eDiscovery isn’t just a legal task: it’s often an all-encompassing endeavor that involves executives, business units, compliance personnel, and information technology (IT) teams. And, given the ever-increasing complexity of data types and use of the cloud, it’s imperative that representatives from IT are at the table from the very beginning.
Here are just some of the ways that IT is playing a significant role in eDiscovery.
When it comes to data preservation, the buck stops with the IT team. The IT team knows where data lives in the organization (or externally, in the cloud, for example) and the various types of software used across the organization to manage and store that data. Additionally, legal must consult with IT to learn about the best ways to preserve data for litigation or compliance—whether it’s in place or in a separate repository—to avoid incurring spoliation sanctions. In that vein, IT is also aware of what systems automatically delete data and must be responsible for turning off these features. Once a legal hold is in place, IT must continually monitor the data to ensure no deletion or overwriting—unintentional, intentional, or automated—occurs until the hold is lifted.
Because IT is well-versed in its systems, software, and protocols, it’s ideally suited to run comprehensive searches for potentially responsive data for discovery requests. It also is in the best position to know how collect data from various custodians and applications and securely storing it in a repository for review.
Early on, legal should engage IT as it vets potential eDiscovery platforms to ensure that the vendor complies with the organization’s security requirements and that it has all the capabilities that your organization requires to capture the data from its applications.
Finally, in the event that the data collection is far-reaching and involves the use of backup tapes, IT can offer an estimate of the potential costs of data recovery, which legal can use to establish an undue burden in the event that the costs are disproportionate to the benefit expected from the data.
Chain of custody
From the moment of collection to production, the chain of custody of electronically stored information cannot be broken. IT needs to shepherd this process, particularly when it comes to collecting data from cloud-based services, which may lack robust features for tracking data. IT should take the responsibility for ensuring that all data collections are performed in a forensically sound manner that maintains the integrity of not just data but also file and system metadata and record this data in a comprehensive log.
Do you have a data expert on call?
Is your IT team up to these tasks? Particularly when organizations bring eDiscovery in-house, they find that their IT staff lack adequate experience in the nuances of data collection and preservation. If this is the case at your organization, consider partnering with an expert who can help with the complexities of eDiscovery. Contact us to learn more about how iDiscover partners with organizations to optimize their eDiscovery workflows and processes.