5 Ways IT Can Give Legal What It Needs for eDiscovery (Before They Ask)

Enterprise eDiscovery projects are quite challenging given the knowledge gaps between IT and Legal. To forestall delays — and perhaps control the conversation a bit more — IT leaders can provide answers to the questions Legal is bound to ask, before it occurs to them to object. This can ensure that the eDiscovery process happens faster, with better collaboration. Wouldn’t that be nice?

To many organizations, eDiscovery is a new endeavor. But that doesn’t mean it’s new to every enterprise, and quite a few issues around bound to come up in any interaction between IT and the Legal department. Endpoints become even more critical during eDiscovery given that 28% of corporate data resides exclusively on endpoints.

In such a scenario, the standard questions that Legal has for IT teams during discovery of data include:

  • Where is the backed-up data stored? What are our retention and archival policies?
  • How is the company currently backing up the data stored on laptops, desktops, and mobile devices (a.k.a. endpoints)? Which devices — Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, etc. — are in use?
  • How do we manage data belonging to ex-employees?
  • How does our existing software handle and implement data privacy and confidentiality policies?

If you have the answers ready for your colleagues in the Legal department, it can save time for everyone concerned. After all, by providing the answers to the follow-up questions before the lawyers realize they have a follow-up question, at least one meeting can be avoided!

Here’s five ways enterprise IT can provide Legal what it needs beforehand for eDiscovery projects:

  1. Give Legal information about the company’s data assets. Legal teams have early insight into the custodians involved in a litigation but lack understanding of the business’ data assets. Knowing that key information assets are being backed up is of immense help to Legal in the initial phases of eDiscovery. Since Identification and Collection are the first critical steps in ensuring a cost-efficient eDiscovery, this information can help Legal get a better handle on the relevant data that needs to be included in the legal hold. IT can get Legal’s inputs on the data that should be mandatorily backed-up prior to configuring this data set.
  2. Educate Legal on all the software IT uses to manage data. This helps both teams plan how to cope during litigations and investigations. There are multiple data sources, commonly referred to as Electronically Stored Information (ESI), such as endpoints, network shares, file servers, cloud-based data sources (such as Google apps and social media websites) that could be of relevance in an eDiscovery. The IT department is the only team with complete knowledge of the software in place to manage these data sources, as well as the applications’ capabilities to enable eDiscovery. If you know what you have, and how it can aid in the effort, by all means tell Legal what’s available — and what isn’t.
  3. Look for opportunities for IT to identify and collect data that can facilitate repeatable collections and reduce spoilage risk. Data protection software with an automated collection workflow can significantly reduce cost and decrease the burden on both IT and Legal teams. Traditionally, data collection is among the most time-consuming and labor-intensive eDiscovery tasks. Given the volume, different types of ESI, and complexity of the data itself, IT may often be tempted to conduct manual collections without awareness of the risks associated with such an approach.
  4. Involve Legal early in the process while evaluating data-protection software that enables eDiscovery. While eDiscovery is predominantly the domain of enterprise Legal and Compliance teams, it is very common for IT teams to play a key role in ensuring an efficient discovery of ESI. Why not make sure the software serves everyone’s needs? Having IT and Legal as the decision makers to agree on eDiscovery software goes a long way in arming the respective teams with the right tools to handle discovery requests faster.
  5. Choose software that helps Legal do its own data retrieval. The timelines associated with eDiscovery requests from Legal are often stringent; IT teams can often find themselves struggling with time to address such requests. As data volumes grow, IT teams are expected to retrieve the relevant data to enable eDiscovery. Why not help them do it themselves? Educating Legal on data retrieval efforts can go a long way in reducing the time in the Identification and Collection phase.

Druva inSync is the only endpoint data protection solution with an automated workflow to collect data and enable eDiscovery within enterprises. Druva partners with leading eDiscovery vendors such as AccessData and Recommind to help IT and Legal succeed on eDiscovery projects.