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3 Things to Look for in eDiscovery Services

Many large organizations have legal teams that help navigate difficult situations relating to contracts, litigation, ...

Many large organizations have legal teams that help navigate difficult situations relating to contracts, litigation, and disputes. More and more often, information that is essential for these legal teams is stored electronically. This information must be reviewed to help with a legal situation and sometimes must be presented to a court system. For legal teams and law firms, eDiscovery services can be an invaluable partner.

Key Takeaways

  • eDiscovery is the process of identifying, preserving, collecting, processing, analyzing, and reviewing information or data that is stored electronically, in order to assist with legal situations and court cases.
  • eDiscovery Services can help companies navigate complex legal matters and investigations by providing external support and expertise, even if an enterprise organization has its own in-house legal team.

What is the eDiscovery process? 

Close up of hand with wrench fixing mechanismThe eDiscovery process is identifying, preserving, collecting, processing, analyzing, and reviewing information or data that is stored electronically.

What are eDiscovery Services? 

eDiscovery Services can help companies navigate complex legal matters and investigations. External services are sometimes needed, even if an enterprise organization has its own in-house legal team. The eDiscovery process can be complicated and time-consuming and, if not completed correctly, can lead to serious legal consequences.

By utilizing eDiscovery Services from external vendors and partners, you can also achieve benefits such as lower costs. Additionally, by working with an expert, you will be able to take advantage of their expertise and technologies to complete the work to the best results and potentially lower costs.

There are numerous eDiscovery services, so we’ll just recap a few. When considering external services, these points are the three main things to look for in those eDiscovery services.

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Forensics and Collections

As part of the eDiscovery process, you’ll want to ensure that your organization’s data is searched, preserved, and collected both in a timely manner and securely.  From electronic discovery services to document review, eDiscovery professionals know what to look for and how to find it. 

By utilizing an eDiscovery Technology Service, you can ensure that data is collected from all possible sources, some of which you may not even be aware of.

The data will then go through forensic analysis. This will help find evidence and any suspicious documents or files. During this process, it may also be possible to recover any previously deleted data.

Data Analytics and Insights

Once the data has been collected, it is likely to need some further analysis to get rid of data that is not relevant. By doing this, you will reduce the time required to process all the documents, and you will save money on reviewing and hosting data that isn’t needed.

Expert analytics consultants can then review the data and turn it into a knowledge set that will be more meaningful during legal proceedings.

Processing and Hosting

Once all the data has been analyzed, it will need to be processed. This includes extracting records and indexing metadata. The data can then be deduplicated or filtered to exclude certain data types or time frames.

After the data has been fully processed, it will then need to be hosted in a secure data center until it is required.

What types of data can be discovered through eDiscovery? 

Microsoft Purview CTASeven main types of data can be discovered and collected through eDiscovery.

  1. Active

This is data that is used regularly, for example, email data and files that are stored on local hard drives or network drives. Active data is generally easy to find and collect.

  1. Cloud

This is data that is stored on cloud servers, including SaaS platforms, Social Media accounts, Google Drive, and other similar platforms. Cloud providers all have their regulations and policies around collecting and storing data, but most eDiscovery platforms will be able to integrate with them to access the required data.

  1. Mobile

It is much harder to find and collect data stored on mobile devices. This will often require specialized tools and experts with the required training and experience. However, with the continued popularity of using mobiles for professional reasons, it has meant that companies need to have the ability to collect data from mobile phones. This includes call logs, text and instant messages, and geolocation data.

  1. Offline

This is data that is no longer being used but is stored or archived on a device. It is relatively easy to find this data type as long as you know the physical location of the data and the system on which it is stored. This sort of data cannot be accessed over a shared server.

  1. Backups

The purpose of traditional backup or recovery systems is to store data if it needs to be recovered and/ or restored. Backup systems typically compress the files they store, making it hard to search for these files. As a result, it can be challenging for eDiscovery companies and systems to find these files during collection.

  1. Hidden

Hidden files are data that has previously been deleted or destroyed. They are unlikely to be viewable to day-to-day users of the systems, which makes this data type very hard to find and access. It will require specialized tools to locate and recover the data.

  1. Metadata

Metadata is often forgotten, but some might say it’s one of the most critical data types due to its contextual data. Metadata, simply put, is data about the data. It includes when the data type was created, modified, and updated and who made the changes or updates. In terms of eDiscovery, this data is vital and must be included during the eDiscovery phase.

What special challenges does eDiscovery present? 

If legal teams try to handle the eDiscovery process in-house, they are likely to come across many challenges. Some of the main challenges are discussed below.

Cost Challenges

Before starting the eDiscovery process, you need to find the right software, which can be confusing, time-consuming, and expensive. There are different types of eDiscovery software options. You need to think if you would own the software yourself or sign up for a subscription-based platform. If you select a SaaS platform, what is the pricing model for the software? Is it data volume-based? Or is it more complex depending on the services required?

There are other cost challenges to think about as well. Is the server you use adequate to run the new software you purchase? Or do you need to buy additional servers to meet the demand? Do you have sufficient storage in place already, or do you require additional or separate storage devices?

People Challenges

Will you need to hire additional people to support and run the software? How many people will you need to hire? Do you have the budget to hire new employees? Depending on the project size, you may need to hire multiple people. It takes time to find, hire and train people, and this will only add more delays to implementing the software and getting everything set up and running successfully.

Another side of people challenges is that several departments will need to work together when it comes to eDiscovery, such as Legal and IT. These two departments will need to work together to create policies for data retention, preservation, and information governance, among other things.

Implementation Challenges

Even once you select the software and have the required hardware and people to run the process, you will then need to implement and support the technology. This can be difficult if you do not have the time and experience. Doing eDiscovery in-house can take months or even years to fully implement between finding the software, hiring the right people, setting up the software, building out the process, and fixing any issues. This is all before starting the eDiscovery process, which will also be lengthy and challenging. 

Data Challenges

When it comes to eDiscovery, the relevant data used to be paper documents primarily, but this has changed dramatically over the years, and now the most relevant data is often digital. This digital data can be in a variety of types and formats, which makes the eDiscovery collection process harder.

Organizations are also storing more digital data, which means the eDiscovery collection process also takes much longer as there is more data to identify, process, analyze, collect, and so on.

When considering external eDiscovery services, in other words, those services outside of your organization, consider how each of the points above will be addressed completely (or partially) by the service/partner/vendor. In some situations, you may require more than one level of assistance to cover all of the aspects required.

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