Implications of Social Media in Regulated Industries

Author: Luis Benitez
Published: July 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

A lot of companies are going through the process now to become a social business. While some of the companies that I have talked to have security and compliance as one of their top of mind issues, it still doesn't feel like the majority of companies are thinking about this.

Many have captured the benefits of social media in the enterprise. In my opinion, the benefits are undeniable and I feel that a lot of companies are going to deploy some sort of social media solution in their enterprise if they haven't yet. In fact, IDC reports that social software in the enterprise had a 32% growth in 2010 (you can download for free here.

As with any collaboration too, regulated companies also see social media as a risk. For example, organizations in financial services, energy, healthcare, or government are subject to regulations such as FINRA, SOX, FERC, NERC, HIPAA, and FRCP to name a few. These regulations are defined by government and industry regulatory agencies and apply to communications via email, instant messaging and now social collaboration.

In Financial Services, for example, you want to prevent insider trading and avoid someone using microblogs or status updates where a broker may say "special rates, guarantee a 200% increase". In Healthcare, patient confidentiality is extremely important and it wouldn't be good if someone wrote in a wiki "Joe Smith is being treated for early coronary artery disease". I think you get the idea.

So what's a company to do? Certainly, not using social collaboration is not an option. Social software vendors are starting to offer solutions to help companies feel comfortable about social media. For example, as WebProNews reports, IBM recently announced their partnership with Actiance to provide a complete governance and eDiscovery solution for IBM Connections.

WebProNews recently interviewed my colleague René Schimmer to talk about these issues and I've included the video interview here:

Actiance has also created a really good presentation that I wanted to share with you along this topic: 10 Must Have Tips for Security, Productivity and Compliance of Social Collaboration.


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Article Author: Luis Benitez

I am a Social Software Product Manager at IBM and a Social Business/Enterprise 2.0 enthusiast who simply loves the whole concept of innovating. I help companies understand and implement Enterprise 2.0/Social Business solutions, specifically IBM Connections, all over the world. …

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