eDiscovery is not just for litigation anymore  

Existing technology and techniques to address new and emerging use cases

Organizations are facing an evolving legal and regulatory landscape involving everything from complying with stringent data privacy laws to combating sophisticated cyber threats that force organizations to prepare for when – not if – an incident or data breach will occur. To minimize these new and emerging risks, legal professionals do not have to look far to find solutions to tackle these challenges head-on. Proven eDiscovery technology, if applied properly, can be used by legal counsel to support a variety of data retrieval and analysis use cases beyond traditional litigation.    

In our latest position paper, Powerful new applications for eDiscovery Technology and Techniques, we discuss the growing influence of the legal department on organizational strategy, regulatory forces and corporate mandates that have influenced the expanded use of these tools and how eDiscovery technology and techniques are being leveraged to support several use cases. This blog highlights a few examples provided in the paper on data privacy.    

Application of eDiscovery to Data Privacy   

In the 2023 State of the Industry Report published by eDiscovery Today, 410 respondents identified several use cases for which eDiscovery technology and techniques are becoming invaluable. Not surprisingly, litigation was the top use case for more than 96% of respondents. However, more than 40% of respondents endorsed six more use cases. Two notable use cases were incident response from data breaches (47.8%) and privacy or subject rights requests (42.4%). Since data privacy and cybersecurity are often intertwined, it is no surprise that these have emerged as key focus areas and priorities.  

Data breach response  

The global cyber threat landscape has escalated dramatically. Threats include but are not limited to phishing attacks, advanced persistent threats (APTs), insider threats, and ransomware attacks. According to Security Magazine, there are over 2,200 cyberattacks daily, nearly one every 39 seconds. With the growing responsibility of legal departments and outside counsel to manage cybersecurity concerns, it is crucial to be prepared – not only to prevent data breaches but also to respond to data breach incidents once they do occur.   

Determining exactly what personal information has been breached and to whom the data belongs can be a harrowing experience. eDiscovery tools and investigative workflows can incorporate many of the same techniques used in litigation to answer these questions, gain insight into the breach’s impact, and itemize the damage so customers can be informed quickly and assured their privacy is taken seriously. Leveraging breach investigation experts to handle everything from collection to analysis, post-breach analysis, and reporting can help accelerate the fact-finding process and fulfil the breach notification requirements.       

For an in-depth look at the opportunities for data breach response and analysis using eDiscovery tools, download Efficient Data Privacy Compliance Using eDiscovery Workflows.  

Data subject access requests (DSARs)  

Under modern privacy laws, individuals have the right to know what data an organization is collecting about them, why the organization is in possession of that data and to whom their information is disclosed. Many laws grant individuals the right to submit Subject Rights Requests (SRRs), including, depending on the specific law, a right to access, delete, correct, port, or even limit the use and disclosure of their personal data or information. Despite the number of privacy laws in place (and growing), increased rights awareness, and a steady influx of requests, many organizations’ processes for responding to SRRs are still immature. Challenges in meeting deadlines are significant. Manual activities are not only slow and highly error-prone, but resourcing constraints make it challenging to meet mandated deadlines.   

eDiscovery workflows can assist organizations in managing SRRs, including the increased volumes of data subject access requests (DSARs). This is especially true for high-effort requests where eDiscovery platforms provide significant value because of their advanced analysis, review, and production capabilities. Techniques can be leveraged to extract vital information from large data sets while avoiding the inclusion of extraneous content where possible. Accomplishing this demands tools to search, deduplicate and de-NIST the data for a more accurate set at review start time; analytics and machine learning technologies like Technology Assisted Review (TAR) to automate relevant document identification; as well as automated redaction protocols to protect confidential or sensitive material before relevant documents are produced to the requesting party. By surfacing relevant data from large document sets quickly and efficiently, organizations can meet fulfilment deadlines while significantly containing costs. Having Managed Review experts with deep technical knowledge creates additional reassurance that they are getting the most out of their investment and keeping their internal resources focused on other high-value activities.   

eDiscovery isn’t just for litigation anymore. Leveraging eDiscovery tools and techniques is vital to responding to data breach incidents, fulfilling privacy requests, and meeting other legal and regulatory obligations. However, it is a practical approach to information retrieval and legal analysis. It can also be a way for organizations to get more value from an existing eDiscovery investment they have already made or to evaluate other eDiscovery tools on the market and specialized services to protect their business from legal, regulatory and reputational harm.   


Download this paper to review other key use cases legal teams are taking to minimize new and emerging legal risks.   

For more information on OpenText™ eDiscovery Solutions, click here

To learn more about OpenText eDiscovery Expert Services, including breach response analysis and reporting click here.  

Andy Teichholz

Andy Teichholz is the Sr. Industry Strategist for Compliance and Legal at OpenText. He has over 20 years of experience in the legal and compliance industry as a litigator, in-house counsel, consultant, and technology provider. Andy is focused on helping businesses succeed with digital transformation. In this capacity, he has served as a trusted advisor to customers by leveraging his business acumen, industry experience, and technical knowledge to advise on regulatory compliance, information governance, and data privacy issues as well as support complex litigation and regulatory investigations.

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