Companies used to plead hardship in an attempt to avoid searching tape for discovery motions, but that excuse is swiftly falling by the wayside. New rules for compliance in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures tighten up pre-trial discovery location requirements and it is a good bet that opposing counsel will insist that the defendant include backup tapes in discovery. There is some recourse as the plaintiff is not allowed to obviously wield e-discovery as a weapon, and cannot demand that the company search every backup tape for every date. But they do have a wide-ranging set of rights in asking for extensive e-discovery on tapes that might reasonably house data relevant to the court case.
So without some provision for automating direct tape searches, IT must mount tape and restore the data using its original backup program (which IT hopes it still has). Only then is the content searchable by manual or software means. Given this set of challenges, being able to classify and extract relevant data without first having to restore it represents a significant benefit to companies facing e-discovery demands for backup and archival tape. This approach also represents a significant savings in terms of time and storage capacity, as potentially thousands of tapes need not be restored before executing e-discovery on them. When searching for e-discovery collection software, be certain to ask how it handles tapes. The better able it is to search without previous restoration, the better choice it is.