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Symantec Finds Enterprises That Are Not Preserving Social Networking Business Content Risk Increased Litigation Costs and Company Reputation

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – July 21, 2011 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced the findings of its 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll which examined how organizations protect themselves from negative consequences of using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and other online forums. The poll revealed that social media is pervasive within the enterprise, and IT departments have good reason to be worried. The typical enterprise experienced nine social media incidents, such as employees posting confidential information publicly over the past year, with 94 percent suffering negative consequences including damage to their reputations, loss of customer trust, data loss and lost revenue.


Click to Tweet: Social media incidents cost typical company $4 million over past 12 months: http://bit.ly/rcSgot


As organizations increasingly share business related information on social networks to communicate with customers, partners and employees, the risk of publishing confidential information also increases. It’s more important than ever for companies to have controls in place to capture social information to comply with open records requests, industry regulations such as the supervision requirements under the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 10-06 amendments, and the eventuality of an eDiscovery request.


According to Gartner1 “by year-end 2013, 50 percent of all companies will have been asked to produce material from social media websites for eDiscovery.” An archiving software solution can help organizations permit employees to use social media for business purposes and enable the preservation, search and discovery of specific content from tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SharePoint and blogs.


"Businesses know how important it is to protect and preserve email, IM, spreadsheets and other unstructured information. Now they need to recognize that information flowing through social networks is equally important," said Greg Muscarella, senior director of product management for Symantec's Information Management Group. "Symantec enables businesses to continue to access and share information through social networks while capturing and preserving the information for legal and compliance purposes."


The Symantec survey found 82 percent of enterprises are at least discussing implementing archiving solutions to collect, preserve and discover sensitive business information transmitted through social media, along with other measures such as establishing social media usage policies and employee training programs. However, less than one-fourth have actually implemented any of those technologies and policies.


The survey found the top three social media incidents the typical enterprise experienced over the last year were:

  • employees sharing too much information in public forums (46 percent),
  • the loss or exposure of confidential information (41%),
  • increased exposure to litigation (37%)

More than 90 percent of respondents who experienced a social media incident also suffered negative consequences as a result, including:

  • reduced stock price (average cost: $1,038,401 USD)
  • litigation costs (average cost: $650,361 USD)
  • direct financial costs (average cost: $641,993 USD)
  • damaged brand reputation/loss of customer trust (average cost: $638,496 USD)
  • lost revenue (average cost: $619,360 USD)

“This is precisely why we added the capability in Enterprise Vault 10 which will be available later this summer and will enable organizations to preserve, search and discover information on social networking sites, in addition to email and other unstructured data,” added Muscarella. “Employee education and training on the proper use of social media for business purposes is just as important as having the technology pieces in place.”


Symantec Recommendations

  • Like all corporate communications, define how to use social media and train employees regarding appropriate content to post
  • Identify and understand legal or regulatory requirements specific to your industry, and implement policies to address regulations that call for retention of social media content  
  • Consider deploying an archiving solution that enables the automatic capture and retention of social media content, especially if your industry is highly regulated
  • Implement a data loss prevention solution to provide another layer of protection to prevent confidential and proprietary information from bleeding out of the company onto social networks

Symantec’s Social Media Protection Flash Poll

Symantec’s Social Media Protection Flash Poll is the result of research conducted in April 2011 by Applied Research, which surveyed IT and C-level professionals responsible for computers, networks and technology resources at small, medium, and large enterprises (defined as 1,000-2,400, 2,500-4,999, and 5,000+ employees). The report was designed to gauge how organizations protect themselves from negative consequences of using social media. The survey included 1,225 respondents in 33 countries in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific, and Latin America.


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About Symantec

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.


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Forward-looking Statements: Any forward-looking indication of plans for products is preliminary and all future release dates are tentative and are subject to change. Any future release of the product or planned modifications to product capability, functionality, or feature are subject to ongoing evaluation by Symantec, and may or may not be implemented and should not be considered firm commitments by Symantec and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.


1 "Gartner, Inc., Social Media Governance: An Ounce of Prevention," Debra Logan, Gartner, December 17, 2010

TECHNORATI TAGS: Symantec, archiving, eDiscovery, Enterprise Vault, social networks, FINRA