eDiscovery Can Maximize Social Media Rewards, Minimize Risks

Those of you who know me well know that I'm a face-to-face kind of guy. I'm on the road more than half the year, and nothing makes me happier than meeting with Symantec partners in the field.

August 22, 2011

4 Min Read
eDiscovery Can Maximize Social Media Rewards, Minimize Risks

By Symantec Guest Blog 2


Those of you who know me well know that I’m a face-to-face kind of guy. I’m on the road more than half the year, and nothing makes me happier than meeting with Symantec partners in the field. So, when it came to social media, I immediately figured it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until I experienced social media in a business context that I was able to see its value. But I’ve also discovered some risks as well.

These days, I’m using SFDC Chatter to communicate with my team. I’m also getting the hang of blogging here and on Symantec’s partner community blog. So while I still believe there’s no substitute for face time in some situations, I have changed my opinion about the benefits of social media as a business tool.

I’m obviously not alone. Businesses everywhere are creating Facebook pages and using other forms of social media such as Twitter to engage their partners, customers and industry influencers. In turn, our partners are continually trying to find ways to help their customers navigate through the issues social media has brought with it. Everything from privacy to compliance to archiving and eDiscovery issues takes center stage when users are accessing their social media accounts for not only business purposes, but also for personal purposes.

Symantec recently confirmed the widespread use of social media by businesses in a survey of more than 1,200 companies worldwide. Forty-two percent of respondents use tools such as forums, social networks and blogs in their business.

Understanding the Risks

Unfortunately for data security, employee use of social media blurs the lines between business and personal information, raising the risk of confidential information accidentally being made public. According to our social media survey, 25 percent of respondents in the past year lost revenue due to social media incidents, while 27 percent reported a loss of their organization’s data.

You may be asking yourself why you should care about these numbers. Clearly your customers are using social media, and many of them are not feeling too secure about it. Rather than banning social media, 80 percent of the survey respondents are beginning to develop and implement social media usage policies, employee training, data loss protection and the collection/archiving of sensitive information.

Opportunities for Partners

This is a great opportunity for VARs to provide guidance and recommendations to their customers on what information they should be archiving in case of eDiscovery litigation. According to Gartner, the eDiscovery software market is growing at a compounded annual rate of 14 percent and is estimated to reach $1.7 billion by 2014.

Storage and archiving concerns around social media also provide ample new business opportunities. If you’ve had success implementing data archiving solutions for your customers, you can now help them confidently store and manage their social media records. Customers need to know that Facebook posts or Tweets concerning business are considered business communications — just like emails — and must be stored and accessible in the event of a discovery order.

The following are Symantec tips that will be useful for partners as they help their customers navigate the social media landscape:

  • Leverage social media in your own business (if you don’t already), so you can learn its power

  • Plan for social media, because like all corporate communications, it needs a usage policy

  • Understand what regulatory or legal requirements might govern social media’s use

  • Implement archiving to retain corporate social media activity

  • Leverage a data loss-prevention solution to prevent disclosure of sensitive information

  • Use an eDiscovery solution to address litigation and regulatory requests

For someone who was a little reluctant to adopt social media at first, I’ve found out firsthand the importance of embracing and understanding the landscape. We need to keep moving forward, because if we don’t fill the needs of our customers regarding social media, someone else will.

Randy Cochran Symantec Channel Chief

Randy Cochran is VP of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship program. Read all of Cochran’s guest blogs here.

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