You don’t have to be Governor Chris Christie to be enmeshed in a legal investigation at work. If your office is either facing or filing a lawsuit, make sure your team is prepared to handle requests from legal counsel and challenges related to email—and related litigation costs.
What is eDiscovery?
The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) defines eDiscovery this way:
Discovery is the term used for the initial phase of litigation where the parties in a dispute are required to provide each other relevant information and records, along with all other evidence related to the case.
At the federal level, Rules 26 and 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure cover the legal discovery of electronic information, according to The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Not only must your office be able to retrieve specific email, you may be asked, under these federal rules, to identify your process for preserving and being able to retrieve email.
What does this mean for your business? Eye-opening as this statement is, all company-related email must be viewed in the light of potential evidence, as one of our earlier blogs reported (An Email Archiving System Can Preserve the Evidence You Need for Legal Actions, Court Cases, and HR Challenges).
What are the email-related risks involved in litigation, or eDiscovery?
- Assuming that your office server has the capacity to store all your emails, retrieving specific email stored on your server is surprisingly time-consuming and not always successful.
- The required data may be corrupted, infected with a virus, or even lost.
- Even if it can be found, the search for specific data stored on your office back-up system eats up time, causing staff to leave other work idling.
- There is always the chance of retrieving the wrong data as well.
- The emails sought may have been erased.
- You run the risk of a privacy exposure by undergoing a search for email on your office system. Worse, the discovery effort might reveal information that you may have preferred be left unearthed.
- In a federal inquiry, requests for emails come with deadlines and, as indicated above, are laden with federal compliance rules. Running afoul of those is not recommended.
- A quick scan of all the risks just listed makes it clear that attempting to retrieve locally stored emails is a costly undertaking.
Risk mitigation is available and simple
The good news is that you can lower high litigation costs and especially the risk of non-compliance in federal lawsuits simply by choosing a trusted, experienced, cloud-based email archiving and retrieval service that can quickly, accurately, and appropriately retrieve just those specific emails requested, or subpoenaed, by legal counsel.
Today’s technology goes farther, allowing companies’ managers to set up a type of early warning alert for potential problems in the form of email alerts using key words. This early warning system effectively reduces risk by alerting management to a potential problem at a very early stage.
Using a trusted partner for your email archiving and retrieval service has the further advantages of preventing the risk of stolen or lost data, while ensuring the privacy of the data stored in your office email system.
Compliance, cost reduction, and early warning systems—key reasons to consider cloud-based email archiving and retrieval using a trusted and experienced partner.