If you think you can ignore the social networking and social media content created by your organization in your storage plans, you’d better think about that again. Sure, there’s plenty of noise being generated at places like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but social networks are also being used to market brands, contact clients, recruit personnel and advertise products.
“Because this content often contains business records it must be retained sometimes for long periods of time just like other business records that might be found in email or electronic files,” opined Osterman Research, of Black Diamond, Wash., in its recent white paper The Need to Archive Social Networking Content.
If nothing else, the report reasoned, social network and social media content should be preserved for legal reasons. “Posts to social networking sites are becoming the primary reason that some lawsuits are initiated, meaning that e-discovery for this content will become more important,” it noted.
Storage managers need to recognize that the legal requirements for preserving Electronically Stored Information (ESI) do not parse hairs over how ESI is created, received or stored. “The growing use of LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking tools in a corporate environment means that business records inevitably will be sent and stored in these tools,” Osterman explained.
The idea of another data burden—and a difficult one at that—being loaded onto the shoulders of already overburdened IT departments won’t elicit smiles on the faces of administrators, the report conceded. “Adding the additional challenge of dealing with social networking data that is held completely outside of the corporate firewall presents a new and very unwelcome challenge for most IT decision makers,” it understated.
But there may be a silver lining inside this storm cloud hovering over IT departments, it contended. “The mere act of archiving content,” it argued, “can help an organization’s employees to improve their behavior when using social networking tools, leading to reduced risk of damaging an organization’s reputation or brand, as well as reduced risk of direct or indirect financial loss.”