Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social Software Implications in Regulated Industries

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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.

Risks in Social Media

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.

Managing Risks in Social Media

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.

And building on that, IBM today announced new cloud-based collaboration services to help U.S. Federal government organizations reap the benefits of social computing. The new set of social collaboration services, delivered on IBM’s Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)-compliant Federal Community Cloud, addresses the administration's drive to adopt a "cloud-first" policy which is designed to help the government improve its overall IT efficiency and delivery of services to citizens. IBM's Federal Community Cloud is specifically designed to help federal government organizations respond to technology requirements more quickly. The secure, private cloud environment is part of IBM's established and dedicated Federal Data Center that provides secure and comprehensive certified computing capabilities to federal government clients.

From the press release:

“The rise in Big Data and the demand for transparency and collaboration will continue to put pressure on agencies to embrace new computing environments such as cloud to improve IT capabilities,” said Todd S. Ramsey, General Manager, IBM U.S. Federal. “IBM cloud collaboration solutions will help agencies gain faster access to the latest technologies, increase innovation across departments and ultimately improve citizen services.”

Get Social, But Don't Forget About Compliance

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

Social collaboration 10 must have tips for security, productivity and compliance
View more webinars from Unified Communications Online
So get on the social media bandwagon... but don't forget about compliance!!

Article first published as Implications of Social Media in Regulated Industries on Technorati.
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