Businesses Must Limit Data To Manage Litigation Costs Better

Extract from article by Peter Ostrega

Technology itself is helping practitioners keep up with the scope of eDiscovery. The integration of analytics technologies such as email threading, near-duplicate detection and coding propitiation and TAR workflows are replacing massive human document reviews.

Beyond those broad-scale improvements, however, there are three straightforward steps that businesses can take to limit the impacts of distributed data, mobile devices and explosive data growth on eDiscovery.

1. Understand your data

You must know where your data is, what it contains and who controls it if you want to effectively manage your information and contain the costs and burdens of eDiscovery. Work with your IT professionals to create strong, defensible information-governance policies and up-to-date data maps. Having comprehensive knowledge about what types of data your business generates, what data might be relevant and discoverable, where that data is located and who controls its distribution puts you ahead of the curve when it comes time to collect and preserve eDiscovery.

2. Define clear BYOD policies 

If your company uses a BYOD policy, clearly define what that policy means both for the company and for the employees who use their personal mobile devices for work. Explain the terms of ownership and control of company and personal data in an employee handbook or in a separate BYOD agreement. Require that your employees sign off on these policies, indicating that they understand their privacy rights, responsibilities, and limitations.

These policy terms do more than just simplify eDiscovery: a BYOD policy can also act as an information security policy, safeguarding confidential company information.

3. Eliminate legacy data

Develop strong records retention policies in conjunction with your IT professionals and an independent information-management expert. No matter how cheap your digital storage is, keeping outdated information can be a tremendous waste of company resources. Proactively examine what data you need to keep, what you can delete and how you manage your data archives. This may cause budgeting headaches: litigation is typically categorized as a nondiscretionary budget item, while information governance and records retention both generally fall within discretionary spending. Businesses that do not understand the litigation cost savings gained by strictly managing records and information—which can be in the millions—can end up making poor long-term decisions. Do not fall into the trap of cost being a “today” problem and risk being a “tomorrow” problem.

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