With each passing week, the amount, location, and complexity of data grows exponentially. Employees carry your company’s proprietary information all over the globe by way of laptops, flash drives, tablets and mobile devices. Your server space dwindles as thousands of emails with Excel spreadsheets and Powerpoints are sent each minute. Essential older electronically stored data is purged by IT departments looking to create space on servers. In litigation, the opposition’s counsel continues to turn their focus towards claims of destruction or spoliation when they are not succeeding on the merits. Potential lawsuits and exposure for your company or client are around every corner and you are constantly trying to save money all the while staying up on the latest trends and case law. Well, I just made one part of your life a little bit easier. In this new blog series, we’ve put together the Top Ten trends in eDiscovery, and why you should get up to speed. To kick things off, let’s talk about Information Management.
Do you know where all of your data is? Corporations are working harder than ever to balance legal and regulatory obligations with business efficiency. The never-ending debate seems to be retaining records vs. disposing of non-essential data to free up space because SPACE = Money, and money is something we all want to save.
A data map can help an organization understand its risk profile and make finding the data quicker and easier further allowing it to:
- Identify sensitive data or previously unknown areas of the network
- Prevent data loss and gain visibility into risk usage patters – all allowing your private information to stay secure
I know you went to law school, so you didn’t have to deal with math or computers… But here is where IT comes in. Work with your IT department to create a comprehensive and defensible inventory of your organization’s IT systems that store information – a data map. All or any of this information at some time could be relevant to a litigation, internal investigations, or audits, not to mention the dreaded government investigation.
The ESI data map not only identifies the potential sources of ESI and where itresides but also who controls each of those resources and is responsible for the retention or purging of the data.
Key Elements of an ESI Data Map
- Identity and location of all the systems
- A plain English description of what it does is preferable, make sure IT goes easy on the tech talk-
Answers to important questions like;
- How old is the data? Is it old technology? When was the last deletion, overwriting, or alteration of the data?
- Who can I call to suspend the records retention policy in response to a litigation hold?
- In what format is the data stored?
- Email: How much and where?
- Where are users documents stored locally and where else?
- Employee’s hard drives, cell phones, remote servers? Automatic backup?
Most IT organizations have gone through substantial changes. Where are the random backup tapes hidden? We know you have them, better to know now rather than when you least expect it.
The bottom line? Understand where your data is.
This post is one of ten posts on the Top Trends in eDiscovery written by Special Counsel Senior Vice President of Discovery and LPO Solutions, Chris Gallagher, Esq. Chris is a member of the Bar of New York and his experience includes supervising the document production process of some of the largest class actions in the past decade, giving him a unique view of the day-to-day obstacles confronting an efficient review and discovery process. For more information, contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information regarding our eDiscovery solutions, visit our website and contact your local office today.