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The challenges and pitfalls of eDiscovery in Microsoft 365

Introduction to eDiscovery in Microsoft 365

In early 2022 Microsoft re-branded and released Microsoft Purview – their unified data governance solution – to help manage and govern an organisation’s on-premise, multicloud, and software as a service (SaaS) data. Not sounding like something the legal team is interested in? Time to have another look.

Microsoft Purview offers IT, Compliance and Security officers a powerful and flexible tool for managing data across their organisation, but also provides the legal team with a broad ranging tool for conducting eDiscovery activities. With Microsoft Purview, a legal team can:

  • Discover and catalogue data sources from various locations, such as SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange, Teams, Azure, and third-party applications.
  • Analyse data using advanced search, filtering, and analytics capabilities, such as optical character recognition (OCR), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML).
  • Preserve and collect data in a defensible manner, with audit logs, chain of custody, and legal hold functionalities.
  • Review and produce data in a user-friendly interface, with features such as deduplication, threading, redaction, and tagging.
  • Collaborate and communicate with internal and external stakeholders, using secure access controls, role-based permissions, and case management tools.

Microsoft Purview can help a legal team streamline their eDiscovery workflows, reduce costs and risks, and achieve better outcomes for their cases. However, eDiscovery in M365 is not as simple as it may seem. There are many factors that can affect the quality and efficiency of eDiscovery activities, such as the size and complexity of the data estate, the encryption and security settings, the retention and deletion policies, the indexing and search capabilities, and the compliance and regulatory requirements. Moreover, M365 is constantly evolving, adding new features and functionalities that can change the way eDiscovery is performed and managed.

In this article series, we will explore some of the common challenges and pitfalls that eDiscovery practitioners may encounter when using M365 for eDiscovery purposes and how to overcome them. We will also consider best practice and tips on how to leverage the full potential of M365 eDiscovery solutions. Whether you are using Content Search, eDiscovery Standard, or eDiscovery Premium, there are some aspects that you need to be aware of and prepared for, to ensure a successful and defensible eDiscovery outcome.

Read on to learn more about the challenges of:

  • Over and under collection
  • Dealing with encrypted content
  • 3rd party email archiving, attachments and links
  • Indexing
  • Compliance boundaries

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The challenges and pitfalls of eDiscovery in Microsoft 365

What does Microsoft Purview offer a legal team? How can the technology be used for eDiscovery activities and what sorts of challenges might you face?

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Microsoft Purview eDiscovery is a powerful tool in the right hands. Our experts share the causes and effects of over- and under-collection that are symptomatic of reactive eDiscovery requests.

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Encrypted data can create blind spots that, without expert knowledge, could go unnoticed during the search/collection/export of data during an eDiscovery case. 

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Email inboxes are a treasure trove of information. However, long term retention in email archives and preserving the relationships between emails, links, attachments can pose eDiscovery challenges.

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Indexing is the process of producing a searchable catalogue of files, messages and other content in a set of electronic data. Understanding how indexing works in Microsoft 365 is vital for acccurate and complete eDiscovery.

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Microsoft Purview’s eDiscovery tools can be directly affected by broader data governance and compliance issues. Our experts explore issues like data sovereignty and data residency in eDiscovery.  

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