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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Preservation

Preservation for eDiscovery has become a complicated, multi-faceted, evolving concept. Starting with the nebulous determination of when the duty to preserve arises, then continuing into the litigation hold process and the staggering volumes of material which may need to be preserved (ESI and hard copy) in multiple global locations, platforms and formats, the task of preservation is an enormous challenge for the modern litigator.

Seeking a foundation in reasonableness, wrestling with the scope of preservation is often an exercise in finding an acceptable balance between offsetting the risks of spoliation and sanctions related to destruction of evidence, against allowing the business client to continue to operate its business in a somewhat normal fashion.

I am curious if anyone has developed a standard approach and/or best practices within your organziations, whether on the legal side or the business / IT side to address the mutlitude of issues and constantly changing expectations surrounding Preservation?

Further, I am interested in hearing from any vendors that have developed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering to support and/or automate the preservation process.

In the weeks to come, I will be posting my research and own ideas on this subject along with all of your resopnses.

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4 Comments:

At October 22, 2007 at 12:28 PM , Blogger Jeremy said...

With the sensitivity of the data being preserved, why are you only looking at vendors who are offering a hosted solution to automate the litigation communication and preservation processes? It would seem to me that most companies who are looking to automate these critical processes would be better served with in-house software.

Can you give more insight into what your study will be covering?

 
At October 23, 2007 at 5:29 PM , Blogger Charles Skamser said...

I am a strong advocate of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and therefore I am only investigating vendors that have a solution supporting this technology. In regards to what I believe is your reference to security, one of my criteria for rating these vendors will be the quality (i.e. level of security and SLA's, etc.) of their hosting partner.

What do you mean by in-house software and why do you beleive that it would be a better platform?

 
At November 7, 2007 at 3:43 PM , Blogger Jeremy said...

I agree that there are many areas where the SaaS model better serves end users and corporations. That being said, I have doubts that eDiscovery management is one of these areas. A few of the concerns that come to mind are:

1) Since the data is hosted on 3rd party hardware & at their locations, what happens when the hosting provider is required to produce data itself? Either for unrelated litigation, or by the petitioning party of the initial matter, would they be compelled to produce?

2)If a company which provides hosted eDiscovery solutions enters into bankruptcy, how would a company have access to their data? Would their data get placed into escrow with all other assets thereby requiring their customers to go through escrow courts to regain possession of their data?

3)One of the key values of having in-house software, aka traditional enterprise software, is the connectivity to other systems. Having a live link to global HR systems or Matter Management systems can greatly extend the value of the eDiscovery solution. While companies operating with a Saas model can still connect to these systems, they will require opening up part of those systems to the outside world. This can be secured as well s possible, but at the very least it provides a potential access point for hackers. In addition, some international privacy laws may render such a connection illegal.

In short there are many issues which I see as potential show-stoppers for corporations who are looking to implement a reliable, good faith eDiscovery process.

The successful alternative that I have seen at many corporations is the traditional enterprise software model with a server installed behind company firewalls, authentication by Single Sign On and access via the web from anywhere in the company.

I definitely believe as you are researching this area that you should expand your research and include enterprise software vendors in addition to any SaaS vendors you may find.

 
At November 30, 2007 at 4:37 PM , Blogger Douglas said...

Hi Charles,

We at Digital Syphon, an Autonomy Partner are a e-discovery and Data Collection company that offers exactly the model you are refering to. Our Software as a service (SaaS) model is tailored around the new FRCP rules. Please go to http://www.digitalsyphon.com or more specifically http://www.digitalsyphon.com/Ediscovery/DSDCC.ASP

Regards,
Doug Jauregui
Digital Syphon

 

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