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Pull IT And Legal Teams Together--Now
E-discovery is a complex process that has intricate technological and legal requirements. That's why it's essential that your IT and legal teams coordinate their e-discovery efforts. For instance, IT may assume that legal wants every electronic file saved forever. It doesn't. Meantime, the legal department may assume that IT has some Google-like capability to magically produce relevant information. It doesn't. The sooner you move beyond these assumptions, the sooner these two groups can design and implement effective e-discovery processes.
Follow (And Enforce) Your Policies
When it comes to your organization's ability to find and produce electronically stored information, opposing counsel and court judges will probe for--and pounce on--operational practices that deviate from written policy. For example, if your policy is to overwrite backup tapes every two weeks, but in a deposition your storage manager says there are boxes and boxes of old tapes that were never overwritten, you can bet opposing counsel is going to ask for those tapes to be searched.
Separate Backups From Archives
Backup tapes are best suited for disaster recovery and business continuity, in which case an organization stores data for a relatively short period of time, from a few days to several months. For longer-term information retention, an archive is the smartest approach because it can help an organization classify data, apply appropriate retention periods, dispose of data safely, and search and retrieve ESI as necessary.
Don't Create A Litigation Target
Deciding what not to keep is just as important as what to keep when it comes to archival and related e-discovery concerns. You should keep certain documents, such as tax or environmental records, contracts, or specific project files, for business and legal reasons. But to reduce the size of the target you present to potential adversaries, avoid storing everything.
Purge Or Recycle Tapes
Carefully examine and eliminate tapes that don't contain anything subject to litigation or retention requirements. This process needs to be carefully documented. Keep in mind, the best time to do this is when there's no pending litigation and you have no reasonable anticipation of litigation.