The eDiscovery identification/collection process is no slam dunk. With huge volumes of corporate data to search through - and little time in which to do it - identification and collection can be extremely challenging. Yet the ultimate success of the eDiscovery process depends on these stages being done well. Data collections must be relevant, complete, and timely or the entire process is built on a fragile house of cards.
One of the reasons that this stage is so challenging is that it's hard to search through huge volumes of corporate backups and archives. The archives are located in hundreds-to-thousands of storage media, are in geographically separate locations, and are in proprietary formats by multiple backup vendors. This is a difficult challenge for identifying and collecting relevant data, to say the least.
Yet all too many corporations do not use the tools available to them for eDiscovery and archive management. This may be due to several factors such as budget pressures, difficulty in funding proactive projects, or a lack of communication between Legal and IT. (Sometimes all of the above.) But corporations need to address these issues, because eDiscovery must be able to quickly and accurately search through many different backup and archive locations.
Tools supporting eDiscovery should be able to catalog archives by location, directory, filename and metadata, should provide fast search functions across the entire catalog and should support data retention schedules. Benefits from the first two are fairly obvious. Central cataloging enables business processes like eDiscovery to quickly search through corporate archives wherever they are located. The third, data retention, is perhaps not quite so obvious. Corporations frequently keep data for much longer than they should. One reason is fear of deleting the wrong data. Another is the burden of manually managing data retention schedules. With the right tools, IT can track individual data retention periods and schedule retirement right on time. This protects the corporation against bloated archives full of useless data, while keeping it compliant with retention periods and policies.
B&L Associates' Archived Data Manager (ADM) is an example of this type of product. ADM centralizes views, search and management of tape-based data from across the enterprise. This has significant implications for large-scale business processes like eDiscovery, which depends on fast and accurate searches through vast amounts of archived data.