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Meeting Compliance through Trust

Last month I introduced No Jitter readers to compliance software vendor Actiance, which provides regulated enterprises with systems that let them make use of all modes of communication while still meeting compliance requirements. When I posted that blog, the company had just announced its support of Skype for Business, adding on to its existing support for Microsoft content. At the time, Actiance promised big news in June. Well, it's June, and I've got some hot compliance news for you.

Much of my earlier conversations with Actiance centered on internal communications and social media use and surrounding policy. But what about external communications? Rarely these days is there a job that does not require at least some communication with people outside of your direct organization, and regulations around communications apply there, too.

Today Actiance announced a new directory solution, Actiance Trusted Communities, to help businesses meet compliance requirements with communications between organizations. As CEO Kailash Ambwani told me, in order for enterprises to adhere to regulations as well as internal policies, being able to verify a person's identity and even more so their role at their company is key. Basically, you need to know who you are talking to and what sort of role-based permissions they have, so that you can apply the necessary policies and act accordingly.

Actiance Trusted Communities provides a means for this verification. It is a centralized directory that houses information like user identity and employee roles so that they can communicate appropriately. Organizations can use the data to set policies, and employees can use the data to understand which policy applies when speaking with certain individuals.

Ambwani raised the case of the recent scandal with London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) as an example of the need for a way to enforce real-time communication policies on the variety of channels in use today. In this scenario, much of the collusion between different companies around the rigging of global interest rates took place through real-time chat. Once involved major banks were found guilty, a series of strict policies were put in place by regulators requiring the management of federated conversations.

These new regulations obviously made compliance more of a challenge, but Actiance set to work creating Trusted Communities with the aim of easing management complexity for such financial services firms, so that employees could maintain compliance without being further limited with regard to which communication channels they could use.

With Actiance's considerable penetration in the financial services industry, and the Libor scandal fresh in the minds of people in that industry, it is easy to see how Trusted Communities could be an appealing solution. Actiance's Vantage, which can be deployed on premises or as software-as-a-service, and Socialite solutions will use the Trusted Communities directory.

"76% of all U.S. financial services firms have Vantage deployed today," Ambwani said. "So the reason this works is because we're at critical mass."

With such a substantial customer base in place, Actiance has a strong chance of building a very complete network of financial services workers. To further this initiative, Actiance has opened up a free capability for smaller companies that perhaps don't have the resources to deploy Vantage. Companies that are not Actiance customers can still go in and submit user information to Trusted Communities. The difference is that organizations that have Vantage deployed can use the community information to then execute communications policies. Companies that enter information will still gain the benefit of being in a large directory that most financial services firms will use to dictate who they can talk to about what.

Ambwani stressed that the value of Trusted Communities is not limited to financial services, however, and shared an example of a large defense contractor that approached Actiance with the need to federate UC platforms with its competitors' platforms. Another example was that of a large healthcare provider that could leverage Actiance to leverage telepresence for the emerging telehealth services while meeting compliance. Trusted Communities can be used in this scenario to create and enforce policies around which external specialists are allowed to participate via video conference for observing an operating room procedure.

"Extending active compliance controls to external communications benefits all regulated industries," the company said in a release . "Until now, there has not been a reliable and efficient way to authenticate identities and roles between companies and enforce policies based on those roles."

Actiance announced at its Unleash conference today that Trusted Communities is now officially available for beta use, and will become commercially available in September. Actiance also made news last month with a late-stage growth investment of $28 million, and Ambwani commented that a portion of this go-to-market funding will be supporting its Trusted Communities initiatives.

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