If you take a look at the themes in our blogs, you’ll doubtless have noticed that we’re big fans of proactive eDiscovery. The fact is, when it comes to driving down the costs of this notoriously expensive process, there’s very little that delivers as much bang for buck as a good dose of proactivity.
Let’s take a closer look at the two areas in which proactive eDiscovery packs the biggest punch: preparation and prevention. (Our two favourite Ps.)
In most organisations, every eDiscovery cycle is started from scratch. Data for each investigation is identified, collected, deduplicated and culled in isolation, uninfluenced by previous eDiscovery exercises (where perhaps a custodian’s data has already been collected, deduplicated and preserved) and having little to no bearing on future cases.
This is usually chalked up to the unique nature of each investigation. However, it doesn’t account for the fact that most organisations’ data landscapes and processing techniques remain largely the same from case to case and replicating collections may just be duplicating effort and cost.
As such, when viewed proactively, each eDiscovery cycle becomes an opportunity to gain actionable insights to improve future cycle speeds and/or reduce future data collection volumes. Both of these can significantly drive down future eDiscovery costs.
But how, exactly, do you tap into this proactive potential?
A great place to start is by using EDA tools like data maps to build a clear picture of where your data lives and the processes that create it (data lineage), i.e. understanding what any particular data set represents. This can dramatically improve not only the speed but also the accuracy and pertinence of all future eDiscovery operations, with each case potentially adding even more insight to the bigger data landscape picture.
It’s also a great idea to document duplicate data that has been previously collected to avoid making the same (potentially costly) collection twice. Implementing a written eDiscovery process that can be iteratively refined over each cycle helps to ensure these “lessons learnt” survive from case to case and aren’t lost to staff churn or other organisational change.
Did you know? Salient provides actionable insights to our clients at the end of every eDiscovery engagement, helping to drive continuous improvement while also driving down costs.
The same eDiscovery tools and models that are used to investigate issues reactively can also be deployed proactively to supervise high-risk functions or activities.
This requires a delicate balance between fraud prevention and data privacy. Clear justification and transparency with employees under supervision is key. Done right, however, strategic – and defensible – supervision is not just a valuable early warning system, but also an effective deterrent against regulatory and/or policy non-compliance.
Adding tools like Microsoft Purview’s Insider Risk and Communication Compliance to the toolkit means legal teams can also analyse whether identified undesirable activity is isolated, or part of a wider problem. This is valuable both in terms of future eDiscovery risk mitigation, and the prevention of potentially vast reputational damage.
Making room for proactive eDiscovery
Let’s face it: finding room in the budget for proactive eDiscovery can be tricky, despite its typically significant ROI. Having to justify buying additional capacity only makes matters harder. That’s one of the reasons we created our competitively priced subscription model.
Rather than buying capacity reactively, as need arises, our subscription model provides access to capacity over a year or multi-year timeframe. Contracting this way enables our clients to make use of any “gaps” in their eDiscovery cycle to cost-effectively action proactive projects that can then contribute to future time- and cost-savings.