Big Data + Mobile = Perfect Storm

by Lee Reiber

One of the catch-phrases floating around the corporate and e-discovery landscape and scaring people these days is “Big Data.” This concept is not new, but companies have been slow in coming to the realization that they are not adept (to say the least) at handling the petabytes or even exabytes that now confront them.

Mere storage of this data has plagued companies for years, but it’s not until they are called upon to conduct the collection, preservation, and review of these vast amounts that the involved parties truly understand what “Big Data” is. Responding to these types of collection and review requests successfully is critical for companies, but that successful response depends entirely on how they prepare for the same.

To mangle a quote of Thomas Edison’s, this preparation is 99% more important than perspiration. And in today’s world, the first step in preparing is for organizations to prepare for the reality of mobile device e-discovery.

Recognize that over half of discoverable data in today’s “Big Data” bucket will come from a mobile device of some kind. Sit for a moment and take that in. Half of the data you will have to collect and review going forward will come from a mobile device. Suspend for now the panicked realization that you don’t even have specific tools to collect from such devices at all and focus on an even more alarming idea: Over 70% of communication and usage comes from applications on a mobile smart device and a mobile device management (MDM) tool (which some of you may have been relying on as an e-discovery stop-gap) will not preserve that critical third-party application data. Sound like a perfect storm? That’s because it is. Feel unprepared? That’s because you are.

But all is not lost. Instead of setting yourself up to overlook crucial e-discovery data, utilize a process and solution that can handle Big Data and mobile in an e-discovery context. Collection and analysis should be an easy and painless part of your routine e-discovery process, and there is no reason why it can’t be when you have the right tools.

In today’s world of increasing litigation, data theft, company hacking, customer data loss and employee mobility, you cannot afford to keep your head in the sand when it comes to mobile data. Whether it’s an external request due to litigation or an internal one due to an enterprise investigation or cyber security breach, you will be held accountable to produce all relevant data which, now more than ever, includes data from mobile devices. It is time to get ahead of the incident and prepare your team, company and employer for the probable threat, because waiting for a triggering event to occur may cost considerably more than you anticipated. On the other hand, being proactive with policy, education and the proper solution will pay dividends by making you prepared to cover what’s next – namely Big Data and it’s mobile delivery system.

This article was originally published on the Access Data blog. Re-posted with permission.