How E-Discovery Rules Impact Your Business
Do you get frustrated when you are unable to locate an electronically stored document or e-mail? Imagine your frustration if you were required to produce that same elusive document to defend your company against a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Under mandatory new e-discovery amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), this scenario is becoming more and more commonplace in the business world. Is your organization protected against the potentially dire consequences associated with discovery of electronically stored information (ESI)?

These new rules were put into place to keep pace with digital technology, which has caused the information universe to mushroom over the past decade. The volume of data is projected to increase another 600% in the next three years, so the litigious landscape is evolving along with technology.

If you know that your business is going to be sued, federal laws require your company to institute and monitor a litigation hold to preserve relevant ESI, such as e-mails stored on servers and backup media. And it gets even more complicated -- metadata, which accompanies electronic documents and tracks when they were created and edited, and by whom, now needs to be preserved as well.

According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, over 96% of a company’s data is stored digitally. That’s quite of bit of information to backup, store in an efficient manner, keep track of and insure reasonable access to. Failure to produce subpoenaed information can result in court sanctions and/or adverse evidentiary rulings resulting in costly judgments.

What can businesses do to manage their ESI in the most litigious country in the world? For starters, keep up on the rules that govern e-discovery and comply with them. In addition, become familiar with the various technology solutions that are available for managing electronic data. A good dealer will help identify the right solution for you. Finally, put in place a comprehensive document retention program, one that:

• Provides details about the kinds of documents and ESI that should be maintained.
• Includes a data map detailing the types of data stored and its location.
• Demonstrates whether this information can be retrieved at a reasonable cost.
• Is periodically reviewed and updated.
• Is executed by your organization!
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