Last year's changes to the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) launched a mass focus on e-discovery, or the electronic management of organizational data for compliance and litigation readiness. And after more than a year of implementation, at least a few customers are finally ready to reflect on what they've done.
While many firms, particularly SMBs, continue to struggle with the FRCP mandate, the ones who've managed to institute policies and procedures for the speedy and accurate retrieval of electronic information have a lot to say about what works -- and what doesn't.
Following is a list of suggestions culled from the experience of users in the field who are far along in their e-discovery implementations.
Make email archiving a priority
When IT pros at Foxhollow Technologies Inc., a startup medical device supplier, looked to install email archiving three years ago, management forced the project to the back burner, despite a general lack of email control. "There were users who saved everything and had gigabytes -- or more -- of email messages, noted Chuck Arconi, system administrator at the company. At the time, Foxhollow had about 600 employees, but its email system chewed up 400 Gbytes of storage.
Then the other shoe dropped when the company became involved in a lawsuit. Suddenly, funding for the email archiving project was no longer a contentious issue. "The legal department had no problem finding the capital needed to pay for the entire project. In fact, they gave us more than twice as much money as we needed. Aconi's team put in a system from Mimosa, which eliminated the barriers to litigation readiness. (See the table on page two of this article for a list of other vendors offering e-discovery products and services.) Before, a paralegal would have to spend two to four hours trying to find the right messages in each mail box. Now the work is done with a click of a button, noted Arconi.