ZyLAB today published its annual “Tech Trends Overview”, featuring contributions from Mary Mack, Esq., Johannes Scholtes, PhD, and several other thought leaders in the fields of discovery and information management across the globe. This year’s overview identifies five eDiscovery and information management technology trends in 2011.
Protection of Personally Identifiable Information Was a Growing Concern as Data is More Easily Disclosed
Data protection concerns for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) emerged in 2011 as a hot topic and will continue to build steam in 2012. As cross-border litigation rises, so does the need for firm control on the type of information released. Johannes Scholtes says; “There is a strong need for redaction to comply with privacy regulations and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the US. With the correct tool this process can be automated. With the right protocols in place you can perform regular sweeps of your stored information to protect the organization from privacy breaches or potential damage to its brand.”
Limits on the Quantity of Custodians Added Pressure to Identify the Right People
Courts are limiting the number of custodians more and more often. Key players in the project are identified earlier and a more targeted, topic-oriented approach is taken. According to Mary Mack, “This is a strong trend I have noticed in the US. Superior investigatory search capabilities and classification structures are imperative to ensure the right custodians are chosen early in the process and the evidence that is crucial to proving or defending a company’s case is found.”
The Momentum of Data Governance Is Transforming eDiscovery into a Proactive Initiative
Cost and risk control are driving the trend towards proactive eDiscovery or legacy data clean-up. Scholtes continues; “Annual data clean-up reduces legal risks and makes it possible for data retention practices to match data retention policies. It also creates the corporate asset of knowledge management and knowledge sharing by structuring, de-duplicating and cleaning up legacy data. Companies are wise not to wait for litigation but to perform data clean-up on a regular, recurring basis. Using eDiscovery technology solutions in a proactive way enables one to identify and classify what they have with an emphasis on keeping information that is subject to legal hold. Companies then decide what to keep, what to share and what to delete. Data hoarding is becoming ‘less fashionable’ because of the potential risks. The data only has a real value to a company when the corporate knowledge is accessible and shared in a controlled manner.”
Organizations Sought In-House eDiscovery Systems that Can Be Used behind the Firewall or in the Cloud
ZyLAB’s experts expect the trend to bring eDiscovery in house to continue, although there has been a growing expectation for cloud-based eDiscovery systems (in addition to tools that reside behind the firewall) that can be leveraged “on demand” or “on command” by organizations with variable or infrequent litigation. Likewise, organizations sought more modern and flexible pricing models that yield greater predictability of costs in line with their use of the tool.
Organizations Seek eDiscovery Tools to Collect Data from Social Media, Multimedia Formats, and the Cloud
Concerns around data management in the cloud, dealing with complicated data sources like social media and alternative media sources such as audio, will continue to grow in 2012. Mary Mack says, “We are aware that IT now has to cope with the challenge of increasingly complicated discovery requests. Industry analyst firm, Gartner, predicts that by year-end 2013, half of all companies will have been asked to produce material from social media websites for eDiscovery. “
According to Gartner the phrase to remember is “If it exists, it is discoverable”. Mary continues: “It will be important for companies to have solid policies and practices in place for the collection and disclosure of this type of information where required, and to be very aware of the need for customization due to the regional differences among jurisdictions and courts on preservation and production. Specialized eDiscovery software can help. Tweets and information from Facebook, for example, can be collected by eDiscovery software based on queries or account information and subsequently preserved in an eDiscovery data repository”.