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The Role of Digital Communications Governance in the Banking & Financial Sectors 

Data management in finance is an increasingly important consideration for both large and small firms. In the past, financial institutions relied on the Enterprise Information Archiving (EIA) approach to managing data—companies kept physical records of their communications in-house, stored in a physical location. 

But the compliance landscape has changed, now that businesses use a variety of digital communication methods and platforms, including text messaging, email, social media, and chat applications like Slack and WhatsApp. Digital storage of these records may sound simple, but with an increase in large companies and governments falling victim to cyber incidents, organizations can’t afford to leave records unprotected and exposed to modern digital threats. 

With the SEC and other government institutions cracking down on violations, the old way of communication tracking is no longer feasible. Businesses need a new approach to staying compliant with changing regulations and ensuring the records they store are accurate and secure—and that’s where Digital Communications Governance (DCG) helps. 

DCG is beginning to overtake EIA in many organizations. In a recent report, Gartner announced digital communications governance as a new category for data security in 2023. DCG allows businesses to make use of their data in new ways and take a more proactive approach to governance, so it pays to understand what it is and how to create a robust DCG framework. 

Understanding DCG 

DCG is the system businesses use to allow access to collecting, storing, and securing business data to protect company data and comply with regulations. Proper adherence has several goals: 

  • Identify all forms of data in an organization 
  • Control who has access to information 
  • Monitor access to find potential data breaches 
  • Surface the relevant information when requested. 

Financial organizations need a reliable DCG framework to comply with current local and international regulations. For example, international banks must consider Basel III, which requires banks to set up robust data governance and compliance systems.  

Investing in a modern DCG framework allows institutions to safeguard their information—they know exactly what data they have, who has access to it, and whether unauthorized access occurred. A strong DCG framework offers a proactive approach to data access that helps firms lower the risk of noncompliance and makes it easy to provide proof of compliance if requested by regulatory authorities. 

The Importance of DCG in the Financial Sector 

Good governance helps financial institutions provide their customers with a safe and transparent communications environment. It helps by: 

  • Protecting sensitive information: The data access policies ensure data is only accessible to those with permission to see it. This means sensitive data like financial transactions, personal information, proprietary company data, and other private information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. 
  • Maintaining trust: Financial institutions rely on trust to maintain their customer base and attract new customers. News of data breaches and customer data exposure diminishes that trust and makes it harder for financial institutions to operate. Solid DCG policies stop these leaks from happening and help institutions maintain trust. 
  • Ensuring compliance: Securing data isn’t optional for financial institutions. Governments require them to create data governance frameworks to secure information. The right strategy allows organizations to build vigorous governance frameworks that help them comply with regulatory requirements. 
  • Providing easy access to information: DCG frameworks allow organizations to track all the information they store—and easily surface it when required. This saves organizations time and resources and helps them make data-driven decisions. 

Key Components of Effective DCG in Banking and Financial Services 

A reliable DCG framework has several components that help it stay effective. Organizations should consider the following when building one: 

  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): Ensures data is only accessible to authorized parties. Companies can use access management software to define user roles, identify which roles can access specific data, and choose which authentication methods are required to access information. 
  • Access reviews: Constant reviews of access logs help identify discrepancies in access controls and ensure that the only people who have the proper permissions are able to view and retrieve information. This helps prevent security issues that may arise because of job transitions, employee departures, and other internal business changes.  
  • Alerts and monitoring: Use real-time monitoring systems to watch ongoing data access and activities for potential problems. This type of monitoring offers a proactive approach to data governance and allows financial organizations to get ahead of problems and minimize the risk of data leaks and unauthorized access. 
  • Secure data storage and transfer: Data not in use shouldn’t be visible to anyone who has gained access. Encrypt data in transit and at rest until someone with authorization needs to access it. 
  • Data catalogues: Financial institutions store many types of data, each of which may have different requirements for storage. Catalog the data to make applying the correct policies for each information type easier. 
  • Automation: Compliance teams have vast amounts of data to analyze and secure, making data governance and management challenging. Modern software helps automate much of that process, allowing compliance teams to be more efficient and ensure a secure environment. 

The Role of Communication Surveillance 

Communication surveillance plays a significant role in helping financial organizations create an efficient data governance methodology. It involves capturing all forms of communication, cataloging the nature of the communication, and storing it securely for future use. 

Modern communication surveillance solutions offer many features that help companies manage their data governance compliance efforts. It allows companies to catalog information in a single location and quickly surface data when requested. 

Additionally, surveillance software provides monitoring and alerting capabilities to notify compliance teams about potential misconduct. AI helps analyze communications using natural language processing (NLP) to determine potential internal misconduct and alert the compliance team. The importance of good surveillance goes beyond just looking at the words but looking for context and insights (essential now that courts are finding that even emojis can be considered digital signatures). 

These features help compliance teams manage huge amounts of data, reduce their workloads, identify internal misconduct and other issues, and work with regulators to ensure they stay in compliance. 

Building a DCG Framework 

Financial organizations need a strong surveillance and data management strategy to meet the growing demands and risks associated with digital communications. A comprehensive platform like Shield gives organizations the tools and processes they need to safely store data, meet regulatory compliance requirements, and act on true misconduct. 


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