News/Trends, Tech/Engineering

eDiscovery: The “Time to Relevant Data” Problem

With the LegalTech trade show upon us, I’ve recently had the opportunity to spend a lot of one-on-one time with both legal and discovery customer teams. We discussed topics like the challenges that they’ve faced with traditional methods of discovery collection, review, and early case assessment. The pain points are always the same: it takes too much time, money, and manual effort to get to the relevant data with traditional eDiscovery workflows.

While helping teams migrate to more flexible cloud-native solutions, we’re seeing the time required for eDiscovery in many organizations cut in half. The most dramatic time-saving results can be seen in the first stages of early case assessment, where legal teams need immediate access to custodian data in order to determine who has relevant information. By proactively collecting and preserving data across endpoints and cloud applications, a single person on a legal team can access custodian information in minutes compared with the several days of manual effort from the IT department that it previously took. It’s important to examine the manual process of eDiscovery in order to explore how these improvements in the process are realized.

Traditional Collection, Processing, and Review

Traditional eDiscovery processes are encumbered by manual processes where IT teams have to physically walk around, meet with custodians, and identify systems, storage, files shares, and other electronic data sources. Once identified, a data collection process begins with preserving that data — as well as metadata and history — to separate storage, and often requires the use of specialized preservation software. In most cases, a forensic copy of the data needs to be made in order to preserve the metadata and avoid spoliation. This process alone is fraught with manual, error-prone activities, increases risk, and lengthens the time it takes to get relevant data.

You may have noticed I’ve said nothing about mobile devices or cloud data up to this point. With 62% of legal matters involving data collection from mobile devices, and 37% comprised of cloud data, a whole new set of challenges have emerged. In many organizations, it’s unclear what kind of control IT has over mobile devices and cloud services, let alone the types  of capabilities they might need to collect and preserve this data properly for admissibility.  

For the sake of this example, let’s assume that IT can properly collect and preserve the data that’s needed. In order for the data to be stored and sent to a law firm, additional processes have to take place. The steps involved in this traditional processing require that the preserved data be transferred to a separate set of storage devices, which then need to be physically transported while data integrity is maintained with a documented chain of custody. These multiple, manual steps are not only costly, but greatly increase the time to relevant data for legal counsel to begin even the earliest stages of review.


Cloud-Native Collection, Processing, and Review

Cloud eDiscovery improves the efficiency of IT and legal teams by streamlining the process of collection, processing, and review. Cloud-based eDiscovery with Druva, for example, seamlessly and proactively collects end-user data across endpoints and cloud applications via time-indexed backups. If a litigation or investigation need arises, organizational data is immediately available to be placed on legal hold with a few mouse clicks, saving as much as 95% of the time it would take under the traditional model. With federated, full-text, and metadata search, only one person is needed to quickly identify information across all users, devices, and storage locations.

Legal hold management in the cloud reduces reliance on custodians and IT by centrally managing data preservation across the organization, ensuring data immutability and minimizing the risk of spoliation. Data is fingerprinted for authenticity and collected with extended metadata, as per Department of Justice standards and the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), to meet defensibility requirements.

Once data has been placed on legal hold, processing can immediately take place by directly connecting well-known, third-party eDiscovery tools using direct-to-cloud connectors. This happens by mapping data to a network drive on a legal team member’s laptop, accessing them via a web browser, or by using the inSync Direct Download Utility. These direct access methods preserve metadata and remove the need for transferring information across insecure networks, using separate storage media, performing additional shipping, or other cumbersome and costly methods. Couple these advantages with the ability to do things like cull data by date range and file types, and access deleted files to hone in on relevant data for review, analysis, and processing, and Druva gives legal teams the quickest access to the most relevant case data.  

To learn more about how Druva can help manage data risks, download our report: Leveraging the Cloud to Evolve Your eDiscovery Process.

Also, if you happen to be at LegalTech in New York, drop by our booth (#128) for a demo.