Apple Unseats BlackBerry as BYOD Trends Evolve

With BYOD programs growing in popularity, a survey indicates concerns about electronic communications compliance aren’t going away.

Use of company-issued and personal devices are on the rise, with Apple iOS devices surpassing BlackBerry for the first time, according to hosted archiving and compliance solutions specialist Smarch’s third annual Electronic Communications Compliance Survey Report.

For the third straight year, respondents cited new and changing regulations (67 percent), new communications channels (64 percent) and increased scrutiny/enforcement (63 percent) as their top three concerns related to electronic message compliance, yet the overall rate of concern is down.

While not cited as frequently, concerns related to the procedural elements of designing and maintaining electronic communications compliance programs, such as managing multiple archiving systems, inability to produce data upon request and inability to provide evidence of supervision, saw double-digit increases this year.

The survey indicated concerns about electronic communications compliance aren’t going away, but shifts in the types of concerns cited indicate that firms have moved beyond recognizing the issues to actually addressing them. Previous years’ surveys showed more general fear, uncertainty and doubt about new communications channels (like social media) and mobile devices. Respondents in this year’s report seemed more focused on the day-to-day, practical challenges associated with handling oversight responsibilities of these tools, such as managing multiple archiving systems.

"This year's survey results illustrate how compliance is adjusting to meet the challenges presented by social media and mobile devices," Stephen Marsh, CEO and founder of Smarsh, said in a statement. "As professionals move past the initial fear and uncertainty and become more familiar with the day-to-day practical issues associated with handling oversight of these channels and devices, confidence is growing in their ability to meet their compliance obligations."

As with social media and other emerging communications channels, respondents whose firms allow bring your own device (BYOD) programs have more confidence in the capture and archiving of business communications on these devices than prohibitors have in their ability to prove that their policy of prohibition is effective, the survey indicated.

In correlation with this increased adoption, policies governing use of these devices are also growing. However, the report warned the use of archiving/supervision systems to capture and retain the multiple forms of mobile electronic communications, such as email, text messages or social media, lags behind.

Even so, use of social media by financial services professionals continues to grow. LinkedIn leads the way with nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents now permitting its use. Close to 50 percent of financial advisors now interact daily with their clients through social media.

Survey respondents who allow and govern employee use of social media and other emerging forms of communication said they were far more confident in their ability to provide specifically requested messages within a reasonable time frame than those who ban its use were in their ability to prove prohibition is working.

Regardless of whether they permit or prohibit use, approximately four in five respondents have policies governing use of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. However, far fewer respondents reported having an archiving or supervision system in place to support those policies, although the rate did increase year-over-year. This indicates that firms recognize the need for policies and have taken the step to put them in place, but oversight, including both supervision and archiving, hasn’t kept up.