A Peek at an Answer as to What to do about the Dangers of Incorporating Social Media into UC and the Contact Center

My last blog touched upon legal issues in UC and speech technologies by addressing patent trolls and what can be done about them. Here is another little legal nugget, rising up within UC which merits some attention as well, and that is, what to do about compliance issues, privacy and all those other things, that sometimes fall by the wayside when employees use social media applications.

It is pretty evident that companies are jumping on the bandwagon of social media, and investigating, planning, developing or deploying social media within their unified communications and contact center applications. Voxeo, Avaya, Siemens, Cisco, Genesys….. The list is getting longer and longer. The issue is that if we thought we had problems with just pure instant messaging working its way into corporate life unattended, well, well, well, think about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other of the dozens of applications popping up.

Below are excerpts of a press release from Autonomy this week that tackles this issue head on, so I wanted to post it here since the announcement is one of only a few that seems to deal with the legal aspects of incorporating social media into the enterprise, rather than just the fun and business use side. Autonomy announced the availability of Autonomy Social Media Governance, what Autonomy claims is the industry’s first solution designed to monitor, govern, and protect organizations across social media channels. Social Media Governance enables businesses to maintain compliance with new regulatory requirements for employees engaging on social media sites.

The May 26th press release said:

“Rapid adoption of social media by employees, customers, advertisers, bloggers, and news organizations presents unique challenges to many organizations. Regulators recognize the influence and risks associated with these channels, and are starting to require organizations to actively monitor and govern employees’ social media interactions. For instance, FINRA (The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) recently issued FINRA Regulatory Notice 10-06, which requires member firms to supervise and archive content posted to social media for business purposes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the National Futures Association (NFA) are also developing rules associated with the use of social media.

New regulatory requirements around social media add to the already burdensome task of adhering to current law for organizations – which requires that corporations archive, set policy, and make discoverable many forms of electronic information, including email, audio, and video.”

“Social media represents an extremely important new channel for businesses to develop engaging and profitable relationships with their customers. However, it is not without its risks, and for a business to leverage social media legally and profitably, corporations need to establish a comprehensive strategy to govern social media interaction.

For instance, a business could face regulatory issues if a bank employee marketed or misrepresented the value of a potential investment on social networks. Likewise, if an employee defamed another fellow employee, or a client, on a social site, this could raise legal issues for the company. Also, a pharmaceutical company could run into litigation issues if an employee denigrated a product on a social site that the company is actively promoting with advertising on traditional channels.”

Those are some good examples of the risks. What Autonomy provides is a platform that does what they call ‘meaning based computing’ which is recognizing patterns and relationships in unstructured information. They combine this with the company’s archiving, policy management, supervision, and analytics technologies. The result is that Autonomy Social Media Governance automatically identifies content and conversations on social networks, and allows a corporation to tie the information directly into a company’s existing compliance infrastructure.  All of this can be stored in Autonomy Digital Safe; a hosted archive service that enables corporations to outsource the storage and management of email messages, rich-media files, audio and video files, instant messages, and web content. According to the press release, the Social Media Governance product includes:

  • Connectors and aggregation of thousands of relevant news feeds, blogs, and social media sites. Autonomy Social Media Governance can monitor social media content from employees logged in through company networks, as well as identify discussion from users operating outside company networks.
  • Conceptual search of all aggregated content
  • Policy-based monitoring
  • Compliant archiving for regulated content
  • Advanced analytics such as clustering and visualization tools
  • Escalation and workflow management
  • Reporting and trend analysis
  • Executive dashboards

This is a great start to a knotty and growing issue that isn’t as fun to talk about as the benefits of incorporating social media into the contact center and UC.

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