Mobile and social communications are now modus operandi for virtually all businesses in Australia and New Zealand, just as it is in the rest of the developed world. It is not uncommon to text colleagues, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders when doing business; and many organisations communicate with the public via Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn, and internally via social platforms. Millions of messages go back and forth every day via mobile and social just as they have done (and continue to do so) via email.
The office of the past was a room-full of filing cabinets storing carefully filed paper copies of letters, contracts and memos, etc, ready to be dug up and referenced whenever needed. Documents older than a certain date would then be archived in boxes for future reference in order to make room in the filing cabinets for the latest correspondence, which back then was always in paper form.
This same filing strategy has been applied to email. If you bring up the topic of email archiving you will find that most companies (especially the larger ones) understand the importance of storing email correspondence for future reference, and either already have an archiving system in place, or are well on their way to implementing one. But if you bring up the topic of archiving in relation to mobile and social, you will normally be met with a blank or apologetic stare from the company’s IT Manager.
Do you need to archive Mobile and Social communications?
Absolutely! In today’s day and age, mobile and social messaging are equally as valid as any other form of written communication and would need to be archived for exactly the same reasons. These include:
- Reviewing data in the event of a litigation case
- Data storage in order to free up ‘live’ servers
- Knowledge management
- End-user & IT productivity
Are there regulations for businesses stating that you must archive Mobile and Social communications?
In Australia and New Zealand there are no specific regulations around data storage of mobile and social messages, though the New Zealand government is currently exploring the feasibility of archiving social mediums. Despite there currently being no formal regulations in place, it would be unwise for any company to discount the importance of archiving these types of messages.
Regulatory requirements are on the rise while industry-specific and government compliance demands are always changing. You need to keep to speed on the latest developments and many organizations struggle to implement additional procedures, systems and transparency within their companies to adhere to changing regulatory requests, often at high trade-offs.
This is especially relevant as organisations embrace big data or the Internet of Things, mobile workforce. Data privacy laws should be a top-of-mind initiative which includes data reliability to regulations.
Whether there are regulations or not, data storage from these communication platforms is paramount, particularly in the government, health, financial and insurance sectors where litigious situations are more common. When a company is involved in a legal case, whether it needs to defend itself or whether it is the accusing party, it needs to be able to provide evidence to support its case. In today’s day and age, it is very likely that some of the required evidence is in the form of mobile and/or social communication, so not adequately storing this type of data would be disadvantageous.
The Business Perspective
Social media and mobile communication, when managed properly is a huge boon for the organisation. Social media can create a business bond with employees, partners, customers and suppliers in any organisation. The business benefits are often linked to effective decision-making, better customer satisfaction and improved employee efficiency.
But most companies lack the detailed and thorough social media policies they need. Still not convinced? Let’s take a look at any local police force.
It’s common practice for the police to post about missing persons or suspicious characters on Facebook or Twitter and request information from the public. People share and re-share these posts and their page gets flooded with responses and feedback. This public interaction and engagement is now instrumental in assisting to solve cases. So would you ever discard any of this communication? The answer is obviously ‘no’. Archiving, and being able to retrieve all public communication as required, is crucial.
eDiscovery is king!
You would be mistaken for thinking that the main reason for archiving is to store away information just in case it is needed as evidence. That is definitely an important consideration, but archiving is so much more than that. It is also a long-term strategy for managing your data so that it can be used as a knowledge base, and that includes mobile and social data. For example, via mobile and social messaging we send useful links to each other, recommend colleagues, suppliers, etc; we also confirm information and even transact. While it may not seem like a very business-like or official way to relay important information, we are drawn to using our mobile, in particular, for business purposes because it is a quick and efficient way of communicating.
Users are dictating how data is transmitted and IT needs to put the internal infrastructure in place to effectively store this data and enable users to retrieve it when required. Digital archiving is only as good as the retrieval tool that a company uses. It is futile archiving something if you cannot find it later on.
Being able to effectively retrieve data is known as eDiscovery and if you’re looking for a list of features when purchasing an archiving tool, that is probably your number one consideration because without it, data storage is useless.
Retain – for Email, Social and Mobile
There are numerous archiving products on the market that include eDiscovery tools. But they are not all equal so be careful what you purchase.
One of the best on the market is Retain, developed by GWAVA. Retain provides multi-platform unified message archiving of all email, social media, and mobile communication data for case assessment, search, and eDiscovery.
The word ‘unified’ is the key here. All data gets stored in one location and that makes retrieval much more effective. Retain’s eDiscovery tool is accessible by end users who can easily print, forward, save, redact, and export information. You can find out more about Retain here.
Embrace the new ways of communicating!
Mobile and social communications have definitely broken the confines of the ‘personal’ and made their way into the realms of the business world so they need to be viewed and treated in the same way as we would email communication. Archiving information from these platforms is an important step and will enable your company to mitigate risk, and through eDiscovery it will also increase productivity for both IT administrators and end users.
Request your complimentary demo today….