Is Social Media in Your Records Retention Policy?

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social media and records retention

Here's how your organization can benefit from the advantages of social media, while protecting against the risk of inappropriate content and over-retention.

2. Develop and/or update your social media policy. Based on a determination of the organization’s position on the use of social media, develop a policy that clearly defines roles, responsibilities and acceptable use of social media.

3. Assess the social media content. Next, study the types of content your organization creates and publishes on social media sites. Does the content constitute a business record in accordance with the information management policy of the organization? Do existing categories on the records-retention schedule apply to this content, or does the retention schedule need to be updated to reflect social media records?

4. Establish a retention schedule. If you need to update your retention schedule with social media records, determine the appropriate length of time for retention based on your business needs and regulatory requirements.

5. Identify a centralized repository for storing social media. When possible, make the repository searchable, and assign appropriate metadata to social media records to improve your ability to find pertinent evidence rapidly in the event of litigation or a regulatory action.

6. Educate employees on proper use and retention of social media. Your policy should define the proper use of company-related social media, and should also advise employees of their responsibilities for retaining social media evidence under your records-retention protocol and in the event of a legal hold.

7. Review your social media and retention policies annually. Add any new types of social media to the policies and keep employees informed of any changes or updates.

Following these steps to incorporate social media into a records-retention program will allow your organization to achieve the combined goals of compliance, reduced risk and cost, and operational efficiency.

Laurie Fischer is managing director of the Huron Legal Consulting Group, with expertise in designing, developing and implementing records and information management programs for organizations. She is also a Certified Records Manager.

This article was originally published on 2013-08-14
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