The December 2006 amendments to the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure established various digital data types, including email, as viable sources of evidence. The amendments created guidelines regarding how electronically stored information (ESI) is to be managed and produced throughout the discovery processes.
Initially, there were few published opinions addressing organizations that may have failed to properly manage ESI. This has recently changed—a July 2010 report issued by Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, LLP, a well known global law firm, indicated that more than 100 federal and state court opinions addressing electronic discovery were issued in the first half of 2010.¹ The report found that sanctions were sought in 30% of the cases, with sanctions awarded in 68% of those cases.
Not only do companies have to worry about the penalties that can be levied when ESI is mismanaged, but they must also grapple with ways to reduce electronic discovery costs. Many organizations outsource all aspects of ESI to specialized consultants, legal service providers, and external counsel. That option has become cost-prohibitive as the volume of corporate data—especially email, the most commonly requested source of ESI—continues to increase.
This TechBrief considers how the latest release of Symantec Enterprise Vault can enhance an organization’s ability to archive, manage, and discover corporate ESI scattered across a broad range of content sources.
With Enterprise Vault 9.0, organizations are able to consolidate email and other ESI from any source across the organization into a central repository. That’s important because although email is the most frequently requested form of ESI, research from the Enterprise Strategy Group shows that many other data types should also be managed as part of the overall electronic discovery process.²
Enterprise Vault pulls ESI from multiple sources, including:
- Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino
- .pst files and .nsf archives
- Microsoft SharePoint Server portals
- File servers
- Databases and ERP systems
- Instant messaging systems
- Blackberry SMS and PIN
- Bloomberg and Reuters
- Laptop and desktop computers
With Enterprise Vault 9.0, organizations also now have two powerful tools to streamline the discovery process.
- Discovery Collector. The explosive growth of ESI poses a significant challenge to the traditional discovery process. Adding complexity to the process, ESI can be located across a broad spectrum of sources, many of which are beyond the reach of typical information management controls. Symantec’s Discovery Collector, which is offered as an add-on for Enterprise Vault 9.0, provides a way to collect, assess, and deduplicate data “in the wild”—that is, outside the archive. Discovery Collector enables organizations to gain visibility into unstructured data wherever it exists, whether in network servers, file stores, desktops, or on laptops. By indexing this unstructured data and adding it to the archive, Discovery Collector enables true early case assessment of multiple content sources from one user interface, dramatically reducing both litigation risks and e-discovery costs.
- Discovery Accelerator. Corporate counsel and other designated users can begin collection and analysis activities using Enterprise Vault’s Discovery Accelerator application. This solution provides the ability to quickly search an Enterprise Vault repository for relevant information. Discovery Accelerator users can save searches and schedule them to rerun so they can be sure to capture any new information that enters the archive. After locating relevant information within Discovery Accelerator, users can “tag” messages or groups of messages. The tags may tie the message to a key issue in the case, highlight if the data is privileged, or denote an instruction such as “needs further review.” The latest release of Discovery Accelerator allows data to be deduplicated in review before export to reduce legal processing and review costs.
Enterprises today are experiencing more frequent electronic discovery events that involve email and other unstructured data than ever before. Enterprise Vault, together with Discovery Collector and Discovery Accelerator, provides a platform that enables organizations to store, manage, and discover unstructured information across the enterprise. Ultimately, combining this proactive approach with the ability to respond quickly to unforeseen events can reduce the amount of time required to complete many electronic discovery tasks and minimize the risk that important information is lost or mismanaged.
¹ Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher, “2010 Mid-Year Electronic Discovery and Information Law Update,” July 2010
² Enterprise Strategy Group, “Electronic Discovery Requirements Escalate,” November 2007