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eDiscovery: Is it in Your IT Security Strategy?

An Engineer’s perspective

The term “eDiscovery” is the extension of an already well-established discovery process, used in conjunction with Electronically Stored Information (ESI) ordinarily owned by an organisation.

ESI may include word processing files, email messages, spread sheets, voicemails, presentations, tweets, Facebook posts and all other relevant communication, or information that might be used in a court of law. eDiscovery can extend to any platform on which ESI is stored.

Today, organisations store vast quantities of ESI, which is often a challenge as there are significant legal implications associated with preserving, searching, and producing data; the following questions often arise:

1. How will content be searched for and how will information be exported into a format that can be easily handed off for eDiscovery requests?

2. How can users be provided with the most beneficial collaboration tools and technologies, but also have their everyday business operations protected?

The new eDiscovery capabilities in Microsoft SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013, and Lync 2013 address both of the aforementioned questions.

eDiscovery is a critical process that occurs early in civil litigation matters and involves the exchange of information between parties involved in a lawsuit, or other legal proceedings. The implications differ depending on the eDiscovery activities in question; some of which include, the ability to search for relevant content, the archival of electronic information, the ability to modify content deletion policies, how storage systems are managed, and how corporate policies are developed and risk is managed.

The importance of eDiscovery should not be underestimated, as it is one of the primary drivers for deploying archiving systems, and carries significance with regard how an organisation retains, stores and manages their electronic content. A failure in the proper management of eDiscovery, can carry with it serious ramifications. Backup tapes are a poor method for preserving discoverable content because extraction of this content is potentially time-consuming, expensive and may not produce all of the required information.

With the help of Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange and Lync, organisations are now able to reduce the time and mitigate against legal risks associated with eDiscovery, by utilising In-Place Hold, near real-time search, and the ability to handle a wider range of content, all of which are features available with version 2010 and above. With the built-in eDiscovery in Microsoft SharePoint and Exchange, organisations are able to perform a search across SharePoint, Exchange and Lync, as well as file shares, all from a single location. In addition to this, organisations are also able to protect content in SharePoint and Exchange using In-Place Hold as well as identify and reduce the amount of content with eDiscovery queries, and export the results into an offline format that can be handed off for legal review.

The bullets below illustrate the high-level benefits of utilising eDiscovery with SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013 and Lync 2013:

  • In-Place Hold: Protect content in-place and in real time with higher fidelity and reduced storage costs, without affecting the daily work of your users.
  • Query: Get up-to-date, relevant content and statistics quickly to help you answer questions fast. Export: Transfer relevant content out of the system into an offline and portable format.
  • More content: Preserve, search, and export documents, email messages, OneNote files, webpages, community posts, micro blogs, Lync IMs, and more.
Categorised Under: Unified Communications

4th Jun 2014