Archiving as the Cornerstone for E-Discovery
Five Steps Forward
5. Integrate archiving with the e-discovery process. Email messages are the most common target of electronic discovery. However, other types of information —data on file shares, instant messages, SharePoint libraries, databases, voicemail messages and so on—are also subject to preservation orders and e-discovery requests. Integrated content archiving permits the centralized storage, indexing, preservation, expiration and review of multiple sources of unstructured and structured information. Structured content—such as data stored in document management systems and databases—or active content on users’ desktops can also be integrated with the archive. This integration allows unified e-discovery from a single, centrally managed repository. Finally, complementary analytical and review technologies designed to facilitate attorney workflow and case management can be integrated with the archive. Such technologies can improve the handling and transfer of data while improving chain of custody support.
Start at the Beginning
No five-step program can turn an SUV into a hybrid and no amount of review technology or attorneys burning the midnight oil can make up for the mistakes of a poor information management strategy. Organizations should get to the source of the problem, not just throw more storage at it. Consider how data is created, managed and used in the organization and prioritize the areas that are most often an issue in discovery and storage management. Begin by raising awareness; investigate corporate retention schedules and policies to determine the current level of preparedness. Is the use of PST or NSF files allowed? Is there even recognition of electronic data in the schedule? Email retention, retrieval and compliance were ranked as the number-one challenge and annoyance facing respondents in the International Legal Technology Association’s 2008 "Technology Survey." Another study by the Enterprise Strategy Group shows that 77% of e-discovery requests are for emails and their attachments. Don’t wait until there is a crisis to sort out the issues of information management—plan for it.
In 1965, simply sending data from one folder to another folder on the same computer wasn’t enough. Email has evolved. Researchers eventually found other ways to communicate, sending files and pictures between employees, then companies, then networks, etc. Litigators are like technology; they evolve, and are savvy enough to expand discovery requests beyond paper, records and email to include other data sources. Expand beyond the scope of the email environment and consider other systems in the corporate environment. How will information management challenges on network file shares be addressed? SharePoint? IM? By taking a platform approach, archiving technology can become the repository of record for all unstructured information. The archive becomes to unstructured information what the database is to structured data.
The stifling growth of ESI is clearly understood both in IT and legal terms while at the same time economic growth has been impacted by a dismal economic outlook. Flat or negative growth requires corporate cost centers such as legal and IT to do more with less. IT will be asked to cut back on power, cooling, storage and other expenditures while legal will be asked to reduce costs on outside counsel, service providers and expenses charged back into the business units. Just as the FRCP created an opportunity for IT and legal to work together, this current economic state compels their collaboration yet again. Together, IT and legal can meet these challenges by implementing an archiving platform for information management. Apart, IT will continue to add storage at the expense of more strategic projects and ESI will continue to explode. Legal will continue to rely on favors from IT while investing only in point solutions and reactive tools designed to help them solve the case of the day. If this approach continues, it is no surprise that it would take an act of Congress to help us solve this problem.
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help businesses and consumers secure and manage their information-driven world. Headquartered in Cupertino, CA, Symantec has operations in more than 40 countries. For white papers, resources and demos, visit: www.enterprisevault.com