by October 1, 2011 0 comments

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+(the most recent one to join the party), WordPress, Blogger, the sempiternal list of social media platforms goes on. Beyond doubt, IT honchos have much to worry.

Firstly, because enterprise IT is becoming prone to such consumer technologies. A recent study of Indian enterprises revealed that 82% of these use social media sites, while 54% officially use web-based consumer email and 62 % use blogs. Another major concern was around the use of instant messaging (IM), with 57 percent of respondents rating IM as a major security threat. Secondly, because enterprises are not adequately equipped to protect their information, leaving them vulnerable to data breaches, especially from inside. The study reveals that Indian enterprises perceive malicious insiders (61%) and former employees (50%) as threat to sensitive information.

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Enterprise social media usage

As per a recent global survey from Symantec, an alarming 45% of the enterprise users use social media sites for personal usage. Of this, 52% said that they for personal social networking websites and 48% were active on blogs for the same. A comparatively lesser percentage of respondents (42%) said they used social media for professional reasons. 46% of these used it for professional social networking. Activity on forums was endorsed by 50% respondents and and 42% claimed to be active on blogs. All in all, figures do support significant activities at personal level on social media platforms within the domains of enterprise IT.

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Social media archiving: considered by many, implemented by few

Posts to an organization’s publicly-facing social media outlets including blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter ‘tweets’ and RSS feeds are today considered a part of business communications. But at the same time, that must be preserved to comply with open records requests and Industry regulations such as the supervision requirements under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 10-06 amendments. Interestingly, according to Symantec’s 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll, while 82% of enterprises are discussing implementing archiving solutions to collect, preserve and discover sensitive business information transmitted through social media, less than one-fourth have actually done so.

Archiving social media content

One of the ways to resolve these issues could be to think of an integrated email and social media content archiving solution. A solution that imbibes a cross-product collaboration between storage and security. One that has the ability to archive all social media interactions for compliance, eDiscovery and corporate governance purposes. A solution which incorporates data loss prevention features to analyze email content and metadata to help determine the archiving and retention strategy for all messages. How about e-mail content and metadata being automatically classified and assigned the appropriate archiving and retention policy? What if messages could even be flagged to be reviewed for compliance reasons? Sounds great for sure for an IT administrator!

Q. What is your take on archiving social media content?

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Businesses have learned how important it is to protect and preserve email, IM, documents, spreadsheets and other unstructured information, and they’re learning that the same is true for social media records. We’ve increased the scale and performance of social media archiving products, so our customers can effectively archive and discover the millions of records employees are creating by email, social media, SharePoint and file systems.

Q. Which industries can benefit from social media archiving?

Social media archiving products can assist to reduce risks, especially for organizations in highly litigious or regulated industries, without inhibiting the business and productivity benefits of social media and collaboration tools.

Data de-duplication, storage costs and eDiscovery: benefits beyond

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One of the key benefits of having an integrated email and social media archiving solution is that enterprises will be able to move less-frequently accessed information from expensive primary storage and servers such as MS Exchange/SharePoint, IBM Lotus Domino, or else to lower-tiered storage, on-premise or even in the cloud. Two, de-duplication will efficiently archive information by storing just a single copy of a file or message, regardless of the number of times it occurs or where it is stored, significantly lowering the long term total cost of ownership by reducing the archive size. Three, eDiscovery would provide advanced search, legal hold and analysis of archived social media content. Relevant items could be easily preserved on legal hold and provided to the auditing party though a simpler auditable export process.

To amalgamate, leverage social media at an enterprise level but define how to use it. Implement archiving to retain corporate social media activity. Also, leverage a data loss prevention solution to avoid disclosure of sensitive information. And then, if social media archiving dwells well, who knows, we could soon be in a time where if a representative of an organization promised you a free product in a ‘tweet’, you could actually go back to find it!

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