5 Ways Speech Privacy Systems Can Protect Your Business from Compliance Risk

Author: Gina Cunsolo


So what exactly is speech privacy?  Let's dive right in! 


Businesses face ever-increasing risks when it comes to compliance with laws and regulations. If a visitor to your corporate office overhears a sensitive discussion about an impending merger and buys stock based on what they heard, for example, that could open the door to an insider trading investigation. Speech privacy has become increasingly important and essential to comply.   


Conversations in a health care facility about a patient’s record might expose the facility to violations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Someone making an off-color remark during a phone call with a friend could end up as a harassment lawsuit. 


Even if the conversation doesn’t involve a compliance issue, a sensitive discussion about business strategy could result in a public relations nightmare. A speech privacy system can help avoid such a nightmare.


Speech Privacy Keeps Conversations Secure


Typical speech privacy systems work by using audio speakers, often mounted in the ceiling ties of an office or conference room, to introduce ambient sound into the area. That sound mixes with the sound of speech to make conversations unintelligible from more than a few feet away.


So how can speech privacy ensure your business is compliant?  Here are the top five benefits. 


1. Keeps conversations confidential - Conversation secrecy is the primary goal of any speech privacy system. With a properly installed and configured system, employees can feel confident that unauthorized individuals will not hear their conversations.


2. Prevents unauthorized recordings - Many industries have specific regulations governing recording conversations. A speech privacy system helps ensure compliance with these regulations while protecting your business from potential penalties and fines.


3. Enhances information security - In addition to safeguarding against eavesdropping, speech privacy systems also provide an added layer of protection by limiting access to authorized personnel only. This prevents sensitive information from being overheard.


4. Avoids regulatory fines – When it comes to violations of HIPAA rules, state attorneys general can issue fines up to a maximum of $25,000 per violation category per calendar year. The federal Office for Civil Rights can issue fines of up to $1.5 million per type of violation per year. And if an employee purchases stock based on discussions they may have overheard, penalties could be even more severe.


5. Prevents lawsuits – Inappropriate language aside, employee records are considered private in most circumstances. Much like HIPAA violations, discussions of employee records within earshot of unauthorized people can open the door to a lawsuit.


Speech Privacy Provides Protection


Although training staff on handling sensitive discussions and the types of language to avoid in the workplace should be at the forefront of any company’s compliance strategy, going the extra mile can help ensure those issues don’t harm a company’s reputation or its bottom line. Employing a speech privacy system in your business can help keep office conversations from becoming the subject of public discussion.


Yamaha Unified Communications, for example, recently introduced its VSP-2 Speech Privacy System. The VSP-2 increases the background noise level to cover nearby conversations and prevent accidental listening in small open work areas, conference rooms, or executive offices while creating a relaxing acoustic environment that is free from distractions.


The control unit connects to speakers via wire. The unique system layers in three critical features for optimal sound masking: high-performance Info-Masking technology developed to cover the human voice in unwanted areas with a sound level eight dB less than conventional systems, environmental audio with four types of sound that is mixed to the speech sound masker, as well as four kinds of sound effect audio that are added to distract others from unwanted conversations unobtrusively. 


Users can power the system on and off, select their preferred sound effect, the environmental sound and set the performance and volume level for a personalized room environment all from the control unit. 


For more information on how a speech privacy system can aid in the compliance efforts at your business, reach out to the experts at Yamaha UC. For a look at the many other audio solutions we offer, visit our Products page.