eDiscovery is now an essential tool in all businesses. It allows you to locate, access, search and produce electronic data for litigation, audits or records requests, but if you aren’t doing it right, it is pointless. One essential piece to every organization’s eDiscovery strategy is something many ignore…archiving email.
Despite the growth of social media–and mobile communication, like text messaging–as popular ways to communicate, even at work, email continues to be the dominate communication system. According to the Radicati Group, email usage continues to grow: “In 2017, the number of worldwide email users will top 3.7 billion. By the end of 2021, the number of worldwide email users will be over 4.1 billion. Approximately half of the worldwide population uses email in 2017”. Furthermore, Radicati found that in 2017 there will be 120 Billion business emails sent per day and by 2019 there will be roughly 130 Billion, at a growth of about 3% per year.This shows that email is still critical to your business success, and will continue to be for years to come. That leads us to the main point of this post;since email is here to stay and is critical for your organization, what do you do with all of that email? How do you manage your email data? How do you have oversight on email? And what about eDiscovery? How do you perform eDiscovery and sift through your organization’s email?
What is eDiscovery?
Electronic discovery (also called e-discovery or eDiscovery) is a process where electronic data (including email) is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case. eDiscovery is generally used for litigation, however, it can be used for audits, internal investigations, regulatory compliance, or other situations where information is sought.
To better help you understand eDiscovery, the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) was developed in May 2006. It was created in response to the relatively few standards and lack of generally accepted guidelines for the process of eDiscovery that existed prior to its development. This model will help you ensure that you have good eDiscovery practices.
No matter what email system you run, whether it is Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Gmail, IBM Notes, or Micro Focus GroupWise, you need to be able to access all business email communication. This includes internal email, email to customers, vendors, partners, stakeholders, and a myriad of others. However, all email systems have an inherent flaw. There is no central access to all email. Email can be spread throughout your organization, whether that is on email servers, or saved on a user’s desktop or laptop as a PST or personal archive. In other words, email systems do not give you a way to perform eDiscovery. If you are ever involved in litigation, or a regulatory audit, performing eDiscovery, just by relying on your email system, is difficult at best and may be impossible. And, as shown in a recent Osterman Research study, the ability to perform eDiscovery on email is nearly as important as the ability to satisfy regulatory data retention obligations and the ability to manage email storage more effectively.
From that same survey, even though most viewed eDiscovery as important, many are not prepared.
As you can see, most agree that it is imperative that you are able to perform eDiscovery for your business email.
Email Archiving Can Help with eDiscovery
Email archiving is an important part of eDiscovery and a good email archiving solution will provide you with the tools to easily and accurately perform eDiscovery. The EDRM (as referenced in the diagram above), shows that collection, preservation, processing, review, analysis, production, and presentation are all essential elements to eDiscovery. Email archiving can assist with all of those elements. And email archiving has other benefits, apart from eDiscovery, including reducing storage on your “live” email servers, increasing IT and end user productivity, and enabling regulatory compliance. In fact, there is a great blog post about the benefits of archiving and the top reasons to archive email. Check out: “Email Archiving Benefits: Top 5 Reasons to Archive Email”
How Email Archiving Helps with eDiscovery
So how does an email archiving solution help with eDiscovery? A good email archiving solution will store all email in one central location (collection, preservation, and processing). Not only that, but it will store all email, attachments, appointments, calendar items, tasks, and folders. In other words, all email information that you need for eDiscovery is in your email archive, all you have to do is get that data out. There are many tools on the market to help you perform eDiscovery on your email archive, such as Micro Focus eDiscovery. And there are even email archiving solutions, like Micro Focus Retain, that give you built-in eDiscovery tools.
How to Perform eDiscovery on Your Email System
The key to successful email eDiscovery is that you can locate, access, and search all of your archived email data from one central archive (review, analysis, and production). The data needs to be easy to access and your searches need to be fast. You don’t want to be in a situation where it takes days or months to access your data, nor do you want to rely on an outside party to perform eDiscovery for you. eDiscovery tools need to allow you to search the entire email archive based on keywords, sender, recipient, domain, mailbox, user, REGEX terms, attachment name, message content, date range, tags, and other item types. A good set of eDiscovery tools will allow you to create tags for email messages and search those tags. eDiscovery tools have to allow you to export data to common formats, such as PST or PDF (production and presentation). And, of course, to be able to have complete eDiscovery, you need to be able to redact information that should not be part of the discovery request, such as personal, sensitive or private information (presentation).
The Solution to Email eDiscovery
Micro Focus offers a solution with built-in eDiscovery tools called Retain. Retain includes built-in eDiscovery tools, at no additional cost. These tools allow organizations to easily place litigation holds, print, forward, save, redact, strikeout, and export message data. Retain exports data to PST, PDF or stand-alone portable archive viewer formats. The portable archive is fully indexed, searchable, and includes a table of contents for quick browsing. Specific named users can be given rights-based access to the entire archive (administrators, managers, human resources, legal teams, etc.), and end-users can access their personal archive to browse, forward, and restore archived items.
Micro Focus also offers a complete eDiscovery solution, Micro Focus eDiscovery. This solution is the industry’s most complete solution for responding to legal matters and investigations. With a wide range of features built into a single electronic discovery software application—including data processing, ECA, clustering, visual analytics, and Technology Assisted Review—you can perform tasks from identification through production, without the added risk and cost of switching applications at various EDRM stages.
Start performing eDiscovery today! If you need an archiving solution that includes eDiscovery, be sure to check out RetainIf you need to perform eDiscovery on your current archive, take a look at Micro Focus eDiscovery
Download the Osterman Research Whitepaper “Key Issues in eDiscovery”
And be sure to read these other great blog posts about eDiscovery: