2 types of unstructured data you didn’t know you could capture

June 17, 2015 by Jatheon

Capturing and archiving business data is vitally important, no matter the industry. There are many different areas of operation and scenarios where access to information from the past can either improve operations, restore business continuity or meet regulatory or legal needs. Effective, comprehensive policies for documentation, along with the right tools, can both protect businesses and provide opportunities to develop and grow.

Comprehensive is the operative term in this discussion. You probably know already about email archiving and how that type of unstructured data can be archived on the granular level. However, you may not be aware that many other types of information can be securely stored for later use if the need arises. Here is a look at two major types of business data that you didn’t know you could capture:

Social media data
Social media is increasingly important for businesses large and small. Companies are using it for outreach and marketing, and staff are sometimes using their personal accounts on Twitter, Facebook and many other networks while on company time. However, social media can also get individual organizations and entire companies into a lot of trouble. Everything from a tweet sent from a company account in anger to staff members harassing others on social media or posting about blatantly illegal activities could cause problems for a company. These are some of the most compelling reasons to implement an employee social media policy, but far from the only ones.

Despite social media’s existence in an ephemeral part of the Web, the tools exist to monitor what’s said by employees and through official company accounts. By taking an active stance in terms of social network use, companies can discourage the many types of disruptive behavior that is sometimes enabled. Businesses can also have stronger evidence and realize the potential to mitigate legal or regulatory issues as well. With social networking a common activity among individuals and for official company purposes, capturing and archiving what’s said on those sites is important.

“Collaborative platforms are taking the place of standard emails for collaborative projects.”

Collaboration tool data
Collaborative platforms like GChat and Skype are increasingly taking the place of standard emails for collaborative projects and everyday discussions inside businesses. It’s easy to see why, too. Collaborative systems offer a sense of immediacy and conversation that’s hard for email to match. Near-instantaneous communication facilitates problem-solving and quick clarifications of instructions, so it’s no surprise these conversational tools are popular.

However, they can also be used in ways that don’t mesh with company policy or the law. Harassment and discussion of inappropriate topics may occur. In another potentially troubling aspect, organizations may be called on to provide records of discussions staff had with these platforms during an audit or lawsuit.

Of course, it’s possible to capture this data and develop it into a granular, searchable database. Companies that can effectively gather and securely store email, social media, and collaborative tools data are protecting themselves if regulatory or legal should arise while also ensuring that important data isn’t lost to mass deletions or a lack of policy.

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