Why in-place preservation is critical to the litigation hold process

The continued increase of litigation and the growth in volume and variety of eDiscovery data was already challenging over-burdened legal departments prior to the pandemic….

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July 6, 20214 minute read

The continued increase of litigation and the growth in volume and variety of eDiscovery data was already challenging over-burdened legal departments prior to the pandemic. These pressures continue today as budgets have only become tighter.

Despite investments in technology to improve internal efficiency, with legal hold technology making the top five priorities for corporate law departments, unfortunately, data subject to legal hold is dispersed across multiple repositories and related systems. Moreover, the sheer number of legal holds corporations are having to manage is on the rise in step with the increase in litigation¹. The breadth of repositories, both on premise and cloud, and systems that need to be included are often seriously underestimated, making manual processes for legal hold—such as spreadsheets or email—simply impractical to handle the scale, diversity and dispersion of data subject to legal hold.

When legal holds arise and individuals and organizations have a legal obligation to prevent deletion and preserve potentially relevant data wherever it resides while the litigation hold is in place, in-place preservation can simplify legal hold management. In-place preservation is the process of retaining the data directly on the system where the data is actively being used instead of moving it to another centralized location. In addition to the inconvenience and time of identifying and transferring electronically stored information (ESI) out of its original source into a centralized location, it also increases the risks of spoilation, inadvertent exposure (which can be very serious to the organization when PII, privileged and confidential data is involved) and potential sanctions due to deletion, whether inadvertent or inadvertent.

Legal hold solutions automate data preservation processes, enable effective management of custodians and reduce reliance on overburdened IT teams. Legal hold software provides organizations with a unified and comprehensive view of all data that is subject to legal hold across all systems, for greater assurance that data is properly preserved.

With data across various sources, legal hold solutions should have integrations to these common systems:

Microsoft Office 365®: All emails, OneDrive documents, SharePoint, SharePoint Online and other Office 365 application data for employees subject to legal hold may need to be preserved. Data within Office 365 applications are often the primary focus of hold activities but are typically half or less of all relevant data.

Document Management Systems: Key documents associated with custodians who are subject to legal hold must be securely preserved to ensure that they are not accidentally purged by the system or deleted by employees. Examples include OpenText™ eDOCS™, OpenText™ Content Suite, OpenText™ Documentum™, and IBM FileNet™, among others.

HR Systems: Sensitive employee records kept in an HR system, such as BambooHR™, ADP™ and SAP™ may need to be preserved, even after an employee’s exit from the organization.

IT Ticket Systems: Employee data often exists in places that require IT to take action to preserve the data. This requires communication to IT resources to let them know that an employee is subject to a legal hold. Common systems include Atlassian™, LiveAgent™ and Freshdesk™.

Asset Management Systems:  Employees’ computers, phones, tablets, and other devices that are subject to legal hold may need to be flagged to prevent accidental deletion of the data when repurposing employee devices after their departure. Examples of asset management systems that need to be integrated with legal hold systems include ServiceNow™, Nifty™ and Monday.com™.

Finance Systems: Financial records for transactions that employees were party to may also need to be preserved. Examples of finance systems include SAP™, Oracle NetSuite™ and Workday™.

Active Directory: Many IT teams leverage information in Active Directory® to automate downstream workflows, including legal hold preservation. By signifying in Active Directory whether an employee is subject to a hold, IT can automatically preserve the data of all active employees.

To keep up with the influx of litigation, the integration of legal hold tools with a wide array of systems is critical to achieving effective in-place preservation for an efficient and defensible litigation hold process.

Learn more about how OpenText Legal Hold automates litigation hold activities to drive inter-departmental transparency and enable effective in-place preservation.

¹Norton Rose Fulbright research indicates that a net 38% of corporate legal departments saw an increase in litigation in 2020.  

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