Many companies are insufficiently prepared for data requests. When a regulator comes calling, action needs to be taken immediately. All possibly relevant data is then handed to external legal services. As a result, control over the process, the costs, and the data is lost. There has to be a better way!
One of the 12 competencies in the CLOC Legal Operations Maturity Model (https://cloc.org) is for a company to be able to maintain control of your data when a large data inquiry is made. For good reason, as data requests and related fact-finding missions in electronically stored data are becoming more and more frequent. In addition to traditional requests from regulators, internal investigations, (compliance) audits and legal conflicts, the rise of GDPR and the seizure of electronic evidence. Additionally, there’s so much data to manage nowadays, that the ability to analyze and search mailboxes and file shares is a useful one to have.
Improve the process
Data requests, frequently concern the most confidential information an organization has: emails from the Board, patents, strategic contracts with suppliers and clients, etc. Confidentiality aside, it is difficult to change advisers (for example, if a conflict of interest arises), or to be actively involved in the process when the data in question is no longer in-house. How to manage this process better? In the past, the only way to do this was to purchase expensive software and set up a serious internal IT-project. Thankfully, those days are now behind us: now, there are lawyer-designed, SaaS-based solutions that enable users to do it themselves thanks to great user-friendliness.
You receive your login credentials and control of the system and all the data you put into it. Data can easily be uploaded, and the system does most of the hard work for you thanks to AI-based technology. These systems, being purpose-built, often have cyber security measures in place that are superior to in-house IT-systems. Pricing is done on a per-Gigabyte basis, meaning you only pay for what you use, without a need for large investments or IT-projects.
No time like the present
But why get ready now, even if there currently isn’t a large-scale data request on the horizon? Well, when that request does come in, there’s no time left for a competitive purchase process, let alone for testing or training users. That’s why it’s important to take action now, especially since the time required and costs associated are limited:
- Try it out! Most suppliers offer pilots. Run a test with a large dossier or a large set of contacts. Testing often works best with data you’re already familiar with;
- Pick a solution and sign a contract with the supplier – arrange issues of security and privacy (GDPR) with them and determine what you wish to do yourself and what you require assistance with;
- Train your users – typically this won’t take more than half a day to do. Most suppliers have an e-training environment with videos and hands-on tutorials.
- Involve your external counsel in the decision to take control of your data. Let your counsel use the system as well. Oftentimes they’ll be familiar with the system, if they aren’t, they too can make use of the e-training to familiarize themselves;
- Discuss the change with IT beforehand:
- Explain that legal search is fundamentally different from traditional searching with keywords, and that you require specialized tools to perform it. Tools that can handle large and complicated queries, create a legally defensible chain of custody, have the required reporting capacity, and possess specific tools such as automatic redaction and machine learning-assisted searching;
- Test the integrations with Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, File Shares, or Office 365.
In practice, we typically see a reduction in cost of over 90% when companies retake control of their eDiscovery efforts. Do you want to know more? Download our whitepapers or view one of our webinars.