Lack of social media archiving creates legal minefield

Through social media, businesses are creating vast amounts of uncontrolled content and risk legal action because of inadequate archiving and eDiscovery systems

Through social media, businesses are creating vast amounts of uncontrolled content and risk legal action because...

of inadequate archiving and eDiscovery systems.

Research from Osterman Research, commissioned by email and archiving managed service provider Bluesource, showed that only 6% of UK organisations archive social media content.

According to Forrester Research, most large organisations maintain at least 10 Facebook accounts, and many have more than 200. Also, 90% have a presence on Twitter.

Archiving is the process of moving inactive data from primary storage systems to systems and media more suited to long-term retention. The research revealed that only 20% of UK organisations could retain social media content in a way that could support them if legal action was taken against them in relation to it.

Michael Osterman, founder of Osterman Research, said: “Based on research I have conducted in the UK and US, it is clear that organisations need to take seriously the potential threat of their archiving systems not satisfying their eDiscovery or regulatory requirements.”

The research showed that about 60% consider their eDiscovery capabilities incomplete, despite the fact that 73% believe it is important to retain electronic business records for compliance and legal purposes.

Nick Hayes, security analyst at Forrester Research, told Computer Weekly sister title that social media also presents new challenges for organisations that are required to retain records of all business communications. 

“Social content doesn't remain static," he said. "Content creators can edit or delete posts after they are published, and other posters can comment and add to the discussion as well. Further complicating matters is determining what content is considered business communication and when that content should be captured and archived.”

Gavin Camilleri, managing director of Bluesource UK, said businesses need to improve their eDiscovery capabilities and archiving of social media content to best-practice levels. 

“We are working closely with a variety of organisations to help them gain more value and competitive advantage from their data while avoiding the risks of inadequate compliance with regulatory imperatives and the potential for legal claims,” he said.



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