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Storage Goes to Law School

NEW YORK -- Storage Decisions -- As the U.S. corporate world becomes increasingly litigious, storage managers should get their systems ready to serve on the front lines of impending legal battles, warned Michael Clark, managing director of analyst firm EDDix, during a presentation here today.

"You have a need to find, collect, store, and process documents," cautioned the former Citibank and ITT exec. "All too often, the documents that you need are on backup tapes, or they are sitting on someone's desktop or laptop."

Email archiving, for example, has already proved to be crucial in at least one high-profile legal dispute, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) slamming Morgan Stanley with a $15 million fine when it was unable to produce email evidence in court. (See A Fine Mess.)

Some 90 percent of U.S. firms are involved in some form of legal action, according to Clark, and the average company today is handling 37 different pieces of litigation at any one time. Larger billion-dollar firms, however, are usually juggling around 140 different pieces of litigation, he explained.

Attendees at the event admitted that the legal landscape is prompting some major storage changes within their organizations. "It's a pain point -- we're looking at a strategy for how to prepare for litigation before it occurs," said an IT director from a Connecticut-based HR services firm, who asked not to be named. "Email archiving is a major initiative for us now, and we're looking to integrate file archiving under that effort."

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