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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote working, consumer-grade communication and collaboration apps like WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams have played an integral role in enabling employees to collaborate. 

According to Veritas, 71% of employees globally admit to sharing sensitive and business-critical data via instant messaging and business collaboration tools.

Yet while these solutions may be convenient for users, they’re also poorly optimized for sharing regulated data, and leave organizations exposed to regulatory liabilities. 

For this reason, zero-trust architecture provider Worldr designed Worldr for WhatsApp, a bolt-on solution for WhatsApp that’s designed to archive user messages so they’re available during auditing.

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Worldr for WhatsApp sits on top of the user’s existing WhatsApp deployment and keeps a copy of all communications within a secure storage facility. This means that compliance teams can archive messages for auditing purposes and satisfy SEC, GDPR and FINRA requirements. 

The company also announced today it has raised $11 million in seed funding.

Making collaboration compliant 

The announcement comes amid a regulatory crackdown on unauthorized messaging apps, with the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission handing out $2 billion in fines to global financial firms that failed to monitor employee communications on unauthorized messaging apps like WhatsApp. 

One of the firms fined, Morgan Stanley, received a fine of $200 million for “use of unapproved personal devices” and “inadequate” recordkeeping, with the U.S. government alleging that directors had used WhatsApp and personal email addresses for business communications and evaded proper scrutiny. 

Worldr for WhatsApp aims to address these compliance challenges by adding auditing capabilities to the app so that organizations have a clear record of all communications taking place. 

“Our solution enables organizations to retain records of conversations over this app, so that compliance teams can access, search and retrieve relevant information for regulatory purposes. This means that employees can continue using WhatsApp with their teams and clients, while meeting SEC, GDPR and FINRA compliance standards,” said Max Buchan, CEO of Worldr. 

The organization’s approach is designed to be easy to implement, as it doesn’t require employees to stop using WhatsApp or change their behavior and adopt other tools. 

“It is difficult to ask employees to change their behavior to improve enterprise security and compliance. Despite the best will in the world, it is just human behavior to stick with what we know,” Buchan said.

Now Worldr for WhatsApp will work alongside Worldr’s other collaboration app bolt-on solutions — Worldr for Microsoft Teams and Worldr for Slack — to help organizations to improve the overall security of popular communication apps that users rely on in remote and hybrid working environments.  

A look at collaboration software and secure messaging alternatives 

With the collaboration software market anticipated to grow from a value of $13.7 billion in 2022 to reach $18.5 billion by 2027, it’s clear that organizations have no intention of moving away from hybrid working approaches. 

That being said, in light of increased regulatory scrutiny, there are a growing number of enterprise-grade communication apps looking to offer greater data sovereignty and insulate organizations from regulatory liabilities. Such solutions include Mattermost, Element and Rocket Chat

Mattermost, which most recently raised $50 million in funding in 2019, provides an open-source alternative to tools like Google Hangouts chat, Slack and Teams, offering users channels where they can message, collaborate, and screenshare, under the protection of granular user and admin security settings. 

Similarly, secure collaboration provider Element provides users with end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice and video, alongside single sign-on (SSO) and data-loss prevention capabilities. Element most recently announced raising $30 million in funding

The key difference between these providers and Worldr is that “Worldr takes a fundamentally different approach, however, in building second layer privacy, security and compliance infrastructure on top of the tools that employees already use,” Buchan said. 

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