The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved new rules that could make it highly rewarding for whistleblowers and other corporate insiders to alert the agency to violations of federal securities laws.
Under the new rules, whistleblowers could receive up to 30% of the money they help the SEC collect through enforcement actions.
The SEC’s whistleblower program is certain to increase the amount of litigation surrounding alleged securities violations, legal experts say. Moreover, whistleblower enforcement actions are likely to be document intensive.
“The ability to respond in a timely manner to an internal whistleblower complaint or an external SEC investigation will undoubtedly require a robust document archive and review system,” says Philip Favro, a Discovery Attorney at Symantec.
The need for such a system is even more acute in light of today’s unprecedented information growth, which continues to challenge organizations to find effective ways to back up, manage, categorize, and discover their information, including social media.
Continue reading to learn how effective information governance can help companies better understand and control their information, decrease storage costs, and moderate litigation risks.
For many organizations, understanding and controlling their information has become more challenging lately due to the runaway popularity of social media. Posts to a company’s Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are considered business communications, and they need to be preserved according to the same industry-specific regulations governing the retention and discovery of emails, instant messages, and other electronic records.
The pervasiveness of social media in organizations has IT worried—and with good reason. According to Symantec’s recent 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll, social media incidents cost companies an average of more than $4 million over the past 12 months. Litigation costs played no small part of that amount.
The poll, which surveyed more than 1,200 upper-level IT professionals, also found that:
- Only 40% of social media use in organizations is approved for business purposes.
- The top IT security risks associated with social media/collaboration tools are employees sharing too much information in a public forum, loss or exposure of proprietary information, and damage to brand/reputation.
- The top IT issues cited are compliance with government regulations (45%), compliance with information retention policies (45%), and management of eDiscovery (37%).
- The typical organization experienced nine social media incidents over the last year.
- All of the organizations experienced consequences as a result of such incidents. The most common consequences were damaged brand reputation/loss of trust (28%); loss of organization, customer, or employee data (27%); and lost revenue (25%).
- Less than one-quarter of the organizations have implemented a social media policy, processes to capture confidential information, or technology to manage data.
Bottom line: Companies still have a lot of work to do when it comes to protecting themselves from the negative consequences of social media
According to Gartner Inc., putting an effective information governance strategy in place can help reduce the costs and risks associated with eDiscovery and social media. For example, Gartner estimates that companies without an information governance strategy and archiving solutions will spend approximately 33% more on eDiscovery. ¹
At the same time, recent court decisions have made it clear that the judiciary expects companies to implement effective information governance procedures. These decisions have also described how IT and legal teams can cooperate to design effective information governance protocols. In addition, they have emphasized the importance of deploying an archiving solution to ensure compliance with litigation requirements.
“What the courts are saying is that you need your information governance house in order,” says Symantec’s Favro.
Symantec recently acquired Clearwell Systems Inc. The combination of Symantec and Clearwell brings together the industry’s leading eDiscovery and archiving offerings to provide customers one of the most comprehensive information governance solutions available. The Clearwell eDiscovery solution complements and enhances the eDiscovery capabilities of Symantec Enterprise Vault for a more complete, end-to-end eDiscovery solution.
With the addition of Clearwell, Symantec will help customers:
- Reduce costs across all phases of information management and eDiscovery for litigation, investigations, and regulatory compliance;
- Reduce risk by improving the defensibility and repeatability of the information management and eDiscovery process;
- Streamline the end-to-end information management and eDiscovery lifecycle to meet court and regulatory deadlines;
- Start managing information and eDiscovery in as little as one day on-premise or in the cloud;
- Meet the enterprise-wide information management and eDiscovery needs for organizations ranging from less than 25 to more than one million users.
- Enterprise Vault provides the archiving platform that allows organizations to store, manage, and discover data from email systems, social media, .PST and .NSF files, file servers, SharePoint, instant messaging platforms, databases, and more. By leveraging Single Instance Storage and compression technologies, Enterprise Vault helps organizations reduce their data footprint by storing just one copy of a file or message, regardless of the number of times it occurs or where it is stored.
- Enterprise Vault’s Discovery Accelerator enables IT/Legal liaisons, investigators, lawyers, paralegals, and HR professionals to search, preserve, and review information across the organization from a single interface.
- With Compliance Accelerator, a configurable add-on solution to Enterprise Vault, companies can perform cost-effective supervisory review of email to help ensure compliance with corporate policy and regulatory bodies.
- The Clearwell eDiscovery Platform enables corporations and law firms to manage all of their legal, regulatory, and investigative matters with a single, easy-to-use application.
As information continues to grow at unprecedented rates, organizations are challenged to protect, manage, and back up that information as well as to categorize and discover it efficiently. Stricter regulatory requirements and the increased use of social media for business lend additional urgency to that challenge. Implementing effective information governance procedures—with Enterprise Vault and the Clearwell eDiscovery Platform —can help a company control its information, decrease storage costs, and moderate litigation risks.
- ¹ Cooperation Is Key for Managing E-Discovery in 2010,” Gartner, March 11. 2010