What is eDiscovery and why should anyone care?

Trying to explain the purpose of eDiscovery can be a daunting task; just a few weeks ago I’d be hard-pressed to provide an adequate explanation. After working at Sherpa these past few months however, I have come to acknowledge just how important it is to an organization to have a firm grasp of eDiscovery solutions.

Put yourself, for a second, in the shoes of a frazzled employee, suddenly in charge of finding a piece of information that could save your company in a massive litigation case; you’ve got a little over a thousand mailboxes that need to be searched, and each mailbox is a few years old.  How could anyone, anywhere, deal with a task of that magnitude?

E-Discovery-Whitepapers

This is the core of what eDiscovery is, from the point of view of that poor person on the front lines – those awkward, frustrating initial steps where parties are required to collect all information regarding a pending case, including any potentially responsive files, conversations or incriminating emails. All this information needs to be gathered in order to lay it all before attorneys who filter it further before the data finally ends up in front of the courts.

Now, try to imagine doing that without the use of eDiscovery search, collection and review tools. The task would be impossible. The sheer man hours, wasted productivity and legal fees compounding, just trying to filter through documents, finding relevant evidence, is not the kind of position anyone ever wants to put themselves. Just thinking about it can make your skin crawl.

Understanding the process for collecting electronic information leads into a greater understanding of how the corporate world actually functions. Running a business effectively could very much be described as an exercise in records management and information governance. And if you think private litigation is bad, imagine how much the pressure suddenly mounts when it’s not just your assets on the line, but the well-being of your company as a whole, including your employees and potentially your customers. This isn’t to say that you should scramble to get your electronic assets in order and put the fear of eDiscovery in your heart – only that you should be weighing the impact such events could have on your organization.  There are real risks and costs that aren’t apparent until you encounter them for the first time.  By getting ahead of any eDiscovery challenges and putting your records in order keeps you ahead of the curve and helps you save time, stress and money if the need ever arises.

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