Today we conclude a five-part podcast series sponsored by Hanzo, where we have considered how to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) in compliance investigations. I have been joined by several members of the Hanzo team as we explored the current best practices around investigations and how your compliance function can take investigations to a level of cost efficiency and operational proficiency.

Our explorations include considering the current Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance on investigations, the use of AI in the Hanzo Investigator, how Hanzo technology can help a company overcome common investigative challenges and Hanzo’s specific approach to finding and managing data across the entire lifecycle of an investigation. In Part 5, I am once again joined by Keith Laska, Chief Commercial Officer, to consider how the company’s specific approach to finding and managing data across the entire lifecycle of an investigation improves the efficiency of a compliance investigation in a cost-effective manner.

In the prior episode, Laska provided his thoughts and observations from a macro level on the tools and techniques for capturing information from the public web  and internally, archiving it and using it in litigation as a much more proactive approach to help companies streamline and reduce their costs to a very proactive risk mitigation strategy. We used this as a starting point to discuss how this approach is helping not only litigation and legal professionals, but the compliance professional to use the information that is publicly available to help not only measure your risk, but actually manage that risk going forward.

Laska related that the mission of Hanzo is to help companies be proactive about reducing active risks, whether those be in the litigation, reputational, compliance arena or elsewhere. He stated, “according to Dr. Michael Palmer who wrote a fantastic paper on litigation risk management, where he found organizations spend up to 33% of their operating profits on litigation. It’s about $23 billion per annum among large US corporations. So obviously companies spend a lot of money in litigation. The second data point that’s interesting is general harassment and of course sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC are rising by 12% in just one year largely because of the #MeToomovement. These are areas that corporations are trying to grasp and grapple with the time it takes to investigate these and other claims are falling way outside of the recommended compliance guidelines.”

While these costs certainly are financial considerations which need to be managed, Laska’s third factor may, in the end, be the most significant for the longer term. He said, “86% of US citizens use social media every day. There’s a wide adoption of social media and it’s blurred the lines between private company communication like Slack and SharePoint, Zoom, etc., and then public social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. You have this interesting dynamic where employees are commonly connecting with each other outside of company networks. They are connecting with each other on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. This is increasing compliance risk and areas that many compliance professionals find hard to understand if not impossible to analyze.”

These connections outside the business world are an increased risk. Conversely, these connections employees have are opportunities for companies to see if they need to engage in a more robust risk management strategy. It allows companies to see if employees are thinking about or even doing things, that if not illegal are perhaps unethical, which a company wants to stop before it moves to a true legal violation or something that could be the subject of a civil litigation and monetary damages.

Through such monitoring there is an opportunity for companies to find continuing abusive behavior on public channels. Laska noted, “people who do not have regard for ethical behavior and appropriate behavior towards other individuals, the chances are that individual is going to replicate that behavior in other places as well. So, while it might not serve to be a smoking gun, it will serve to kind of be influential in the process of what you consider to be the right type of individuals to bring into your culture.” This provide significant value to corporations to get ahead of these issues.

We discussed the increased need for monitoring of social media channels as they amplify the messaging across their platforms. Moreover, if an employee engages in abusive behavior on social media platform and then does so at the workplace, it could provide the actual notice to an employer which could result in higher liability. We concluded with a few words on archiving or in Compliance Evangelist parlance, Document, Document, and Document. This is not only a key for the litigation process but discussions with regulators/prosecutors in an enforcement action. Chain of custody is critical for litigation and the preservation is critical for regulatory enforcement. The Hanzo Investigator allows you to archive and preserve documents, data and information.

The Hanzo Dynamic Investigator is a tool which can significantly benefit the compliance professional. The information which is communicated through non-company channels is significant. As a compliance professional, you need to be aware of what your employees are not only doing but also their communications to prevent, detect and remediate any issues before they become legal violations going forward.