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How IT and InfoSec Can Address Legal Hold Challenges On Mobile

IT teams have often been clueless about how to facilitate eDiscovery requests on their organization’s’ mobile devices. This demand is driven by the criticality of retrieving data from such devices in recent high-profile litigation.

One Druva customer, a medical equipment company that generates new products (with intellectual property to be protected) has a highly mobile workforce. Given the highly litigious nature of their industry, this customer is subject to several IP infringement lawsuits. Coupled with data sprawl — with data frequently stored on mobile devices — they see it as critical to centrally identify and collect relevant electronically-stored information (ESI) from smartphones and tablet devices.

The diversity of device models, carriers, and rapid innovation of mobile operating system (OS) platforms make it extremely challenging to collect data from them. The difficulty of accessing data on certain mobile OS platforms is very well known. The rise of BYOD only contributes to the headache for security and legal professionals.

Enterprise IT and Infosec teams have had to rely on traditional approaches to manually acquire devices from end users (“Give me your phone!”) to extract data. Or the teams make significant investments to purchase legacy and point solutions to conduct investigations on mobile. However, many companies do not have access to technology that enables centralized collection capabilities on mobile devices, preserve it in-place, and enable eDiscovery.

Mobile Data as a Source of Evidence

Legal teams always need to work backwards to efficiently defend their clients. Probably that has always been true, but as mobile use has evolved beyond e-mail access and BYOD apps, company legal counsel has had to expand the nature of what it must research and the data stewardship it must exhibit.

For example, a recent survey by RingCentral (a cloud business phone system provider) found that 79% of business users use text messaging for business communications. Those text messages can pose a significant risk.

While text messages are the most sought after item on mobile devices, browser history, device info, application logs, and call logs also provide a treasure trove of information for a relevant legal matter. A recent real-world example is the Clear View Technologies, Inc bs. Rasnick where the court slammed the company with sanctions because it deleted text messages and other ESI stored on mobile devices, and it held them responsible for failure to preserve relevant ESI.

The lawyers might know which haystacks need to be explored for possible needles — and then Legal needs the help of IT and InfoSec teams to do the searching. IT admins need to equip their legal teams with the right tools so that they can answer a multitude of questions:

  • Messages: What messages did the custodian send on the relevant matter? To whom and when? Did the custodian delete any messages?
  • Browser History: What websites did the custodian browse? Is there any evidence to prove the custodian accessed sites for which he was not authorized?
  • Call Logs: Did the custodian make any phone calls to other people that are relevant to the matter? What was the duration of these calls; when were they made, and to whom?
  • Device Info: Is the device ownership disputed? How can I prove the data extracted from the device belongs to the custodian? Are the SIM details on record accurate with what we acquired?
  • App Logs: Which mobile apps did the custodian use to transact business-related information? Did the apps have permissions to read or write data? Were any unauthorized apps installed on the device?

If you’ll permit this small commercial: inSync’s mobile app on Android empowers IT and Infosec teams to collect this data while also respecting global data privacy regulations.

Create a Plan to Preserve and Enable eDiscovery on Mobile Data

Enterprise IT teams play a critical role in creating a plan to address the mobile eDiscovery risk. They can empower InfoSec and Legal teams, since IT understands the scope of search, data protection, and the software the company’s users installed. IT teams regularly look to technology to understand how it can (and can’t) help the business adhere to preservation policies, collect and place legal holds on mobile data from a centralized admin console, and enable quick transfer of this data to an eDiscovery tool for processing and review. And as user data sprawls to the cloud and to mobile data sources, the ability to conduct full text search on this data will become a common demand for litigations and investigations.

inSync can save companies from massive costs arising out of the failure to preserve data on mobile devices and potentially disastrous consequences of the inability to collect data from mobile devices.

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