Skype for Business Compliance

office building with skype for business logo

JP Reis has a credible solution to bring Skype for Business usage in line with MiFID II regulations in a trading environment. Importantly, we can do this for the Office 365 version. It’s the latest in a long line of innovative solutions for financial services that stretches back to the formative years of the company.

The early 2000s saw the start of the transition from TDM to IP-based enterprise telephony. Some mission-critical environments, such as the trading floor, remained understandably risk-averse and resisted the transition. For the voice recording vendors this led to some long and painful experiences when collaborating to try and deliver IP Voice to the recorder for all call scenarios. This was happening within an IP telephony architecture that did not prioritise the importance of Voice Recording for the trading floor. The early voice recording solutions used complex system monitoring features to deliver the audio with all of the limitations these mechanisms bring. Examples included Spanning, VR Spanning and Single Step Conference.

I was one of the consultants working with all parties to try and achieve workable solutions, the experience stood me in good stead as I went on to work through mobile voice recording before the focus moved to IP. Since those early days, nearly all of the telephony and trading systems have migrated to fully IP-based environments with only the main trading solutions vendors retaining dedicated architecture to support voice recording.

We are now into the next transition phase as the legacy telephony systems are being challenged by new application-based communication solutions, each encompassing several disparate channels. With the advent of the new apps, different types of device have become relevant as the applications can reside on a PC, mobile phone, tablet or on vendor provided infrastructure inside and outside the enterprise. Another layer of complexity comes from a new generation of employees who communicate without consideration of the platform, seamlessly and without hesitation.

Skype for Business Compliance

I got involved when JP Reis was approached by a large financial services firm who wanted a SaaS recording solution that would help them achieve MiFID II compliance while using S4B and the wider Office 365 platform. The hope was to store the associated data by integrating with the existing compliance archiving solution. Complexity in the hosted UC compliance environment was underlined by a wish-list of recorded channels including Voice, Voice & Video and IM all of which also needed to be captured, along with file and screen-shares, when accessed using the Office Teams application. The scope also extended to Yammer and SharePoint.

When approaching a challenge like this, the first task, after understanding the current state and the end requirement, is to find a platform or a combination of platforms that can be used to achieve the solution. This requires full market visibility and some lateral thinking. Compliance engines exist but they sometimes need to have a vehicle engineered around them to drive a genuine solution. In this case, a third-party S4B platform provider was approached, and after positive collaboration, it was found to be fit for purpose when integrated with the best-suited voice recording solution and the existing archiving platform. There are no plug in and play solutions in this arena but with IM, Voice, Yammer (and email) capture viable almost from the outset, the development timetable is quite short and predictable for Voice & Video with the integration of Teams next on the roadmap. The fine detail of the integrated solution would vary depending on different clients’ use cases and legacy technology.

JP Reis has been involved with many compliance integrations and remediations. In the current regulatory environment for Financial Services, compliance recording not only has to work but it has to work demonstrably. Systems can fail either at the technology or process level. Every solution that I implement comes with a full “Run Book” and a dashboard if required. These enable IT teams to demonstrate to internal and external compliance stakeholders that communications are being captured and retained as required, and that they are accessible in a suitable format within a short timeframe.

The Near Future of UC Compliance

This evolving era brings new use cases that present serious challenges from a compliance perspective. How do you capture all the relevant interactions while maintaining the fluid movement of the conversation as it starts on a personal mobile device, then migrates to the corporate desktop before the IM group discussion that eventually closes with a video chat held on a tablet? We’ve been here before, trying to maintain acceptable user experiences while capturing calls and metadata.
Each time, the complexity increases but the approach and philosophy stay roughly the same.

JP Reis collaborates with top Subject Matter Experts to remain proactively prepared to help financial services firms achieve compliance and push ahead of the curve into genuine surveillance.

Rick is an independent, British technology consultant.
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