Jody Houton

The ostrich buries its head in the sand when it feels threatened in the hope that danger passes it by. Unfortunately, the remainder of the 7ft+ animal remains highly visible and exposed to the risks of the African savannas.

While your staff are working from home and you do not have the same offline visibility into their working patterns, this does not mean that the same compliance breaches, whether insider trading, bribery, or money laundering, are still not happening online.

Despite this, a recent study discovered that 40% of companies have reduced spend and/or headcount in their compliance program since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Another study found that less than a quarter of organizations were satisfied with the effectiveness of their compliance processes. 

Cutting compliance budget during a time when you can’t physically see breaches is a simplistic, shortsighted response to a complicated situation. As working patterns have changed, your approach to spotting compliance risk needs to follow suit. 

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

It is likely that in this post-COVID 19 world, the fully digitized, decentralized working conditions will force companies to get a better grip on their compliance program. 

Approximately 60% of respondents in the COVID-19: Compliance Risk Survey 2020 agreed that firms would need to become more compliant in the future and employ more technology and solutions to ensure they do so. 

The average cost of compliance per employee per year is US$10,000, so it is understandable that companies look at ways of controlling costs amid the ongoing pandemic and the corresponding financial pressures. As the traditional way of monitoring, assessing, and analyzing staff behavior and communications is no longer as relevant, now is the time to update your compliance monitoring tools in line with the new working conditions.

Doing so doesn’t necessarily mean additional expense. In fact, for companies wishing to cut compliance budget, now is the perfect time to reassess their compliance program.

The Old Way Just Isn’t Working

With so many different ways in which employees communicate, from emails, to texts, to phone calls, and more, it can be incredibly time-consuming for compliance officers to manually trawl through all communication channel messages. Enter Behavox Compliance. As a truly multilingual solution that covers communications across more than 150 data types pertaining to dozens of voice and text applications in 10 languages (and counting), Behavox Compliance can act as a trusted extension of any compliance team.

The AI-powered compliance monitoring solution reduces false positives by 90% compared to legacy solutions, saving a compliance officer up to 5 hours per day. These time savings can then be spent focusing on the real risks in an organization’s internal data — true positives. With the best global detection rate of true positives in the industry (three times more escalations compared to competitors), our solutions allow compliance teams to work more efficiently and accurately.

The Cost of Compliance

As companies begin to plan their annual budgets for 2021, it is worth noting just how much can be saved, in both a monetary and FTE (full-time equivalent) sense, by employing compliance monitoring tools.

Behavox Compliance more than doubles the effectiveness of each compliance officer by saving each user over half of their week when compared to a more manual approach. Reducing the number of false positives means that when suspicious content is filtered and flagged through to compliance teams for review, they have more time to conduct a thorough investigation. 

The cost of sticking your head in the sand, or refusing to adapt in a continually changing workscape is huge, not least of which is the potential for compliance-related fines. And no sector appears to be exempt from potentially crippling regulatory fines. In fact, in 2019, the UK’s largest ever criminal enforcement fine was paid by Rolls Royce for failure to prevent bribery. The amount of fines are also increasing year-on-year, in both numbers and size of fines. Indeed, in 2019, regulator FCA levied its largest ever personal fine (£76 million).

And the financial repercussions of a compliance breach do not just end with the fine. In the True Cost of Compliance With Data Protection Regulations study, conducted by Ponemon Institute, it was revealed that while the average penalty may be $2 million, the cost of business disruption as a result of the enforcement action is $5 million. It doesn’t end there — the loss of revenue is approximately $4 million, and the cost of lost productivity weighs in at around $3.7 million. Other repercussions include negative impact to the brand and plummeting share prices from media scandals. 

Now is not the time to stick your head in the sand. As fiscal budgets reset for 2021, now is the time to rethink your budget and strategy for modernizing compliance globally, across your firm. Arm your compliance team with the tools to continue to work quickly and accurately. The future of your company could very well depend on it.