Introduction to Slack Data
Slack is one of the most popular platforms that facilitate communication in a digital workplace. With this communication tool, businesses have been able to stay afloat during the pandemic. In fact, it has even managed to replace traditional communication tools, such as email. It works best for workplaces that want to have real-time, free-form discussions. It offers features like conversational messaging, document sharing, and even rapid-fire emojis. What’s best is that it even allows you to transmit at varying levels of access. With the right integration apps, you will be able to increase and simplify information sharing. As Slack proliferates into the corporate world, another aspect has become common—discovery requests for Slack data. In this article, you will learn about how you can ensure proper cloud data collections for Slack.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the way eDiscovery is handled. If you are involved with litigation, there are a few challenges that you might face because of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the new data sources created by “work from home” policies, difficulty of remote collection, prohibitions or limitations on remote transfer, difficulty in communication changes and feedback, and more. However, the right eDiscovery workflow, technology, and process can help you navigate through these challenges.
Before we get into a plan you should get familiar with a few common terms used within the Slack platform:
The Slack environment is known as the workspace. In the case of small to medium-sized companies, you only need one workspace. But, if you work in a large company, you might need several workspaces that are connected to the Slack Enterprise Grid.
In the workspace, you can create private or public channels where members can have group discussions. Private channels are dedicated to specific teams and are accessible only through an invite, whereas public channels are open to everyone in the workspace.
If you want one-off interactions, you can use the private messaging feature on Slack. If you want to interact with a small group of people, multi-person messages are the right option.
Direct and Multi-person Messages
One of the most powerful features offered by Slack is integration with third-party applications. There are over 2,000+ integrations so that you can use apps within Slack and collaborate efficiently. You won’t have to switch tabs or double-check other applications.
Third Party Integrations
In each workspace, you can define roles and permissions. Here are the different roles that you should know about:
Owners – This role has the highest level of permission. A workspace can have multiple owners, but there is only one “primary owner” who has the power to transfer the ownership to someone else or delete the workspace.
Admins – A workspace can have multiple admins, who have the second-highest permission level. They can invite and delete members, maintain administrative tasks, and moderate channels.
Members – This includes every member in the organization joining your workspace. Apart from the ability to communicate with other members, they will have access to all the public channels and can create their own channels.
Guests – These are users without full access to the public channels of your workspace. They can only access relevant channels. These users can be a consultant or a vendor you hire.
Roles & Permissions
Understanding Your Slack Plan
To ensure that you understand the eDiscovery purposes for Slack, you have to first understand your company’s plan. There are three types of business plans:
This plan is suited for small and medium-sized companies. It offers custom retention policies for your files and messages.
Just like Pro, this plan is also designed for small and medium-sized companies. Apart from custom retention policies, it also offers for your messages.
This plan is for large enterprises that have a complex structure. Apart from the features offered by the Pro and Business+ plan, it provides support for integrations with eDiscovery, data loss prevention, and offline backup providers. It also provides features like audit logs API, Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) integration, and a single view of platform integration management.
Understanding Slack data
Slack integrates with more than 2,000 apps. With its neat customizations, file-sharing options, and shortcuts, you will have maximum functionality. In fact, Slack even lets you build your own apps.
You can share a link, send a gif, edit or delete messages, and start a thread with a click of a button. However, all these features have also made the eDiscovery process more complex. Dynamic data is harder to identify, export, and process the data in a wide range of formats. So, without a proper eDiscovery plan, the exported will be in the form of a JSON file. You won’t have any contextual information and even a diligent legal team will have to put in extended time to review the data. Read on to learn more about and how to export and retain data in Slack:
Accessing Slack records is difficult. The type of Slack plan you opt for will impact how you retrieve it. Currently, all workplace administrators and owners can export data from public channels, including public files and messages, integration activity logs, and archived channels. However, the process of accessing records from direct messages and private channels is difficult. For free and standard plans, you have to request access for reporting workspace data. You will have to provide one of the following:
- Consent of members
- Valid legal process
- A requirement under applicable laws
Enterprise users can export all public and private data and even integrate third-party applications for exporting, archiving, and retaining files continuously.
Exporting Slack data
Slack offers “Corporate Export” or “Standard Export” options to export. In the standard export option, all workplace administrators and owners can export public data. This includes all the messages in the public channels and links to publicly-shared files. You can also access deletion and edit logs for public messages. However, you can limit the data you export by date range.
The option is available to people on the Plus plan. With this export option, you can export private data as well, including messages in private channels, direct messages between users, and deletion and edit logs. Administrators can schedule regular exports and organize the data by channel. Each day’s messages will be collected in a JSON file.
Obtaining Data Through Corporate and Standard Exports
Slack allows you to customize your file retention policies. You can either opt to retain messages forever, delete messages and revisions after a certain duration, retain messages, not revisions and set your own retention policies.
Data Retention in Slack
Options for Slack eDiscovery
Currently, there are two ways you can collect data for eDiscovery from Slack:
- An admin has to make a request for standard exports.
- You can integrate Slack with eDiscovery software that will give you all the resources you need.
Slack eDiscovery Implementation Plan
Whether you have never tried eDiscovery for already have taken some action, there are certain steps that can ensure a successful plan. Please note that this is an adaptive guide that you can modify to fit your requirements:
It is not uncommon to second-guess the need for a plan. Before you make the decision, you have to examine how you use Slack. This will help you figure out what plan of action suit your requirements. For example, if you have a thousand employees who engage regularly on Slack, you might have to deal with a larger data set and higher stakes. In such cases, relying on Slack corporate exports won’t be enough and you might have to go for an eDiscovery software like Casepoint.
Understand Your Requirements
Now that you have an understanding of your needs, you have to ensure that your Slack plan and data retention policies meet those requirements. You want your legal team to review data from different channels and messages. And, without the right tools, you won’t be able to collect or scan those messages with ease. A small oversight can cost you a lot of money. So, make sure that you reassess your Slack plan’s capabilities and think about integrating it with a powerful eDiscovery software like Casepoint.
Reassess Your Plan and Retention Policies
You must have clear guidelines on how employees have to use the platform and how it will be monitored. This includes indicating confidential channels and information, words or behaviors that might be reported or flagged, and your message retention policy.
Establish a Company-wide Slack Policy
In order to have a strong plan, you should use trusted eDiscovery software. You might think that since litigation happens rarely, you might feel like this is overspending. However, if you wait for a complicated situation, you might end up spending a lot of money. Before you buy an eDiscovery software, here are certain requirements you should look out for:
- Choose what data you gather and preserve
- Sync and archive workspace data continuously
- Place custodians on legal hold
- Connect to the to ensure you are able to extract data
- Turn JSON files into different formats
Apart from these features, it should also offer other features like top-tier security measures, flexible deployment, and advanced search capabilities.
Implement an eDiscovery Software for Slack
The Future of eDiscovery Post-Pandemic
As remote work is the new standard, you might be facing challenges regarding company policies and maintaining security. There might be some mishandling of data. Improperly stored data might interfere with legal holds and the data collection process. You might be confused regarding who is responsible for the custody, control, and possession of data. here are complications you might face, but you can limit any future disputes regarding the eDiscovery process.
These new challenges are bound to require some extra effort on your part in the eDiscovery process. However, it will help reduce the fallout during litigation. In case there is an issue with your obligations, make a note of it and make sure that you are forthcoming about your disputes. As long as you can show that you made reasonable efforts for protecting data, you will be able to avoid any fines or sanctions.
With an eDiscovery software like Casepoint, you will be able to collect data directly from the source. The Slack Enterprise data will be pulled from the Slack environment for processing and review. There won’t be any need for a middle man and no more unnecessary import and export steps. Moreover, you can define the data you need. Casepoint enables you to target specific Slack channels, identify the channels a particular user is associated with, and more. You won’t have to deal with any other third-party software as Casepoint will handle everything.