Litigation is a real problem that your business must be prepared to handle. Today’s overly litigious society requires that all businesses change their mindset with regard to litigation from, “Will my company ever be sued?” to “If our company is sued, and how prepared will I be to handle it?”
A study by the Small Business Administration shows that around 36%-53% of all small businesses are involved in litigation every year. Another, study by Norton Fulbright (who conducts an annual survey on litigation trends) shows that 90% of all businesses, at one point, are involved in litigation.
To be prepared for litigation, you must first know of the risks involved. Another litigation trends survey by Norton Fulbright in 2013 reveals the following
- 71% of all companies surveyed spent more than $1 million just on the costs of litigation
- 32% of smaller companies spent more than $1 million or more on litigation legal fees (not including the cost of settlement or judgments)
- 42% of medium sized companies spent between $1 million – $5 million on litigation last year.
- 43% of large companies spent over $10 million on litigation expenditures.
Those are some huge costs spent simply on litigation! Why, you may ask, is litigation so expensive? When looking further into the costs involved, it becomes apparent the huge role that eDiscovery plays. The exact cost of eDiscovery to the US is difficult to pinpoint, but Logikcull.com estimates, after taking into account dozens of sources, that it could be as high as $44.64 billion annually. To put that in perspective, If the costs of US eDiscovery were its own nation, it would rank 90th out of 189 countries!
As seemingly expensive as it can be expensive to manage eDiscovery, mismanaging it can be catastrophic and much more costly. This holds true more and more every year. Did you know that more e-discovery sanctions were awarded in federal cases in 2009 than in all the years before 2005 combined? As times change, litigation changes too, and companies must be prepared to handle that. The notion that E-discovery is solely and mainly linked to email is outdated, as mobile and social media communications are playing a more important role in court every day. HIPAA regulations, Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, FINRA, HITECH and many other protocols demand that ALL communication data be archived and immediately accessible. This includes archiving mobile device messages, as well as archiving your employee’s social media messages. The same 2013 litigation trends survey illustrates this point, as 41% of survey respondents were required to preserve and/or collect data from an employee’s mobile device for litigation or investigation. In larger companies, more than half confirmed preserving mobile device communication data for eDiscovery. (read more about this survey on our blog, here!)
Other impacts of lawsuits on a company are reputation, time, emotional and physical tolls, and limiting the progress a company makes, amongst others. These can be mitigated by having a dedicated legal team in place that can expertly manage these situations for you when they arise. Having this team will be a huge asset to you, but they are going to need the right tools in order to effectively manage the situation and save you time and money! This is where GWAVA steps in.
Be Prepared for eDiscovery
Litigation is a burden for all parties involved, and should be avoided whenever possible. If it cannot be avoided, your company must be prepared to produce all electronically stored information (ESI). This includes archiving all electronic communication such as email, social media, and even archiving text messages. To produce this data for eDiscovery, you must first archive and preserve your company’s communication data.
Sound communication policies create the foundation, as well as knowledge of industry specific regulations, of course, are a must. You can find information on these regulations by going to our website and clicking on your industry. Other measures, such as creating a sound company mobile and social media policy can help drastically reduce the chances of being involved in a scandal. Even after all these measures have been implemented, you must capture and manage this important data. So how will you manage it?
Retain – The Ultimate Litigation Tool
At GWAVA, we know the huge role that eDiscovery plays in court. We have designed Retain, our unified archiving tool, for this purpose. Retain is the Swiss army knife of eDiscovery tools. It will help reduce your litigation and ediscovery costs.
Unified archiving means that all records – email, mobile, and social, are stored in one secure, searchable archive. Imagine that your lawyer needs to find all communications from employee A, to employee B. One simple search will provide them with all email, mobile, and social communications within seconds. This may seem pretty normal to you but just ask your lawyer how nice this is. And imagine the savings in cost! Your attorney is used to spending hours and even days sifting through documents and archives! Retain will be your legal team’s ultimate tool in eDiscovery.
Retain will also help in the courtroom, as all Electronically Stored Information (ESI) can be exported and redacted to your needs, and in the format that you needed. It would be pointless to use eDiscovery to find the information if you could not present it in the right format and authenticate it in the courtroom, right? Retain ensures that all ESI is stored complete with metadata and can easily prepared for your purposes.
Conclusion: Be Prepared!
Litigation can be a scary concept, and as we mentioned earlier, is becoming more and more common. If it is happening to 36-53% of businesses yearly, and 90% of businesses over their lifespan, it is very likely to happen to you. The best advice you can follow? Simplyput: Be prepared! You have nothing to worry about as long as you are well informed about regulations and have policies in place to help you follow them. With an expert legal team equipped with Retain you can rest assured that, while litigation may come your way, it won’t have the deadly impact on your business that it has had on others in the past – simply because you are prepared for it!