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Information Retention: Help Customers Prepare for eDiscovery

Information Retention: Help Customers Prepare for eDiscovery

In my June post, I mentioned information volumes grew 62 percent to 800,000 petabytes last year. This means that protecting, storing and managing all of this information is becoming an even greater challenge for your customers. Some companies approach the issue of information management indiscriminately, with no organization and little thought for what should be kept and what needs to be thrown away. But given the current emphasis on compliance and risk reduction, we're seeing businesses become increasingly concerned about their level of preparation for eDiscovery (electronic discovery) requests.

To see how companies are coping with the challenges of information management, Symantec fielded a survey of 2,000 enterprises throughout the world. We found that the scope of eDiscovery requests is changing, and that businesses vary widely in their information retention practices.

eDiscovery Is Changing

The survey results show that the records being requested are changing. In the past, email made up the majority of corporate electronic communications. Now, with more information passing back and forth through a variety of documents and files, email itself is now part of a larger group of communications media, and that is being reflected in eDiscovery requests. In fact, enterprises reported that email was only the third most commonly required record. Other documents and files, as well as database and application data, are now requested more often than email. Requests are also increasing for other popular forms of media such as social media posts and messages produced on phones and other mobile devices.

More Prepared Companies Fare Better

When facing an eDiscovery request, it's clear that timely and thorough compliance are important to receiving a favorable outcome. Businesses adhering to best practices were able to respond to information requests in one-third of the time that unprepared businesses needed. Working with your customers to help them proactively implement an information retention policy will offer a measure of protection in the event of legal action. The case for putting a policy in place is pretty clear:  unprepared businesses suffer court-imposed sanctions more than four times as often, and find themselves in a compromised legal position nearly twice as much.

Your Call To Action

You can help keep your customers out of hot water by helping them be proactive and prepared to produce electronic records if needed. Here are a few ways to make sure your customers are ready.

  • Work with your customers to develop an information retention plan, or evaluate the effectiveness of their current plan.
  • As part of the plan preparation, help clients identify where all electronically stored information is stored.
  • Conduct litigation exercises with your clients to assess their preparedness level, and implement advanced legal hold processes to minimize the risk of noncompliance.
  • Ensure that your customers are using backup for recovery and archiving for discovery.
You  can help your customers to be prepared and minimize the impact when legal discovery comes knocking.  And remember–it's not if, it's when.  Are your customers ready?

Randy Cochran is VP of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship program. Read all of Cochran's guest blogs here.
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