Organizations should expect to face litigation and discovery requests as a normal part of doing business. When these requests arrive, companies are faced with the complicated, time intensive, and expensive task of extracting information from the depths of company records. The fact that the majority of these business records are now in electronic form has led to the terminology shift from “Discovery” to “eDiscovery”, one of the hottest topics in business today.
In discovery, organizations had to dive deep into the company cabinets, closets, and storage rooms searching for key information. Discovery teams relied heavily on keeping paperwork organized because, if they didn’t, looking for a letter from years back (amongst thousands of others) would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Companies who painstakingly preserved and organized their information found discovery to be simpler and less costly than those who didn’t.
‘Electronic discovery (e-discovery) describes any process where electronic data is sought, secured, located, explored, and retrieved with intended use as evidence in a civil or criminal case. Electronic discovery may be performed offline on an individual computer or in a computer network’ – Techopedia
eDiscovery embodies these same characteristics. Organization plays an even stronger role here, due to the vast amounts of electronic information that companies have in their databases. If the information is complete and stored in a central, searchable archive, the task is easier than ever. If it is spread across multiple data sources without eDiscovery tools, the task can be near impossible. For example, a company that uses a mix of Exchange and Groupwise servers and separate archives on each would find themselves doing double the work in eDiscovery situations. Having this data stored in different formats (such as PSTs) would further complicate the process. Fundamentally, the difference between companies which are successful in eDiscovery and those that aren’t comes down to the company’s preparation before the eDiscovery request arrives and, then, their procedures once it does.
When an eDiscovery request arrives, the time for preparation is over. Even an organization with the most complete archives will fail in eDiscovery if they can’t effectively extract critical information from that archive.
Micro Focus ⓇRetain™ Unified Archiving helps you master the eDiscovery process from start to finish. Read on to learn more about three common eDiscovery hangups, and how to overcome them!
1) Missing Data
Data storage is the front end of the eDiscovery process-and the most important. Companies that lack a comprehensive data archiving system are extremely vulnerable in any eDiscovery situation. A standard established in the landmark case Zubulake v. UBS Warburg, now called the Zubulake Standard, explains: “A party has a duty to preserve all evidence, including electronically stored information (‘ESI’), that it knows, or should know, is relevant to any present or future litigation.”
Today’s legal environment has no mercy for violators in this area. The standard is clear: Any electronic business communication that could be used in litigation situations must be archived. An update to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in December of 2015 added rule 37(e), which clarifies that organizations should “… become familiar with their clients’ information systems and digital data – including social media – to address these issues.” This adds clarity to the law and specifies that social media data is equally as important as mobile and email, which also must be archived. There is no excuse or reason to risk noncompliance here! Start archiving all email, mobile, and social media data today. Trust us, it will pay off the first time that litigation arrives at your doorstep.
Retain allows end users to quickly create a secure account, upload data, and start using our web based eDiscovery solution without complex deployment or extensive commitment. The solution also offers single instance storage, a key feature that reduces stress on server storage space – and is not offered on Office 365 and Exchange archiving solutions. Additionally, multi-platform support conveniently stores dozens of different types of communications (such as social media, emails, text messages, etc.) in one secure location.
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2) Poor Information Accessibility
Information archives come in all different kinds, shapes, and sizes. They are comparable to closets: Some closets are organized and cleaned down to the slightest details (and most likely contain around 100 pairs of shoes). Others are like the closet under the stairs;dirty, dusty, and disorganized. Retrieving anything from those closets is a dreaded task.
What’s the difference between an old dusty archive and a pristine, organized archive? Tools. Archives are monstrous sources of data, sometimes containing decades of emails and other communications. Without the proper search tools, extracting anything of use from the archive will either be a behemoth task or an impossible one.
Retain offers a wealth of eDiscovery tools that make all the difference. OBSERV advanced data mining capabilities allow users to investigate in depth and quickly understand archived data. That archived data can then be searched with powerful eDiscovery tools inside Retain’s easy to use, browser-based interface.
Once desired information is found, Retain ensures that it can be used effectively in litigation. Complete export functionality is offered; the files can be exported into either PST, PDF or stand-alone archive viewer formats. The exported files are fully indexed, searchable, and include a table of contents for quick browsing.
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3) Protection of Sensitive Information
The eDiscovery process is tricky because it often involves sensitive information. The more people that are involved in the process, the higher the risk of data leakage. This can bring about more fines and compliance issues. Policies must be set in place in order to protect this sensitive information.
Retain offers redaction control of exported data, ensuring that personal information, or other redacted items do not become part of the open records request. It also offers an administrator/user hierarchy, where permissions can be set and confidential information can be protected. Retain also creates a searchable audit trail of all administrators and users who have permission to search the archive, enabling you to have a record of all activity. These features allow you to protect the information in your Retain archive.
A study done by Logikcull estimates that eDiscovery costs the U.S. around 42 billion dollars each year, asserting “if US eDiscovery was its own economic nation, it would rank 90th out of 189 countries”. These high costs are compounded by lack of preparation. Investing in a unified archiving solution such as Retain offers the preparation you need for litigation, drastically reducing eDiscovery costs by archiving, organizing and protecting electronically stored information, and employing powerful tools to make data useful in court.
With Retain running seamlessly in the background, your legal team can rest assured that all email, mobile, and social data is being stored. Your organization will reduce the risk of litigation and will avoid the three eDiscovery hangups mentioned in this article.
Let one of our experts show you how it all works with a Product Demo or simply request a complimentary 30 day evaluation of Micro Focus Retain.