E-discovery is becoming much more important

* Implementing an appropriate e-discovery capability is critical to the long-term viability of any organization

Discovery is the process of accessing, reviewing, analyzing and producing information during civil legal actions. The goal of discovery is to obtain information that will be useful in developing relevant information for pre-trial motions and for the trial itself. Information sought during discovery can include documents, testimony and other information deemed necessary by a court.

E-discovery is simply the extension of the discovery process to information that is stored electronically and includes e-mail, instant messages, word processing files, spreadsheets and other electronic content that may be stored on desktops, laptops, file servers, mainframes, smartphones, employees' home computers or on a variety of other platforms. Unified communications and unified messaging systems that store a variety of different data types, including voicemails and instant messages, further complicate the entire process.

E-discovery is becoming much more important in the context of civil litigation – for example, roughly three out of four discovery orders today require e-mail to be produced as part of the discovery process. E-discovery today represents 35% of the total cost of litigation, and companies that fail to produce e-mails in a timely or appropriate manner face the risk of paying millions of dollars in sanctions and fines, not to mention loss of corporate reputation, lost revenue and embarrassment.

Implementing an appropriate e-discovery capability is critical to the long-term viability of any organization, particularly larger ones that face a greater chance of being involved in civil litigation. E-discovery best practices include several key elements, starting with management recognition for the need to be ready for e-discovery to developing a set of corporate policies to implementing the right technologies that will manage corporate data properly.

We have just written a white paper that addresses the key issues that organizations should address in the context of e-discovery. You can download a copy of that white paper here.

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