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The basic gist of federally mandated compliance orders should be easy to understand at this point: In regulated industries, companies must collect, store, and be able to retrieve employee communications for set periods of time. The rules don’t change for new types of communications, yet companies continue to get caught up in regulatory crackdowns around failure to comply for services like business messaging.

Metrigy’s global Workplace Collaboration: 2023-24 research study with 440 companies gives us a glimpse as to why companies are failing at compliance––as well as at security in general. In the study, available for client access here, only 37% of companies to date have a proactive collaboration security plan in place. Based on our study data, by year’s end we can expect to see the percentage surpass the halfway mark, with nearly 19% planning to implement a proactive security strategy in 2023. While that’s a positive increase, the end result still leaves far too many companies walking the line on collaboration security strategy.

Perhaps there’s something to be learned from the companies that are having the greatest success with workplace collaboration, as measured by cost savings, revenue gain, and productivity improvements. At 42.2%, a greater percentage of the success group has a proactive security strategy in place than participants overall. Compliance management is one of several security strategic components that correlates to success, at least somewhat: 55.6% of the success group vs. 53.1% of the non-success group.

Those companies that haven’t implemented compliance management may be among the 19.4% that have disabled collaboration features for security reasons, or the 17.8% that are considering doing so. What’s on the no-no list? Guest accounts is tops, for 47.9%, followed by virtual whiteboards (43.8%), team collaboration (29.2%), in-meeting chat (27.1%), and meeting transcription/recording (20.8%).

A better approach would be to adopt a third-party security management platform for greater control over the collaboration landscape. These platforms centralize policy management and enforcement, as well as threat detection and mitigation, typically across multiple collaboration apps and platforms. Use or planned use of a third-party security management platform has met with success for our workplace collaboration study group. In the study, 30.6% of the success group is already using a third-party security management platform, compared to 25.9% of companies overall. Likewise, 66% of the success group is planning or evaluating adoption, vs. 55.5% of all companies.

Among the primary drivers is policy enforcement, which could help companies assure employees aren’t acting outside of compliance bounds. Coupling collaboration security strategy with strong security management technology is a good start. The last step? Ensuring employees understand the rules, and the consequences for circumventing them.