Tuesday, October 26, 2010

E-Discovery: Addressing the Risks

By Rich Walsh of Viewpointe

At the heart of many risks facing companies today lurks e-discovery – the locating and accessing of electronically stored information (ESI) for purposes of litigation. ESI can be any electronically stored information – documents, emails, databases, etc. – potentially for use as evidence by lawyers in legal cases.

Compounding the risk to companies is the volume of data subject to e-discovery. In fact, the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists, a group dedicated to dealing with this problem, calls the deluge of electronically stored material used as evidence in civil actions the single biggest storyline in the legal world today.

In a recent cross-industry report commissioned by the Deloitte Forensic Center, “E-Discovery: Mitigating Risk Through Better Communication,” just 43 percent of the respondents felt that their companies were somewhat up for the e-discovery challenge. The report notes that in the e-discovery process legal, IT and other departments – those that don’t normally work together – are often thrown together “in a room” to do a difficult job under quite a bit of pressure. And with a lack of common language and systems among these groups, it only further muddies the process.

Where is all of this leading? The Deloitte report found that 49 percent of respondents expect their company’s IT department to have to work more on e-discovery efforts in the near future. So, on top of IT’s workload and limited budgets, adding new e-discovery work will further challenge their priorities. In preparation, companies will need to figure out, sooner than later, where (and even if) they have stored and can easily retrieve everything they might need to produce.

I’d love to hear from TAWPI members as how your companies may be preparing for this challenge. Any tips for colleagues? Share with us.

Rich Walsh is president, Document Archive & Repository Services at Viewpointe. He has more than 25 years of operational information technology experience.

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