Federation: The Key to Reducing eDiscovery Costs 

As organizations have transitioned over the past several years from storing business documentation in hard paper formats to purely electronic form, the process of legal discovery has evolved into from paper discovery to electronic discovery, or eDiscovery. However, this transformation has naturally been met with a wealth of associated new regulations and compliance demands. With so much structured and unstructured information to delve through, companies find themselves struggling to respond to litigation requests in a timely, cost-effective manner. 

At the start of each case, the litigator needs to collect, review, and share electronically stored information (ESI) taken from a variety of different outlets. But with countless sources and extensive volumes of data, often stored across multiple repositories, eDiscovery can quickly become an overwhelming and lengthy task. Not to mention, many lawyers lack the technical knowledge and experience necessary to meet basic e-discovery standards.

This blog looks at how federation can help dispel an organization’s eDiscovery hardships by simplifying search across multiple repositories, effectively managing legal holds for any number of systems, and ensuring high user adoption.

Reducing time and cost with simple searching 

The eDiscovery process starts by identifying any relevant content relating to a legal or regulatory matter by searching all repositories and identifying important information stored in:

  • network drives

  • email folders

  • content management systems

  • business applications

  • Databases

  • etc. 

Considering most organizations have numerous repositories for their enterprise content — the bulk of which are not communicating with one another — finding the desired information can seem like a near-impossible task. According to CMSWire, employees can spend over 30% of their day looking for information and often not even find what they’re looking for due to fragmented information management. 

Federation allows organizations to search multiple data sources and various systems simultaneously, consolidating information stored in disparate repositories company-wide. With federation capabilities, you can 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 where they are coming from. 

Gone are the days spent manually searching for content to respond to litigation requests. Federation can help improve both speed and accuracy when processing eDiscovery requests, minimizing business impact and ensuring a timely response while limiting the risk of case loss due to incomplete or incorrect responses. When time is money, organizations need federation on their side.

Discovery and legal holds across multiple systems

With classic eDiscovery processes, once the content is located, the litigator copies the document into the eDiscovery system to be assessed. In most cases, the eDiscovery system stores the copy in question, which means any legal holds on those documents in the source repository are conducted by manual, disconnected processes.

Federated document management links to the content from the source repository, rather than creating new copies. Not only does this consolidate the original information, centralizing control over relevant records and reducing the need for costly content migration, but it also simplifies the process of placing legal holds on the source document. 

A legal hold is a notification sent from an organization's legal team to employees instructing them not to delete or modify information that may be relevant to an active or anticipated investigation, such as an audit or litigation. Federation helps centralize this activity and allows users to place and remove holds in bulk, on as many records or content groups as needed, and across different, disparate repositories.  

Consolidating these records means past eDiscovery assessments can be reused for future eDiscovery cases, shortening the time needed to collect and evaluate the content, which helps organizations save significant time and money in the long term. 

Fast and comprehensive user adoption

Introducing new enterprise technologies is always a risk, as low adoption rates can mean money down the drain. On the reverse side, high user acceptance typically means the technology is conducive to employee productivity. With federation, enterprise-wide content is made available through one system. Users can access and manage content from a single user interface and perform simple or complex searches with a combined or filtered result set. 

Content federations are straightforward to implement and easy to use, with a “manage in place” mechanism that allows users to control and assess content from a single user interface. No costly user training or complex, risky content migrations that can deepen information silos and lead to human error. Users work in the environment they are accustomed to, meaning user adoption is guaranteed and fast. 

Conclusions

With discovery accounting for up to 50 percent of litigation costs in federal court, selecting the right eDiscovery technologies is vital. Many organizations may even choose to outsource a portion of the process, which can quickly lead to additional or unanticipated costs.

For those that decide against this adopting new eDiscovery technologies can bring about a slew of benefits for your organization. Federation can streamline eDiscovery processes with powerful, consolidated search capabilities and targeted information collection and assessment. Whether trying to bolster litigation discovery, audits, or online investigations, federation search capabilities facilitate content collection and application of legal holds for greater control over the discovery process at a fraction of the cost.