In a fast-changing technological world, traditional institutions such as banks have often found themselves lagging behind in terms of adapting to the new standards, but it appears this slow transition is gradually improving.
We all know what WhatsApp has come with. The free app allows people to exchange messages as well as make voice and video calls to each other regardless of where they are. While the app started as tool of communication meant for the general public, it has slowly found its way to the workplace, especially now that many companies, including banks, are embracing the BYOD policy.
Speaking of banks, these traditional institutions are known for their policies that include recording and monitoring of phones used by their employees, including other communications via text messages as well as emails. This is done so as to ensure that everyone is complying with the institutions’ trading rules as well as many other policies.
However, messages that are sent through platforms such WhatsApp, Telegram and even China’s WeChat are encrypted, which means that third parties cannot get their eyes on the same. Since these apps, led by the popular WhatsApp, have found themselves in banks and other financial institutions, it’s not possible for these businesses to have a record of the communications made by staff via the said apps.
Enter VoxSmart, which has now received the backing of another top security company in the shape of BlackBerry. Yes, the Canadian company is now teaming up with the London-based VoxSmart to ensure that banks and other financial service providers can easily record conversations that are made between staff and traders using the end-to-end encryption-backed WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat or any other encrypted messaging application.
This VoxSmart tool will live on the smartphone and as a result it will also record all the contents in messages being created on the phone before they actually enter the encryption stage in WhatsApp, Telegram or whatever app the traders will be using. This is a cool tool for banks and other financial institutions as they bolster their status as technology-based financial players.
In addition, VoxSmart and BlackBerry mentioned that this security tool will ensure that financial institutions will be able to comply with Mifid II regulations that will be effected as from next year January. According to the new policies, every financial institution must keep records of all communications that include electronic and instant messages, telephone calls and SMS related to any deal for a period of five years, even if the deal did not occur.
As at the time of this writing, this VoxSmart tool is already in use in some institutions including TP ICAP broker and now that BlackBerry is on board, more financial entities are expected to join the party. If you remember well, the Canadian company recently confirmed that it will be closing down its hardware division to focus on smartphone security and productivity tools. Well, this is just one of the many that the company could be lining up.
Still, the fact that this VoxSmart tool would add an extra cost to banks and financial institutions might also mean not so many will embrace the idea. In fact, it would be easier and a lot cheaper to completely ban WhatsApp from such institutions than pay up for this app. However, given the app’s increasing popularity, paying for this security tool might be worth it in the long run.
WhatsApp, which is now owned by Facebook, has over 1.2 billion active users. This figure keeps growing day by day and it might just be time for banks to embrace the app. As it is always said, if you can’t beat them, join them!