Employees are using personal electronic devices and messaging apps for business purposes which is proving costly to companies world-wide. Last year the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) settled with Bank of America Corp., Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc., The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley who agreed to pay $125 million dollars each for not monitoring how employees communicated work matters. The SEC fined 16 firms a total of $1.8 billion dollars in 2022 while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission imposed another $710 million in fines on 11 financial firms, some of which were also fined by the SEC.
These privacy violations have been ongoing since the creation of smart phones and social media, yet companies are still getting fined today. Most recently HSBC was fined $45 million by U.S. regulators for not monitoring their employees use of WhatsApp. This popular messaging app and voice over I.P. service was created in the states in 2009 and is known for being easy to hack. The app’s security has improved over the years since being acquired by Meta but remains an unsecure method of communication.
Even companies that aren’t in the financial sector should educate employees on the importance of company and client privacy. The risks of texting or messaging in business include viruses and other malware attacks, data leaks, identity theft, and more. Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or a company intranet are safter methods of team communication, and personal devices that don’t have TikTok or WhatsApp downloaded are safer to use than those that do.