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Why Legal Departments Need a Tech Translator for Privacy, Compliance & eDiscovery

There is no denying that communication (or the lack thereof) can be an obstacle when it comes to reaching objectives. For a global organization this can mean the literal languages between stakeholders in different countries, but it can also mean the way different groups communicate through various terminologies (this week’s eDiscovery Blues™ highlights the often-cited problem of misunderstandings between legal and IT).

In a recent webinar, I discussed this topic with Hugo Teufel, Chief Privacy Officer at CenturyLink and Ryan Joyce, VP of Strategy at IPRO. Here are a few highlights from this conversation.

Translating Global and Departmental Cultures

“With respect to privacy, it is important to understand the differences in culture,” says Hugo Teufel. “You can count on the Germans and the French to be very focused on data protection, and on fundamental rights and freedoms, while the Brits and the Dutch come to mind as having a more pragmatic approach. And even within the United States, there could be actual cultural differences between, say, the South and the Northeast, or the Midwest, the Southwest, West, and the Pacific Northwest.”

There are also the different cultures between departments – legal, IT, compliance, privacy, business – who often speak different “languages,” and it’s helpful to have a tech translator who understands the needs of everyone involved.

Teufel adds, “It’s important to appreciate that when the IT folks say policy, they may be referring to automated processes, and when the lawyers talk about policies, they may well mean command media or writing a document that lays out how you’re supposed to do things.”

How Technology Can Help

By using technology with strong reporting capabilities, the legal team will be able to gain deep insight into data and begin evaluating ways to operate more efficiently. You’ll also want to find a solution that can easily move data from its source into analytics and review, while being able to handle the different data types (both cutting edge and legacy) your organization works with. It’s also important to find a technology partner who can create transparency between departments (both internal and external), as well as members within the legal team, which can lead to repeatable, measurable results.

“Having insights across all your enterprise data is needed,” says Ryan Joyce, “because it’s hard to report on what you don’t know. Whether it’s mail file servers, laptops, cloud storage like OneDrive or SharePoint or Box, or collaboration tools like Slack or Teams, or even cell phones.”

Joyce continues, “You need really good reporting to break all this down and translate it for the various departments like legal, risk, compliance, IT, and even the executive team. And you need the reports to be understandable by the various stakeholders within each of those groups. Hopefully your technology can do it for you. If not, then you have a lot of manual work to do.”

Considerations for Data Insights

Here are a few of the things you’ll want to report about your data to stakeholders, both within and without of legal:

  • What Data Exists
  • How Much Data Exists
  • Where is it Stored
  • Who Has Access
  • How is it Managed
  • What are Retention and Deletion Policies
  • What Source Systems Contain Unstructured Data
  • Is There Legacy Data Which Could Pose Challenges

Updating and Re-Establishing Communication

Once good communication and collaboration is established, regular meetings or check-ins may be needed to clarify any issues between those stakeholders which may arise as a result of implementing new processes.

Which is why it’s helpful for your tech translator to act as a liaison who can bridge the gap between Legal, IT, and other business units to help identify obstacles to communication that may be getting in the way of efficiency, as well as building the trust, alignment, and transparency needed for an agile global response regarding compliance, risk mitigation, privacy, and litigation.

Listen to the Full Webinar with Hugo Teufel and Ryan Joyce Here!

#2 Bridging the Gap: How In-House Legal Depts Can Effectively Communicate with IT, the C-Suite & Outside Stakeholders from IPRO eDiscovery & InfoGov on Vimeo.