Data Collection and Data Types
When it comes to eDiscovery, data collection has to be one of the most complex and technically rigorous phases. It involves extracting potentially relevant electronically stored information (ESI) into a separate repository. Many people believe that since it involves interacting with the data directly, it is an IT activity. However, in order to create an effective collection strategy, both IT and legal professionals have to be actively involved. There is a multitude of misconceptions regarding that will hopefully be clarified throughout this section.
When it comes to data preservation, you should consider it as a way to ensure that your potentially relevant data does not get deleted. There isn’t any particular preservation method prescribed by the court, all they ask is that it gets done. The first tangible step is data collection. Even though not all the documents you collect will eventually be produced in the court, the idea is that these documents will feed into the review process, which dictates the production set.
Data Collection Types
Now, let’s get into the different types of methods you can use:
This involves collecting data that you regularly interact with and maybe stored on a network drive or a local hard drive. It can be emails, calendars, documents , and more. Compared to other forms of data, this kind is easy to access and collect.
In the past few years, cloud services have been incorporated by a wide range of enterprises in the form of SaaS applications, social media accounts, Google Drive, and more. Different cloud providers have different policies to access data. However, with eDiscovery software like Casepoint, you will be able to integrate data from popular cloud services, such as Slack, MS Teams, and more.
This refers to the data that you have stored or achieved but isn’t in active use anymore. Accessing and collecting this data does not have to be difficult , as long as you are aware of the data’s physical location and the system it is stored on.
Disaster recovery systems and traditional backup tapes are created in order to have access to important data, in case it needs to be restored. In most cases, these files are compressed and are not easily accessible or searchable.
Hidden files refer to fragmented or previously deleted files on the systems that might not be readily available to regular users. In most cases, these are mostly accessible files but require specialized tools for recovery.
Reasons to Use the Cloud for eDiscovery
Securing can help you access information whenever and wherever you want. It is an efficient platform to host data for eDiscovery. However, most firms have been slow to adopt cloud solutions and undergo a data migration due to concerns regarding the security of data storage services. These concerns might have been valid a couple of years ago, but today, the cloud has vastly improved. If your company hasn’t been using the cloud for eDiscovery, here are some benefits that may help you make the decision to migrate:
One of the concerns law firms have with cloud services is that they are unaware of the physical location of the data. However, many cloud service providers allow the customers to choose where they want their data to be stored, right down to the data center’s specific address. So, you can rest assured knowing that your data is in a centralized location, and not dispersed across multiple locations.
Know the Location of Your Data
When it comes to eDiscovery policies, having a disaster recovery plan is of paramount importance. Most reputable cloud service providers offer built-in redundancy, meaning that there will be servers dedicated to data recovery. In the event of a catastrophe, theycan set up your servers to automatically replicate the data in a different location. Traditional data centers offer similar technology, but services provide more location options.
Cloud service providers offer encryption services for when the data is stored in the cloud and while it is traveling from one point to another. There are several protection layers to ensure the safety of your sensitive data, which makes cloud services one of the best options for eDiscovery platforms.
There are security specialists at work to monitor the cloud services and be on the lookout for attacks. They are also responsible for ensuring that best security practices are implemented and updated. You will have the same level of advanced security for your data.
Planning to Move eDiscovery to the Cloud? Give These Best Practices a Try!
There are a multitude of advantages to. However, before migrating to the cloud, here are a few things that you need to take care of first:
In order to facilitate a seamless migration, you need to involve all the stakeholders from different departments that will be impacted by the new model. This includes stakeholders and management teams from legal, security, IT, compliance, and others. If needed, you can also opt for outside counsel.
Involve All of the Appropriate Stakeholders
Since you are implementing a new model, you might forget about some areas where you can save some costs. You can try using the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) to define the eDiscovery process and take advantage of all the benefits cloud services to offer. This includes eliminating or reducing the costs of hardware and software, along with in-house support systems.
Look for Potential Areas for Savings
If your eDiscovery platform doesn’t fit your requirements, it won’t matter where you store the data. You have to first evaluate the eDiscovery platform or else you will be wasting your time on platforms that will be ruled out. The first question you ask should be, “do you offer a cloud-based platform?” Then make sure the eDiscovery platform meets your other criteria to support your specific needs and workflows.
Focus First on the eDiscovery Platform, Then on Cloud Options
This is a crucial aspect for the companies with an existing eDiscovery solution in place. Once you have benchmarked the process, you can compare those to the potential cloud solution through a small project. The eDiscovery platform should at least offer the option of loading and exporting your data, and provide a better turnaround time than your previous vendor or in-house platform.
Benchmark the Existing eDiscovery Process
You have to be aware of where your data is stored and whether or not it is secured as per the regulations of your industry. For instance, if your data is stored internationally, there might be different rules regarding accessing the data and privacy laws and regulations.
Understand the Difference Between Private and Public Cloud
It is crucial to consider the way the cloud provider handles the security of your data. Having clear-cut objectives and policies in place is important. You have to compare the security mechanisms of the cloud providers and make an informed decision. They must have a comprehensive plan for security in place that meets the needs of your organization.
Assess Security and Privacy Risks
You have to develop an implementation plan that includes an internal communication strategy. Your IT and legal team have to work together to conduct tests and get proof of concept on the procedures. Apart from this, it is important to identify metrics through which you will be evaluating the system.
Create an Implementation Plan
Before you implement the service in your organization, you can run it on a small project. Start by finding dormant cases or test data sets with known outcomes and run them in the cloud service platform. Many cloud service providers offer a no-risk trial so that you can try out their service before buying it.
Run a Pilot or Proof of Concept (POC)
Planning for eDiscovery in the Cloud
Once you have signed up with the cloud service provider, you won’t have complete control over your documents, which can lead to additional issues. You and your cloud service provider have to work on handling these issues together. Here are some key considerations that you must keep in mind before making an eDiscovery request:
If you fail to preserve your data adequately or are unable to organize the proper litigation hold, you will be penalized with hefty sanctions from the court. A litigation hold refers to the process that ensures the identification, preservation, and maintenance of information. Your whole case might get dismissed, or the jury might be instructed to assume that the unavailable information was in favor of your opponent.
There might be some constraints with the way the provider operates, making the preservation of evidence even more complex. If you transfer the evidence into a format that is less accessible and more time-consuming and pricey to retrieve, you could also be sanctioned. The cost of data recovery will be borne by the litigant. So, it is crucial to ensure that you preserve the evidence that you might need for a litigation hold in an accessible format.
Before initiating the eDiscovery process, you have to identify the data that you might need in the dispute and the data custodians. You should have data maps that identify the custodians and locations of your files. After identifying the data within the scope of the issue, you have to start segregating the data that must be preserved from the one not subject to the litigation hold. You must already have a process in place in collaboration with your cloud service provider for segregating the data. It would be better if you ensure that your information is organized and segregated before launching the litigation hold.
Data Segregation and Identifying Data Custodians
What would happen if your contract expires before the data retention period ends? Should you make a copy of the data and retain it outside the cloud? For this, you will need data in a format that can be easily searched. You will also need software that can process the data. It might be useful to work in advance with the provider and learn about the data format and storage method appropriate for the circumstances. While negotiating the contract, ensure that your provider can cooperate during the litigation hold and figure out the associated costs. Ask about any additional costs, such as administrative fees, professional service fees, etc.
Cost and Duration of Storage
Plan for the tools, functionalities, and capabilities you will need. You must identify the custodians you will work with to obtain the required evidence. Putting in the efforts ahead of time will save you from a lot of time-consuming and painful work later.
Your Service Level Agreement (SLA) should cover the conditions for data access. There might be some limits or restrictions on the accessible volume of data. These issues must be identified early and ahead of time for the feasibility of access and involved procedures.
Your software should provide you the option to perform complex searches to find documents relevant to the subject matter. This includes the tools the host will provide and whether or not they are efficient. You can experiment with the tool’s search capabilities and learn if there are any other tools that you can use. Apart from this, you also have to ensure data integrity. The data should be intact and unmodified. Talk about the methodology used by the provider to ensure that the data retains its integrity.
When you have the right eDiscovery software and cloud service provider, you will be able to handle the process with ease. Casepoint has a robust process to collect, preserve, and process data within one cloud-based platform. This way, you will be able to streamline the chain of custody for litigation and investigations. It also reduces the costs and risks associated with collecting and processing data for your legal firm. Whatever challenges you face in regards to data collection, the Casepoint platform is the right choice.