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Discovering E-Discovery

Few IT managers look forward to dealing with their companies' legal departments. It usually means there are serious problems. But storage managers have the opportunity to head off trouble and save their companies money if they have the foresight to understand and plan ahead for the inevitable e-discovery request.

We are a litigious society. That's not news. What is new is the impact lawsuits and other legal actions are having on the IT department and storage managers in particular. These days, when a lawsuit is filed or a company is investigated, a request for all related documents follows shortly afterwards. And where are those documents kept? On backup tapes and in archives. Who has to produce them? You do.

It is a costly effort to sift through tens of thousands or millions of documents and emails and files to find the ones that are responsive to a court order or necessary for a legal defense. Businesses and other organizations spent more than $2.7 billion on electronic data discovery last year. That spending will grow to more than $4.6 billion by 2010, according to consultants George Socha and Tom Gelbmann.

If your company is like most, it doesnt have an automated system to help with discovery for litigation purposes. And these days, you really can't afford the time or the money involved in using manual processes to sort and sift through all of the electronic documents and files you have stored. Do you really want to print out all of those documents and emails, which then have to be reviewed by hand by dozens of expensive lawyers? Probably not.

An automated e-discovery tool or system can pay for itself in a single lawsuit. And it can help to show senior management that storage admins and IT managers are able to do more than just spool tapes and spin disks. This is an opportunity for tech professionals to work with legal professionals to help protect the company you both work for.

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