Risk alert: Employee collaboration tools can pose increased legal, data risks

With the shift to remote and hybrid work environments, employee collaboration tools can pose increased legal and data risks to credit unions, according to the latest risk alert from CUNA Mutual Group.

While many credit unions have built enhanced connections between teams through employee collaboration and channel-based messaging applications like Microsoft Teams and Slack during the pandemic, they have also posed potential risks related to data governance, employment practices, and retention requirements, according to the alert.

“The proliferation of collaboration tools will continue to shift the dynamics of workplace communications requiring credit unions to update governance measures to account for their increased usage,” the alert states.

Risk mitigation tips credit unions may consider include:

  • Partner with legal counsel to ensure e-discovery policies and efforts including the preservation and collection of all conversational data associated with employee collaboration tools include all attachments, emojis, videos, and metadata storage locations and retrieval protocols.
  • Consider strong written policies that dictate no sensitive data should be used within collaboration platforms that does not actually address or satisfied previously identified business needs.
  • Implement data loss prevention tools that will monitor, scan, and classify various data types that may exist across the collaboration ecosystem should also be considered.
  • Provide in-depth evaluation of collaboration tools and any updated features to ensure a benefit-versus-risk analysis is completed. New collaboration tool features may fall out of line with credit union risk appetite and should be disabled if it is determined they are outside the intended scope of use.
  • Acceptable use policies and existing personnel guidelines should be updated to clearly identify what sort of communication is prohibited. They should also clearly state how individuals — who may feel they are being harassed or discriminated against by conversations taking place within these collaboration tools — can report their concerns.

CUNA Mutual Group’s risk alerts, in addition to additional risk-prevention resources, may be accessed in their Protection Resource Center. Log-in is required.

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