eDiscovery and Information Management

eDiscovery is the process of collecting, culling/tagging and exporting electronic content that answers specific questions or requests resulting from an audit, law suit, or due diligence. This is obviously not a new concept as organizations have been trawling through paperwork looking for the right information for years, but what we are talking about here is moving this into an electronic platform. So what information may be electronically discoverable? Any information is the answer, which thanks to technology is increasing all the time. Information can exist on network file-shares, collaboration portals such as SharePoint, document management systems, email systems, instant message systems, hand-held devices, laptops etc.

In short eDiscovery solutions help organizations collect and categorize information stored in these different repositories. The ROI is unquestionable in certain situations, however, organizations can go a long way to implement an information management strategy to lessen the burden of eDiscovery.

The following points need to be taken into consideration:

1) eDiscovery works well if the information is electronic. If you have information on paper then this will either need to be digitized, or you will need to use the “old school” approach to discovery…or use both. So the first stage is to understand where your information exists.

2) You may have solutions like SharePoint co-existing with document management systems and network file-shares. The second stage is to understand what system manages which type of documents. Strategically there may need to be a consolidation of systems to simplify the architecture.

3) Should employees be storing information on their local machines/devices or should all the information be stored and managed centrally? Put together a security policy for taking the different types of documents outside of the organization. Perhaps consider an Information Rights Management solution to protect/control sensitive information from leaving the organization.

4) Implement a records retention policy that is guided by regulation and compliance. As more regulations are being put in place to govern content, a strong policy will make sure that all information is present and can be made available during discovery.