eDiscovery Compliance Just Got Harder – Are You Ready?

By Michael
October 28, 2011

I don’t want to alarm you, but eDiscovery just got harder.

That’s the main message in the results of a recent survey that found that e-mails are no longer the most commonly requested documents in eDiscovery requests. Files and documents now top the list of types of data companies must produce to meet eDiscovery requests, followed by database or application data. Other sources include SharePoint files, instant messages, text messages and social media.


What’s so tough about other data sources rising up the list and surpassing e-mail? For a while now, companies have viewed eDiscovery as primarily an e-mail management game. Now, as the Symantec survey indicates, it’s not quite that simple anymore. Today’s eDiscovery challenge, as these results highlight: how to produce requested information from across a broader range of disparate data sources—but to do so just as quickly as ever to avoid sanctions, fines and compromising your legal position and driving up costs by providing too much information.

Picture your staff spending hours over many days, weeks or even months manually poring through file systems looking for the required documents, e-mails, IMs and Tweets. Strategic projects would fall by the wayside as your burned-out staff labored at this mundane task under the pressure of knowing that the company’s legal butt was on the line—and that their efforts could make or break the case. Is the pain of this imagined predicament enough to send eDiscovery preparedness shooting up on your priority list?

Surprisingly, many companies remain woefully unprepared for an eDiscovery request, especially one that would require the company to pinpoint data from among such diverse and disparate data sources. Nearly half of respondents don’t have an information retention plan, and 14 percent don’t even have a plan to develop a plan.

Facing this challenge starts with having the right information management strategies in place—and the technology to back them up. Among other best practices, companies looking to be prepared for today’s more diverse eDiscovery requests need to:

  • Implement an active, consistently enforced retention policy that covers all potential data sources, not just e-mail. The policy needs to specify not just what to keep and for how long, but how to systematically destroy data at the appropriate time.
  • Cast a wider ESI (electronically stored information) net. Determine how you will capture, manage, store, backup and archive data from each and every potentially discoverable source.
  • Deploy the right eDiscovery tools to defensibly collect and process data for review from these disparate sources.

Having the right eDiscovery strategy and tools can help you locate the right data (and only the right data) in a matter of minutes, rather than in days, weeks or not at all. As the survey report states, doing eDiscovery right can yield a 64 percent faster response time with a 2.3 times higher success rate. Especially in a large organization with frequent legal exposure, the case is closed on this one: Get your eDiscovery house in order, or prepare to face the consequences.

What is your companies policy concerning eDiscovery? Let us know your take in our comments section.


  1. HP purchased Autonomy for 11.5 Billion in October and offers the only End-to-End, fully defensible, E-Discovery solution on a single platform that is FRCP compliant and covers all rich media.

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