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BlogPost 162391405395 What Is Compliance And Why Does It Matter In Multichannel Communication?//
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What Is Compliance And Why Does It Matter In Multichannel Communication?

Compliance means following a wide range of laws, rules, guidelines, and good practices. Shortfalls in compliance don’t just risk legal and financial penalties, but also significant reputational damage and even a loss of confidence and trust among employees. Most people will remember when companies get this catastrophically wrong, for example when Volkswagen faked emission test results for their vehicles and were eventually fined by regulators and had to apologize publicly for breaking regulations and misleading their customers.

This case illustrates that compliance needs to be a core part of a business, built into every aspect of its operations. Unifonic takes compliance seriously, with clear internal structures and responsibility.


The Impact Of Regulators


Although jurisdiction and lawmaking can vary significantly across the territories of the Middle East, the direction in recent years has been towards greater and more stringent regulation of the telecommunications industry. These regulations are put in place to protect consumer interests when it comes to privacy and data protection. Careful oversight has become necessary as the industry, particularly mobile messaging and transactions via devices, have become a bigger part of everyday life in the region, and infractions of the regulations can result in severe operational and financial costs to businesses.

Another argument from supporters of regulation is that it increases investment and partnership from outside the region by making it easier to operate across borders with more consistent levels of consumer protection. Clear rules on what operator behavior is and is not acceptable may encourage more competitors in the marketplace.



Why Compliance Matters


It’s too easy to assume that compliance is simply about following the rules to avoid financial penalties. Failing to follow the rules can have much wider consequences. For example, being publicly exposed as not securing customer privacy can destroy trust and deter people from using your services. One of the best examples of this occurred with the Yahoo data breach in 2013 where the internet search engine was hacked and the private data of up to 3 billion users was compromised. The incident certainly contributed to the downturn in the fortunes of the internet giant.


A lack of compliance could also affect your staff morale, with workers feeling uneasy about being asked to perform tasks they may consider ethically or legally questionable. 

It’s important not to consider compliance as a role simply for one employee or one team to tick boxes. Instead, it’s a responsibility that the entire business needs to buy into: a philosophy that covers businesses, their teams, and their suppliers. All with obligations to remain aware of the latest regulations covering their area of operations. Not an easy task when there are so many issues competing for attention. However the advantages of compliance and the potential consequences of non-compliance make it a very important area of consideration.

In the case of the telecoms industry, the regulators that cover the activities of Unifonic and our customers when using our products regulate the industry both by issuing policies and exercising functions. These ensure that operators, service providers, and senders follow the rules and regulations that govern telecommunications in the region.



The Key Principles Of Compliance


Compliance is multifaceted, encompassing legal requirements common to all businesses (like labor laws and financial reporting) and industry-specific regulations. It’s a concept that also expands to cover voluntary standards such as ethical and internal compliance, focusing on fairness, transparency, and operational integrity.

Adhering to these forms of compliance requires a mix of broad principles and detailed actions. This includes setting goals for ethical behavior, ensuring knowledge of legal requirements, keeping well-informed of developments and changes to requirements, assessing the risks and consequences of non-compliance, and developing measures to mitigate these risks. 

Transparency, accountability, and continuous monitoring for improvement are fundamental to good practice in compliance.



How to Implement Effective Compliance Strategies


Most companies that practice effective compliance ensure that the following points are covered in their policies and procedures:


  • Educate Employees: Implement training programs to keep staff informed about regulations and ethical conduct.
  • Ethical Codes of Conduct: Establish clear codes for employees to guide decision-making.
  • Whistleblower Policies: Encourage reporting of violations to reinforce compliance norms.
  • Enforcement Policies:  Clearly define and apply rules to promote adherence to compliance standards.
  • Risk Assessment:  Regularly evaluate potential compliance risks.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Continuously monitor compliance activities and changes in regulations in all territories.
  • Audits:  Conduct regular audits for early detection of potential or existing breaches.
  • Record-keeping:  Maintain accurate records for smooth operation and proof of compliance.
  • Incident Response and Remediation:  Develop a detailed incident response process for investigating and handling suspected or confirmed breaches. 
  • Third-Party Management:  Establish procedures for vetting vendors and partners, ensuring they adhere to similar compliance standards. 
  • Privacy and Data Protection: Develop and enforce policies aligned with applicable data privacy laws (e.g., PDPL).

These steps create a framework that can be adapted to specific businesses to ensure compliance and reduce the risks associated with non-compliance.


Unifonic’s Approach To Compliance




Unifonic falls under the jurisdiction of a range of laws and regulations that cover our operations all over the Middle East. For example, our messaging services are fully licensed by the Communications, Space & Technology Commission (previously the CITC) in Saudi Arabia and the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority in the United Arab Emirates. We place a high degree of importance on keeping all our products and services secure and compliant with all local market regulations.

As a number of our services such as Authenticate and Voice are popular with financial services providers and e-commerce stores, these fall under the jurisdiction of financial authorities in the various territories in which we operate, and we follow their guidelines to the letter. For example, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) in KSA governs the way financial transactions and approvals for financial services need to be handled on mobile devices, so we are bound and fully compliant with these regulations for our customers in the kingdom. Read our recent article for a more in-depth explanation of how we navigate SAMA compliance in Saudi Arabia.

All Unifonic products and services are built, not only to ensure we remain compliant but to enable our customers to remain compliant throughout their operations. We make sure that regulations around all the following areas are covered:

  • Consent for marketing and promotional messages;
  • Accurately identifying the sender and type of messages;
  • Automated voice calls (“Robocalls”); and
  • National laws on data protection and privacy.
  • We’re also an authorized Meta Business Solutions Provider and are subject to all their policy requirements for WhatsApp messaging.


Additionally, as part of our compliance framework, we've built a robust compliance framework and employ several foundational security practices:

Secure Infrastructure: All message processing and transmission occur within our locally hosted infrastructure, utilizing strong encryption both at rest and in transit.

Compliance Focus: Our security framework aligns with the ISO 27001 Information Security Management standard and has achieved CSA STAR Level 2 attestation. This independent, third-party assessment demonstrates our commitment to data protection and helps our customers confidently maintain their compliance posture.

Dedicated Security Team: Our knowledgeable Information Security team actively manages and continuously improves our security program.

Top-Level Oversight: Unifonic's Head of Information Security reports directly to executive management, ensuring security is embedded in decision-making and company-wide initiatives.

Proactive Risk Management: We follow comprehensive incident response plans to mitigate disruptions rapidly and communicate transparently with stakeholders.

Third-Party Assurance: We carefully assess our vendors and partners, requiring them to maintain security standards that align with our own.

You can learn more about our compliance and security measures here, and also view a full list of our licenses and certifications.


For more information about Unifonic’s messaging services and how we make sure everyone remains compliant with relevant requirements, contact us today.

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