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Blog Post

February 10, 2017

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Information Governance and e-discovery

By John Desborough

Information Governance: Three things you should know about e-discovery

If the word "e-discovery" puts terror in your heart, you are not alone. Discovery is a formidable task and has become more difficult with modern technology. No longer is discovery just going through a few filing cabinets - even routine litigation regularly requires scouring everything from computers, phones to third-party servers for relevant information. In the case of class-actions, e-discovery often requires even greater expense and effort.

It is not overwhelming if you keep these three basic points in mind about e-discovery:

A company must preserve potentially relevant information - when involved in litigation, it has a duty to preserve any information in its possession that might be relevant to the claim. This duty may actually arise before the suit is filed and continues until the action is completely concluded. Often the sheer volume of the potentially relevant information makes e-discovery in class actions expensive and time consuming - the duty to preserve evidence can encompass everything from text messages to digital time punches, and may extend beyond company equipment to personal devices

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Establish proactive policies for the digital workplace - every company should have a comprehensive digital governance plan to address the issues inherent in the digital workplace. If you allow or require employees to use their personal devices for work, then clear policies setting forth the requirements and responsibilities are required.

Make it a team effort - implementing proactive policies and responding to active litigation should combine the professional expertise of legal, technical and leadership teams. Leadership needs to understand the software issues underlying the preservation of electronic data in order to implement the most effective policies. IT needs to under stand the seriousness of the duty to preserve in order to be able to assess and limit the scope of the data that falls into e-discovery.

In summary, in order to reduce the risk of facing huge sanctions and/or fines, start looking at how your Information Governance policies are dealing with the (potential) needs related to e-discovery - now!

 

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John Desborough is a Director, Consulting and Technology Solutions at MNP. He is an accomplished business solutions program manager and business transformation architect with 30+ years in the information and technology consulting domain. John has extensive background in information management and governance with both public and private sector clients on a global scale. Drop John a line to discuss this topic in more detail: john.desborough@ahundredanswers.com