Sea Changes -- Ediscovery and IT - Page 2


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IT's Job Isn't Easy

IT's job is never easy, and ediscovery is no exception. The organization is increasingly responsible for collections and preservation amid fast-growing data stores located in individual applications, computing systems, locations and storage resources. It must also deal with shorter collection time frames by managing storage resources, so they are easily searchable.

Ediscovery search and collection tools should automate the process as much as possible in the interest of fast and efficient ediscovery. For example, collections speed is critical to the early ediscovery process. Manual collections cannot meet current speed and preservation requirements. If corporate IT is responsible for collections and preservation, then they must have a collections tool that offers high-speed collections and defensible data disposition. The collections tools should not be limited to email but must also include applications like SharePoint and file systems content, and increasingly even structured databases.

This approach to collections and preservation enables IT to manage its part of ediscovery without enormous workloads as well as maintain control over corporate data.

Benefits and Critical Success Factors

IT has four critical success factors for ediscovery. There is no guarantee that a given ediscovery project will provide all four CSFs, but the closer it comes, the more successful the project will be.

  1. The ediscovery product should integrate with existing information management technology. Take archiving for ediscovery, for example. If the ediscovery process is coming into an archiving vacuum then fine, archiving adoption becomes an added bonus for storage management. But no one wants to hear that her new collections product will require installing a different archiving platform and subsequent data migration. Wherever the product can leverage with existing technology, it should.
  2. The ediscovery product should provide attractive CAPEX. Management Simplicity is a clarion call for data management across the board, and ediscovery is no exception. Costs related to operational technology management are extremely high already, and ediscovery products should not make this even more expensive. This is true whether or not IT actually runs the software; they will ultimately be the ones getting the support calls when the attorney end user can't figure it out.
  3. 3. The product should be fast and scalable. IT will primarily be involved with collections and attendant search and preservation. These processes must operate at high speeds to meet limited ediscovery deadlines. They will also require back-end storage with high ingestion speeds and highly scalable capacity. IT will not want to struggle with software and systems that have limited performance and capacity.
  4. 4. Data integrity is the name of the game. The preservation process is key to maintaining legal defensibility, and IT understands that requirement. IT is also responsible for protecting data integrity across the collection process along with any subsequent data analysis and review. These post-collection processes will steadily release non-responsive data. IT must be certain that the release protects data integrity within and without the collected data sets.

Over the next few weeks I will be commenting more on these and additional issues around ediscovery and IT. This is an exciting time in ediscovery development, which has deep implications for IT beyond the legal issues.

Christine Taylor is an Analyst with The Taneja Group, an industry research firm that provides analysis and consulting for the storage industry, storage-related aspects of the server industry, and ediscovery. Christine has researched and written extensively on the role of technology in ediscovery, compliance and governance, and information management.

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