Collecting data for eDiscovery and compliance is challenging enough over the network. It is even more painful when collecting data from endpoint devices. Remote files can be anywhere: hard drives, USB flash drives, email attachments, shared file applications, or online platforms.
In this highly dispersed environment, data collection takes a long time. IT must depend on distracted data custodians to locate and return their own remote data; a slipshod operation at best. It also puts data collection at high risk for spoliation, which occurs when eDiscovery data is haphazardly collected and improperly stored.
Why a Centralized Data Store is the Answer
If IT automatically captures endpoint data to a centralized data store, the runaway data problem is solved not only for litigation, but also for compliance and data protection.
Compliance: Compliance depends on visibility into remote data, yet just 28% of CIOs report that their mobile security policies would satisfy an auditor, according to research by Gartner. With the right tools, IT can enable compliance for endpoint data using audit trails of all user activity. Drilling down into the streams, IT can track user activity at file and folder levels. They can track user access, file sharing, downloading, and specific device usage. Auditing also monitors administrators, since mistakes or malice can play havoc with a company’s security.
- Big benefit: Visibility into the activity stream grants IT complete insight into all aspects of data sharing and end-user access. IT can secure data against mistaken or malicious activities and can prove compliance to internal or external governance agencies.
Litigation eDiscovery: When IT receives the formerly dreaded request from Legal, they simply search the centralized data store to locate data by owner, date, content, or other metadata. IT then places legal holds by suspending data retention policies and preserving the content in place. IT grants access to Legal so they can review it for relevance. Once Legal reports back, IT releases the hold on irrelevant files and transfers relevant files into the eDiscovery system.
- Big benefit: This efficient process saves IT time, saves the cost of outsourcing and/or buying extra storage capacity, and lowers big risks of poor collection and data spoliation.
Data protection: Backup and restores are a fact of life behind the firewall. With poorly managed endpoint data, not so much. Some companies struggle along with ad hoc backup for remote data; more companies simply do not bother with it. But if important remote data is lost and there is no restore path, the result can be disastrous. A centralized data store lets IT backup data from hundreds or thousands of endpoints. For restore, IT uses federated search to locate files by criteria such as file name, type, user, or date. Once located, IT simply restores previous file versions.
- Big benefit: Too many companies leave remote backup and restore up to the end-user. This rarely works out well. With a centralized data store, IT can efficiently backup and restore endpoint data. This saves time and money, and avoids the all-too-common risk of losing remote data.
Download our Survival Guide for Data in the Wild to learn actionable how-tos for protecting and governing your data outside the corporate firewall.