I was approached late last year by ARMA to write an article for their Information Management publication. During a lapse of good judgment I suggested that a topic that everyone is interested in but no one is talking about is how to apply compliance controls to ‘semi-structured data’. Semi-structured data being those things like Blogs, Wikis, activity feeds, calendar items, etc. that are stored as structured data but look very similar to unstructured data when being consumed.
Managing Social Data:
Is SharePoint the Answer?
Records management (RM) professionals have been challenged to manage electronic data for some time. Their efforts have tended to focus on unstructured data, such as documents, scanned images, and spreadsheets. Recently, structured data held in databases has also come under close scrutiny, especially during discovery. However, there is a third category of data that tends to be overlooked. Read on for more or download the PDF version
Although users of all semi-structured data providers need to take heed, I pointed out that SharePoint was an opportunity for companies to look at a single point to apply these controls. If you are using SharePoint for all of your ‘Web 2.0’-type content then why not look to SharePoint to apply the compliance controls that you need.
Interestingly, when I was 80% of the way through writing the document I reached the conclusion that all I was going to provide you my dear readers was the bad news; I was not unearthing much in the way of solutions to these issues. Luckily, I was able to get some time from some of the SharePoint product team and they were able to add some of the color around the capabilities of SharePoint 2010 - thanks to all concerned. I’d also like to thank the team from Gimmal who provided some of the use cases and real-life background data.
The article is long…maybe too long but it should be worth a read if you care about SharePoint, compliance or have chronic insomnia. This is a topic which will only get worse before we catch up...
Note: My email address is quoted incorrectly in the magazine, it is actually firstname.lastname@example.org (with an underscore not a period). My fault not ARMA's.