If your company is sued and needs to provide documents during an electronic discovery request, you are most likely not prepared, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The survey commissioned by Contoural Inc, a data and storage consulting company, and Osterman Research indicated that 69 per cent of medium and large enterprises are not prepared for handling e-discovery requests for data such as e-mail archives. Additionally, only six per cent of the more than 100 IT managers surveyed said they could immediately and confidently handle potential e-discovery.
Late last year, the U.S. amended its Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to require that parties in a legal dispute bring up and agree upon e-discovery issues at the beginning of proceedings. These could include the file format of documents, how documents should be preserved and who has access to them. The rules could apply to any Canadian branch office of a U.S. firm, or any Canadian enterprise that deals with the States.
“We’re seeing a lot of organizations that just don’t know what they have, they don’t know where it is, and they don’t have an appropriate process for finding it,” Mark Diamond, CEO and president of Contoural, said. “Many companies are not clear on their retention policies and the ones that are often have policies that drive the wrong type of system, leading to a very difficult, costly, and often ineffective process.”
Michael O’Shea, president of the Barrie, Ont.-based consulting firm The Information Professionals, was unsurprised at the survey results and said that the lack of electronic record systems leads to unstructured data.
“Whether it’s practical materials, word documents, or any other type of data, it is not identifiable by a classification system that allows them to quickly identify a subject through e-discovery,” O’Shea said. “So, companies have a myriad of ways to do this and this creates a problem in that there is no standard nomenclature or taxonomy for naming the records and ultimately trying to locate them.”
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