Q&A with Alon Israely of BIA (Business Intelligence Associates)

By Alon Israely (Profile)
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Friday, October 5th 2012
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VSM: What are a few key ways that organizations lower their eDiscovery costs?

AI: There are a few ways that organizations can reduce their eDiscovery costs. Firstly, an organization should put in place a first responder plan that includes the steps that should be taken when a new legal matter arises (e.g., litigation, regulatory examination, etc.) and which people in the organization are involved in that first response (i.e., it doesn’t need to be complicated, this can be one person from the Legal Department, such as a paralegal, or possibly a representative from Legal and an IT employee).

Secondly, a company can employ a web-based application to help facilitate the first-response plan (i.e., software such as TotalDiscovery which facilitates a gold-standard workflow for preservation tasks like legal hold notifications, data identification and gathering).

Lastly, an organization can manage outside counsel expectations and processes with respect to delivering relevant data to the outside counsel – that is, make sure that the Legal Department is driving the process with respect to identifying and gathering data within the corporate network and then handing that data to the outside counsel in the appropriate manner; this can all be accomplished using a tool like TotalDiscovery without major capital expense or a lot of expertise and training.

VSM: Are there trends in eDiscovery related to the surge in social media activity by employees using company devices like phones and laptops, etc.?

AI: There is currently a lot of ongoing industry discussion related to Social Networking and its role in eDiscovery. There have also been several cases that recently made headlines where important evidence was gathered from Social Networking sites, but there has not been a huge surge that many thought would occur. That said, the reality is that social networking has become a part of daily business, people use social networks during work hours for personal or social purposes and corporations are embracing social networking technologies to increase productivity and employee relations within the organization as well as using Social Networking technology as a marketing tool.

Because of that increase in the use of these types of platforms/technologies, it is imperative that eDiscovery keeps up with its pace of use in the market and service providers, experts and software vendors all keep an eye out on how these technologies will be implicated – e.g., BIA’s TotalDiscovery web-based eDiscovery application has the ability to easily identify and gather data from many popular social networking systems as part of the overall eDiscovery preservation and analysis workflow. At some point (likely sooner than we think), it will become par for the course for organizations to identify and gather relevant information from social networking systems just as email and local laptop data have become industry standard in eDiscovery today.

VSM: Can I simply drag-and-drop files to a central location and export emails from Outlook?

AI: No. Any handling of data related to a lawsuit or regulatory matter requires special handling processes – these are dangerous if performed manually and thus a tool or application specifically designed for eDiscovery or legal data management is key to protecting the company and preventing IT from having to testify or be questioned at depositions.