Why is Social Networking Use Relevant in Considering Electronic Discovery?
Data Growth and Enterprise Risk(1)
When you think of the drivers accelerating the amount of information being created and replicated in the Digital Universe, you may think of the financial databases of Wall Street, the acres of servers operating at giant Internet service providers, or the storage devices supporting 100 million enterprises in the world. However, more than 70% of the Digital Universe this year will be generated by end users – both in and out of the workplace.
Of this user-generated content – estimated to be approximately 880 billion gigabytes – about two-thirds of it is considered “enterprise touch”. This “enterprise touch” content is user generated content for which enterprises are responsible. Enterprises are responsible because this user-generated content passes through the servers, network, or routers of an enterprise at some point. When it does, the enterprise is responsible at that moment for managing that content, protecting user privacy, watching over account information, and protecting copyright.
The Growth of Social Networking (2)
In further looking at the growth of and responsibility for user generated content, it is important to note that while email appears to be the primary communications tool in most enterprise environments, when one considers the fact that the number of worldwide users of social networking surpassed users of email in July of 2009 (Figure 1), it seems to reason that legal professionals considering enterprise communications in their electronic discovery audits, investigations, and litigation should, if they have not already, begin to view social networking based communications in the same way they consider email communications.
Figure 1 – Communications: Social Networking and Email Usage
(1) IDC iView: The Digital Universe – Are Your Ready, dated May 2010.
(2) Morgan Stanley Presentation: Internet Trends, dated April, 2010.