Socialite service keeps an eye on your social networks

An on-premise software for managing social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is now being offered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) for those enterprises concerned about e-discovery and records retention for content created by remote workers.

Socialite, developed by Belmont, Calif.-based Web 2.0 management technology vendor FaceTime Communications Inc., is the SaaS version of on-premise software Unified Security Gateway.

Socialite can by used by marketing departments, for instance, within companies that have strict requirements about information posted on social networks and keeping a record of those postings, said Carter.

Besides logging and archiving content shared on social media sites, Socialite also provides controls for what can and cannot be posted. “It prevents the capability of someone sharing the phrase ‘My Secret Project’ in their LinkedIn status inadvertently,” said Sarah Carter, chief strategy officer at FaceTime.Nominate someone you work with for a ComputerWorld Canada IT Leadership Award

The Socialite service allows IT administrators to set roaming policies for remote workers “so you can control any of the managed machines that might be utilized by the road warriors of the world,” said Carter.

There has definitely been an uptick in enterprises accepting and enabling employees’ use of social media on the job, noted Carter. In some industries such as financial services, such controls are particularly important, she added.

Indianapolis, Indiana-based truck dealer Stoops Freightliner has been using the on-premise Unified Security Gateway for about a year to manage the use of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter on the corporate network.

“The business units needed to explore Web 2.0 type of environments for marketing the customers,” said Mark Nelson, IT manager with Stoops Freightliner.

Historically, the company has banned the use of such networking sites, allowing employees access only at a standalone computer hub set up solely for that purpose.

An online presence is important for the truck dealership which also launched a new Web site at the same time as adopting the technology from FaceTime. Nelson said the company’s corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts have since grown now that social media is a concrete part of the marketing strategy.

“Because they are gone all time, every truck driver has a laptop. It’s just amazing how online they are all the time,” said Nelson.

Although Nelson can’t yet say whether Stoops Freightliner will use the Socialite service, he does think having the option to not deploy the software on-premise caters to a broad range of customers.

“Especially if you already have a Web content control in place and all you really want to do is try to manage Web 2.0, you don’t have to replace your whole infrastructure to do that,” said Nelson.

Offering a SaaS version of the software is driven by heavily regulated industries like financial services, as well as some large enterprises’ desire to easily use the software across select departments, said Carter.

“We’re helping folks get some visibility … and when they work out what their users are doing they can put a policy and controls in place at that point,” said Carter.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau

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