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How to do eDiscovery in Yammer (Microsoft Viva Engage)

by Aware

Yammer, founded in 2008 and acquired by Microsoft in 2012, is one of the earliest digital collaboration tools to enjoy widespread adoption in the workplace. As an enterprise social network, Yammer provides a powerful solution for organizations to connect virtually, promoting a healthy company culture in distributed teams. However, it’s important for employers to stay on top of sensitive workplace conversations that may be happening in Yammer and be able to meet legal and regulatory obligations to preserve, present, and investigate the data it contains if required. In this post, we explore the challenges of performing eDiscovery in Yammer and the solutions available to enable it.

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Learn more about how Aware enables eDiscovery in Yammer

Contents

What is Yammer?

Yammer is an enterprise social network that employees use to communicate and collaborate in a secure environment. It allows users to create groups, share information, and engage in discussions related to any subject, from work projects to hobbies and personal interests. Yammer delivers a platform for employees to connect with colleagues across departments, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas while providing a “digital water cooler” where they can chat throughout the day.

Is Yammer the same as Microsoft Viva Engage?

Microsoft incorporated Yammer into its Viva employee experience platform and from early 2023 Yammer was rebranded as Microsoft Viva Engage. Microsoft confirmed that this change is a branding decision with no changes affecting the features or functionality of Yammer/Viva Engage. Existing Yammer users are therefore able to transition seamlessly to Viva Engage without any less of service.

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Read More: 5 Adoption Strategies for a Thriving Yammer Network

What is eDiscovery?

eDiscovery is the process of responding to legal requests and investigatory needs by identifying, preserving, and producing relevant electronic information from datasets such as emails, documents, and collaboration messages. It’s essential for businesses to effectively access a complete record of all electronic messages and documents and be able to search that record to produce relevant results in a timely fashion in order to avoid excessive costs or delays when it comes to performing eDiscovery.

Is eDiscovery possible in Yammer?

Microsoft Viva (and therefore Yammer/Viva Engage) is part of the Office 365 suite of tools and applications. As such, it offers a range of administrative tools to protect the data it generates. However, Viva Engage Basics has limited security functionality and the majority of tools require enterprise-grade licenses, which can be cost-prohibitive for small businesses.

What are Microsoft E3 and E5 licenses?

Microsoft offers different licensing plans that provide various levels of features and functionality. The E3 and E5 enterprise-grade licenses are the top choices for businesses seeking to secure their data across Microsoft’s entire application suite.

Both licenses include Office apps, Onedrive storage, collaboration tools Teams and Yammer, and Azure Active Direction (Azure AD) integrations. Note that Azure AD is being rebranded as Microsoft Entra ID, with the same capabilities and licenses.

In addition, both E3 and E5 licenses offer compliance, governance, and data loss prevention (DLP) features such as in-place hold and archiving. However, to conduct eDiscovery natively within Yammer requires an E5 license, as this module is not included with E3.

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Read More: How Does Aware's Yammer Retention Tool Help With Regulatory Compliance?

5 challenges of doing eDiscovery in Yammer

Beyond the necessity of investing in an E5 license, there are other challenges to performing eDiscovery in Yammer. Some of the top difficulties organizations face include:

  1. Volume of Data: Collaboration tool users send around 30 messages per day in tools such as Yammer. In a workforce of thousands, this can result in millions of messages each month, spread across public and private groups and direct messages. Conducting eDiscovery within this dataset is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
  2. Lack of Context: Even when investigators do surface relevant messages, understanding the context in which it was created can be a challenge all of its own. Yammer users can begin conversations in public communities and continue them in DMs, for example, making it difficult for an investigator to understand the full context of what was said.
  3. Conflicting Retention Policies: An important aspect of cybersecurity is using consistent retention policies to purge and preserve messages on a regular schedule. This can impact eDiscovery if relevant messages are not preserved. Therefore, it is important to pair retention policies with a tool that can override those rules and hold data when necessary.
  4. User Data Privacy: While the messages shared within a workplace Yammer environment typically belong to the organization, the user right to privacy is still protected by various laws and regulations. It is essential that these rights are considered when handling data during eDiscovery investigations to reduce the risk of accidental disclosure.
  5. Cross-Platform Integration: Yammer is rarely the only collaboration tool in use across the enterprise, and digital conversations can flow seamlessly between them. For an eDiscovery solution to be effective, it must be able to search for information in all the places where employees communicate.

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How Aware supports eDiscovery for Yammer

Aware provides comprehensive cybersecurity and information governance capabilities for workstream collaboration tools, including eDiscovery for Yammer. Aware holds Microsoft Gold Partner status, the highest level of partner certification Microsoft offers. As such, Aware is authorized by Microsoft to provide eDiscovery in Yammer.

Aware’s Yammer eDiscovery features include:

  • Automated data discovery
  • Complete contextual results
  • Advanced search logic and results filtering
  • Search by keyword, custodian, message type, timeframe, location, and more
  • Export to all major eDiscovery analysis tools

In addition, Aware supports eDiscovery across the entire tech stack, including Teams, Slack, Google Drive, and Zoom.

Aware IQ, the leading AI-powered platform for employee listening, was built specifically to understand the nuances of collaboration messages—short, chatty, informal—where traditional eDiscovery solutions fail to perform. Using proprietary natural language processing (NLP) AI technology, Aware normalizes results for each individual workplace, accelerating time-to-discovery and reducing false positives.

Using Aware, organizations can effortlessly perform eDiscovery in Yammer and other collaboration datasets from a single, centralized platform, improving efficiency and reducing costs associated with legal discovery.

Final thoughts

eDiscovery for Yammer can be challenging to implement effectively, but it isn’t impossible. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of each Office 365 license offering, as well as the scope of their internal collaboration ecosystem, businesses can make an informed decision about which products and services are the best solution for them to conduct efficient, cost-effective eDiscovery in Yammer and beyond.

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Protect your digital workplace with Aware for Yammer

Topics:Yammer/Viva EngageeDiscovery