In an era of tightening regulations and continuous litigation, the ability to perform cost-effective and defensible eDiscovery is imperative to every modern organization. At the same time, organizations face the challenge of managing growing volumes of data in digital and often unstructured formats, most often stored in multiple, disparate systems.

All of these factors complicate an already complex process of information management, collection, assessment, review, and reporting, which can incur major costs and resources for organizations. To increase visibility into eDiscovery processes, improve the outcomes and streamline IT systems, organizations must leverage technology-assisted discovery to accomplish more and at a lower cost.

This blog explores the challenges associated with modern-day eDiscovery, takes a deeper look at the systems involved, and reveals the key features of a modern eDiscovery solution that can successfully address these increasingly complex challenges.

What is eDiscovery?

For a long time, it was known simply as “discovery.” Attorneys reviewed paper documents, spent days and weeks combing through hardcopy files, and carried boxes and briefcases to court to prove their case. But with the rise of computing, emails and digital documents such as spreadsheets and reports quickly needed to fit into the discovery process.

According to AIIM, electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, is the electronic aspect of identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a request for production in a lawsuit or investigation. ESI includes emails, documents, presentations, databases, voicemail, audio and video files, social media, websites, and many other forms of structured and unstructured data. As technologies evolve, new forms of electronic information continue to emerge, and the discovery process must continuously adapt to include these new forms of content.

The EDRM model below outlines the nine distinct stages of the eDiscovery process as they should unfold during an investigation – beginning with information governance and identification of information, to collection and preservation, and finishing with the presentation of relevant information.

 

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The challenges with eDiscovery

The eDiscovery process can be challenging for even the most experienced law firms, corporations, or agencies. With growing volumes of data and evolving data landscapes with multi-system models and siloed information, public sector agencies and organizations face increasing complexities in their efforts to procure effective eDiscovery solutions. 

The main challenges organizations face for eDiscovery today include:

Decreasing budgets

In today’s economic climate, organizations are cutting budgets, and legal or information governance departments are feeling the impact. 

Increasing data volumes 

Data continues to grow at an exponential rate which requires larger volumes of content for searching and culling. As the amount of data created doubles every 3-6 months, organizations need eDiscovery tools that can handle large volumes of data and a wide variety of formats. 

Increasing data types

Data now goes beyond the typical Word document, email, or Excel spreadsheet. There are newer file types, like audiovisual files, transcripts, phone data, chats, social media, or AutoCAD, that need to be indexed and discoverable. eDiscovery tools need the ability to search across different types of systems and locate many different content types. Therefore, finding an eDiscovery solution that can process uncommon file types such as audiovisual files, associated transcripts, or AutoCAD diagrams is critical.

Multiple data sources

According to AIIM, 52% of organizations have three or more content management systems, and 22% have five or more. The process of searching, collecting, and preserving responsive content across each system is expensive and time-consuming. 

Collaboration barriers

eDiscovery solutions must accommodate the reality of today’s multi-party matters, expansive work environments, and the need for internal and external collaboration while protecting the data. Logistics such as simultaneous access and role-based permissions can pose a challenge in eDiscovery processes.

Privacy and regulatory issues

With GDPR and other tightening compliance regulations, organizations must be wary at all times of securely managing confidential information and ensure that all personally identifiable information (PII) is secure or redacted when necessary throughout the eDiscovery process.

The Solution: Federated eDiscovery

Integrated eDiscovery solutions that include Federation technology eliminate risks and inefficiencies associated with eDiscovery for all types of organizations. The most effective eDiscovery solutions offer a centralized, unified system that delivers powerful search technology for greater control, flexibility, scalability, and data security at all stages of the eDiscovery process.

Federation technology allows users to search multiple data sources and systems simultaneously, consolidating information stored in disparate repositories to quickly retrieve and aggregate data from any number of content locations with just one search and one interface. Simply put, users can find what they’re looking for within seconds in a single search – kind of like Google for enterprise content. No need to think about where things are stored or from where they are coming.

The Main Benefits of Federated eDiscovery

Federated Records Management allows organizations to manage their records within a centralized interface or govern them in place from their existing legacy system. Some of the key benefits include the ability to:

  • Search across multiple data sources for identification of responsive content

  • Create Collections from multiple data sources that users can share internally and externally for collaboration and culling

  • Preserve responsive content with legal holds

  • Export that responsive content using EDRM XML formats and import into a Review and Processing system

 

To discover more about these benefits and discover the features of a modern eDiscovery solution, view the complete webinar, Beyond the Chaos: A Modern Approach to eDiscovery.

 

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