Communications Archiving Emerges As MSP Opportunity

An organization’s data retention requirements encompasses not only e-mail but other forms of electronic communication such as IM and social media. MSPs may find opportunities here in the expanding scope of compliance duties. Here's why.

Recent recommendations (PDF download) from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), an independent regulator of security firms conducting business in the U.S., underscores this trend. FINRA’s guidance on blogs and social networking Web sites states that “every firm that intends to communicate, or permit its associated persons to communicate, through social media sites must first ensure that it can retain records of those communications” in accordance with Securities Exchange Act and NASD rules.

A few vendors now offer options for archiving social media and other forms of messaging. Some are cultivating channel allies. Dexrex Gear, which offers a cloud-based capture and archiving tool for IM, SMS, and social media, provides one example. The company partners resellers, e-mail service providers in particular.

John Wastcoat, vice president of global business development at Dexrex Gear, describes the Boston-based company’s offering as “a technology that compliments e-mail archiving with all forms of next-generation communications.” The product can play a role in a range of vertical markets, but Wastcoat said heavily regulated markets such as financial services are leading the way.

Dexrex Gear teams with companies that already offer an e-mail archiving solution and seek to broaden their services. The company’s roster of e-mail service provider partners include Perimeter E-Security, SECCAS, Sonian, and USA.net.

Other companies moving on the social media archiving trend include LiveOffice, which provides a software-as-a-service e-mail archiving solution. The company this week announced an partnership with Socialware, which provides social media policy enforcement and archiving products.  LiveOffice works with reseller partners.

In May, ZL Technologies Inc., which provides archiving and e-discovery software, rolled out social media archiving capabilities through the company’s integration of FaceTime’s Unified Security Gateway. ZL Technologies cited the FINRA guidance in its announcement. The company teams with resellers as well.

Smarsh also includes social media in its line of archiving solutions and this week announced the addition of SMS text message archiving. The company runs an alliance program for reseller and referral partners.

Retaining electronic records -- and a growing set of records at that -- is major chore  for a range of companies. The 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which set rules for a civil lawsuit’s discovery phase, really got things rolling when it made “electronically stored information” subject to discovery. The FINRA guidance is just a recent addition to regulations that expand an organization’s data management responsibilities.

That’s a pain point MSPs may be able to address. And with vendors willing to partner, MSPs have cloud, SaaS and appliance options to evaluate.

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