With the increase in unstructured enterprise data over the past few years, including information in collaboration apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other tools, corporate legal should absolutely be thinking carefully about how their organizations manage that data.
In fact, a January 2022 article from Tech Jury states that “80-90% of the data we generate today is unstructured” because clients, employees, and partners are communicating with companies “through social media using a PC, surfing the company website on mobile, making a purchase using a tablet, and contacting customer service via email. As such, all data are generated from the same person but come in different forms.” As a result, “95% of businesses cite the need to manage unstructured data as a problem for their business.”
So, what does this have to do with legal department? This is exactly what we tried to capture in this month’s eDiscovery Blues cartoon. If a company is creating all of this unstructured data every day, and a triggering event like an internal investigation, a compliance audit, or an impending litigation arises, trying to sort through that data to find what is needed is going to take more than a pair of shovels.
Data Archiving to the Rescue
This is where data archiving comes in: with it, you can immutably capture 100% of your business records, including entire mailboxes, data locations, collaboration spaces, attachments, calendars, drafts, folder structures, chat and SMS, emojis, and other properties.
By doing this, companies can mitigate the risk of non-compliance fines or ESI spoliation sanctions by ensuring legal teams, compliance regulators, HR, and other business units have fast and easy access to the information they need.
And the best thing is, it’s fully automated and scalable (can you imagine having to manage enterprise data manually?!). IT can set up customized retention schedules to make sure data that’s needed stays, and data that isn’t needed can be defensibly deleted.
Data Archiving, Legal Hold, and Live EDA
When you combine data archiving with eDiscovery tools for legal hold and Live Early-Data-Assessment (EDA), you automatically lock in data preservation for information where it resides, while providing a unified view of all on-premises and cloud data, which gives legal and investigative teams the ability to determine key case facts in a matter of minutes, versus hours or days.
This not only mitigates risk by keeping data in-house, it also reduces legal spend, because only the most relevant electronically stored information (ESI) will need to be sent to outside counsel for review.
So, if managing unstructured data is one of your company’s priorities for 2022, legal teams must be included in discussions on how any archiving solution integrates with their current eDiscovery tools and processes. It just might help fulfill one more resolution.