Guest post by Steven Rodin.
E-discovery can quickly get out of hand, sometimes costing millions of dollars. An example was seen in the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, where one single e-discovery request cost taxpayers over $6,000,000.
Thankfully, there are third-party solutions available that can help lower some of the administration and legal costs associated with e-discovery.
It is important for the IT personnel in charge of e-mail administration and e-mail archives to clearly understand what their responsibilities are (what they must do, and how quickly it must be delivered) when asked to provide information as part of an investigation or trial.
Because of the need for access, any cloud-based service must carry with them a guarantee of uptime, availability, and rapid search capability. This can be requested when crafting your service-level agreement.
Although it is the responsibility of the IT department to provide the technical foundation for searching archival data, the most ideal solution is to provide a utility that allows for the requester to conduct the investigation directly. Providing such an interface relieves the IT staff from the mundane task of conducting an extensive search. It also allows the legal department to be more efficient in their research. This interface need not be limited to the legal department. Every department may have their own legitimate reasons for requesting archived information.
For purposes of compliance with various regulations, though, an audit trail must be available to show who has accessed the resources, and when. All access of the e-mail archives should be governed by authorization schemes and authentication procedures.
Furthermore, an executive e-discovery policy should be put in place. Such a policy would be governed by internal procedures and government regulations concerning storage of this data.
When using a cloud-based service however, e-discovery needs must be kept in mind from the beginning. It’s important to take into account the ease of search, data security, and the authentication and authorization procedures that are in place governing access.
Moving your IT infrastructure to the cloud can be a great way to save time and money. And if you do your homework, it can also help you maintain better regulatory compliance in case of a discovery request.
Steven Rodin is president of Storagepipe Solutions and an expert in business continuity topics such as e-mail archiving and server backup.