Office 365

The Challenge of eDiscovery and Remote Work

Remote work has become a staple way of working in the business world. Companies that want to attract top talent ...

Remote work has become a staple way of working in the business world. Companies that want to attract top talent recognize that the flexibility to work fully or partially from home or the road is highly desirable. Some companies have also enjoyed the savings of downsizing to smaller offices and outsourcing equipment costs to workers willing to take advantage of BYOD policies.

Key Takeaways

  • Remote and hybrid work has been accepted by many small, medium and large organizations globally.

  • eDiscovery efforts can be hampered by having employees remotely without additional software, processes and procedures.

  • Implement new, robust policies to help both end-users working remotely, and legal teams.

However, these same factors have created complications in capturing, securing and storing data. Should the company later need to comply with an eDiscovery request, it may struggle to do so. The good news is that there are solutions companies can employ if they plan sufficiently and leverage the power of automation.

remote workers-2What Are the eDiscovery Challenges Created by Remote Work?

If you have never received an electronic discovery request, you might have questions about how remote or hybrid work complicates matters. These are the main potential caveats businesses need to overcome.

Multiple Unknown Devices

Remote workers often use a plethora of personal devices that companies might not monitor or even know about. For example, workers might sometimes use their personal phones or another laptop to complete work, especially if the employer requests revisions while the worker is away from his or her usual office spaces. Securing and monitoring these devices could become a complex matter.

Unauthorized Forms of Communication

The internet introduced many new forms of communication and decentralization, making collaborating easier for teams. However, this has also created a potential problem when it comes to eDiscovery. Remote workers might sometimes use third-party applications that the company cannot access or control, making it challenging to secure data exchanged through those platforms.

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Fragmented Archiving Solutions

Companies might rely on workers to manually archive and submit communication data, which creates issues with data integrity and timely backups. Even if workers follow best practices, they might not secure data in an organized manner, so the data could easily become corrupted.

Higher Risk of Theft

Remote workers typically use mobile devices, which have a higher risk of theft. Theft can expose confidential information and even attract fines. For example, a hospital faced $1.5 million in fines after the theft of a physician's laptop that contained 3,500 encrypted medical records for U.S. patients.

What Are Solutions to eDiscovery Challenges for Remote Work?

Fortunately, modern technology provides various solutions to the challenges of remote work and eDiscovery. Review the following to determine what best meets your organization's needs.

Establish a BYOD Policy

Allowing workers to use personal devices on the job can reduce equipment costs and boost productivity. However, companies must ensure workers use registered devices in an endpoint management ecosystem. That puts the IT team in a better position to track, secure and otherwise manage the devices.

Identify Authorized Apps

There is nothing wrong with using third-party apps per se. It depends on the app and its encryption or lack thereof. For example, WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption, which makes it impossible for even its parent company Meta to read messages. Companies should only use apps with such levels of encryption to ensure data protection.

Secure Networks

Home networks can be vulnerable, especially if the Wi-Fi is not encrypted. Companies should provide secure access points to company resources and ensure their workers use secured connections. Tech experts recommend VPNs for remote work in public spaces or with public Wi-Fi, but companies should also consider mandating use at home.

Automate Data Archiving

Secure archiving is necessary if companies wish to use the data as evidence in litigation. Companies should consider using automated data archiving solutions that produce secure backups and create an audit trail of any archived content. This helps with authenticity and reliability, both critical matters in eDiscovery requests. Some archiving solutions can even handle phone calls.

Store Backups in the Cloud

Cloud storage ensures remote access, eliminating the need to wait for remote workers to return to the office. It also helps with backup redundancy, as companies can store multiple copies of the same file in different locations. Encryption enhances cloud security as well, making it difficult for hackers to penetrate and access data.

Encrypt Data at Rest

Encryption helps protect files when they are stored and not in transit. Companies should explore encryption protocols using symmetric or asymmetric algorithms to protect data. This makes it challenging for anyone to access files without the encryption key. It also eliminates the need for third-party applications, which could be vulnerable to hacking.

Update Your Legal-Hold Protocols

Companies should also update their legal-hold protocols to account for remote work. Legal holds must be quickly and securely enforced across all devices, including personal ones. Companies should create legal holds that reach all access points, including cloud storage accounts, to ensure they can respond quickly to eDiscovery requests.

Test Your eDiscovery Process

Don't wait until you need to respond to a request to determine if your current processes and contingencies will work. Companies should regularly test the eDiscovery process in-house and with their vendors. This will help IT teams identify any weaknesses or gaps before they become a problem.

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How Can Migrating to the Cloud Help Address Remote Work Challenges?

Companies should consider cloud migration solutions to benefit from the scalability, cost-effectiveness and accessibility of the cloud. Cloud solutions also help companies secure their networks by eliminating the need to access data directly on the corporate network. This reduces cyber risks associated with such activity.

Successful cloud migration requires the skills of experienced workers such as our team at Cloudficient. We have handled migration loads with 5,000-plus in-office and remote work users with ease. What can our team do for you? Contact us now for a quote or more information.

With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.

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