compliance administrators at companies who have employees using their iPhones for work.  They continue to be challenged as to how to monitor and archive the SMS messages which are being sent to and from the device.

We continue to (try to) work with Apple in allowing the required API’s for developers / users as well as the carriers who will also benefit from a mobile compliance solution for the Apple iPhone.  Please contact me if you would like to be informed of any updates as things progress.

The Need for Mobile Compliance

According to the CTIA–The Wireless Association, by December 2009 Americans sent 1.5 trillion texts on annualized rate.[i] According to the industry, as more smartphones become prevalent in business applications the use of text messages in commerce will only increase.  In addition, more companies are utilizing text messages as a way to keep in touch with their clients.  This increase has not only been in the financial services industry where the speed of information delivery can affect the profitability of a transactions but text messaging has found its way in to other industries such as pharmaceuticals.  In September 2010, Rite Aid decided to allow customers to subscribe to mobile alerts with regard to prescriptions.  More companies will follow this trend; failure to do so might result in a loss of competitive advantage.  As a result, CIO’s must ensure that their companies are compliant with the applicable rules and regulations.  If executives fail to take the risk seriously they may find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit.

The use of text messages has become so prevalent in today’s society that it has started to displace normal forms of communication, i.e. phone calls and physical interaction.  The human resource departments must be aware of this shift and address this in context with their sexual harassment policies.  “Sexting,” an individual could be construed as sexual harassment.  In Calmut County, Wisconsin the District Attorney has resigned over a “sexting” sexual harassment claim.  In 2009, the DA sent sexually explicit to a domestic violence victim in which he was prosecuting the boyfriend, which further victimized the woman.[ii] This type of sexual harassment case will only increase in volume as more people begin to use texting.

So what is a CIO or senior executive to do with regard to corporate policies and procedures?  The first thing all senior executives must do is evaluate their procedures with regard to the use of electronic communication devices.  The next would be to determine what type of electronic infrastructure they currently have and where the potential exposure is.  There are two different routes executives can take: write a set of procedures that forbid the use of such technology in the workplace, which is not practical; or obtain an electronic communications software application and that filters these phones or an application that completely censors this type of text.  One of the leading manufacturers of smartphones, Apple, Inc., has had a patent recently approved which will allow all “sexting” messages to be blocked.[iii]

These filters are only as good as the person that designs them and fail to do the most important thing; they only filter and block, they are not proactive in identifying potential risks and they do not capture pertinent data.  However, compliance solutions such as TextGuard’s SMS mobile compliance software allows for the collection and filtering of messages in a compliant manner.  This enables senior executives to evaluate current trends and gives greater legal protection to the corporation since this type of compliance monitoring indicates that the company reviews such messages for inappropriate behavior, illegal behavior, and unethical behavior.

[i] CTIA–The Wireless Association® Announces Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey Results, March 2010, http://www.ctia.org/media/press/body.cfm/prid/1936

[ii] Gannett Wisconsin Media, Jim Collar, October 5, 2010

[iii] Tech Week, Critics Welcome Apple’s Anti-Sexting Technology

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