In this electronically stored information (ESI) dominated world, it’s easy to forget that some people have only a vague view of what eDiscovery really means. We’ve decided to take a step back and examine the meaning behind eDiscovery, so take a cup of coffee and enjoy this primer.
eDiscovery is known in legal circles as just plain “discovery”. This is to help strengthen the concept that discovery isn’t a new idea, and it’s not limited to the digital era of information. Discovery is the process of saving and producing records and other evidence types pertaining to an activity that may be the subject of litigation. Discovery practices tend to get rolling as soon as the threat of litigation comes up, for example receipt of a legal letter or even when an employee departs in unhappy circumstances.
eDiscovery is more than a simple search
Attorneys don’t deal with giant boxes of evidence these days. What they tend to search through these days are hard drives, flash drives, CDs, and even email. While it sounds like it should be easier, it’s not. The digital nature of records (or ESI) means that discovery is a whole lot harder these days. ESI can exist on so many formats and platforms, and file management isn’t always performed efficiently. It was easier back in the days when we could produce a folder of letters and hand them over to the suing attorney. Now, there’s a whole lot of searching to be done.
Digital storage space has exploded, and so too have the amount of files generated each day. Unfortunately, search technology has not advanced as fast as storage technology. This results in an unmanageable about of ESI, including email that mounts up on a daily basis.
If a legal case comes up, IT staff are expected to produce every last file that could possibly be related to the case. This includes all email that could be relevant. And so, an email archive with eDiscovery capabilities can search through all of this ESI rapidly in order to produce the relevant data. eDiscovery applications make the entire process easier and more efficient - the better the application, the more time saved. Does that make the concept of eDiscovery a bit clearer?
Our eDiscovery whitepaper is coming soon. But for now, watch our webinar "Osterman's 2012 Outlook for Email Archiving" to learn more about eDiscovery and email archiving.