To Preserve and Protect: E-Discovery Requires Data on Demand
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Overview: A new study from CMP Research shows that more than half the businesses surveyed had to produce electronically stored information for litigation or regulatory investigations. Without strong processes and tools for records management, businesses are at risk of not being able to effectively and economically retain and produce documents required by auditors or lawyers, not to mention purge obsolete data that could further complicate matters.
Regulations such as Sarbanes- Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) have made many organizations more cognizant of the need to put in place processes and tools for efficiently retaining, securing, producing and even destroying electronic data. Institutions want to be able to discover electronic information quickly in response to the demands of a compliance audit—the sooner they can put that behind them, the sooner they can get back to business. Companies affected by these regulations may at last have some reason to celebrate. All the work they have put into these efforts can serve as a base to help them satisfy the new e-discovery requirements of the Amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which went into effect in December. These rules require that parties involved in a federal court case meet in advance to discuss issues around discovery of relevant electronic data, and then produce required data in a usable and searchable form—unless they can show that it is too costly or burdensome to access. In some important ways, the new rules may level the playing field. In the past, courts may potentially have had higher expectations of a public company’s capacity to produce electronic documents than they had of a private company’s ability to do so, because the private enterprise never had to implement strict processes and tools to govern records management for compliance requirements. Now, every organization is subject to the same expectations.