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Legacy Looms in E-Discovery

5:58 PM -- Legal experts warn that data relegated to paper or tape could pose a problem in e-discovery.

E-discovery, in case you weren't at last week's SNW confab, is the latest buzzword in storage networking and describes how electronic evidence is being readied for use in court. (See FRCP Tip Sheet.)

According to Robert D. Owen, a partner with the international law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP warns that IT must think about what's in offline storage as well as what's online. "The most important thing IT managers can do is to catalog their backup tapes and other sources of inaccessible data, looking ahead to the challenges of Rule 26(b)(2)(B)," he wrote in an email yesterday, referring to amendments to the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, set to go into effect December 1.

Vendors are taking up the cudgels on this one. Index Engines Inc. , for instance, is peddling its eDiscovery Tape Engine as a way to index tape media in order to more easily retrieve data. (See Index Unveils Solution.) And a slew of services and products are available to convert paper documents to electronic format. (See Content Capture Considered and Getting Records Management Right.)

While vendors and service providers have an axe to grind when it comes to e-discovery, it's clearly getting more important for storage managers to get their data ducks in order -- including the ducks made of paper and tape. One source of help may be right at hand, in the person of the organizational record-keeper who's not part of IT. (See Don't Fight New Technologies .)

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