Preparing for new and emerging trends in eDiscovery and the Information Lifecycle should be among the top priorities among modern businesses. Regardless of the company size or the industry your company operates within, you highly likely use numerous communication channels and handle hefty data flows daily. This means that some information governance and data management needs to take place. This typically involves:
- Data classification
- Information Lifecycle management
- Regulatory compliance
- Data and infrastructure security
…and so on.
This is especially becoming relevant with the emergence of new (as well as not so new) technologies and IT trends that include AI (artificial intelligence), Big Data, ML (machine learning), BYOD (bring your own device), advanced analytics, IoT (Internet of Things), cyber-attacks, etc. All these accounts for a higher vulnerability of sensitive data, which results in the increased need for reliable tools and strategies that can help companies better tackle data protection, eDiscovery, and information lifecycle.
That said, let’s see what some of the most tangible advantages of deploying IG, IL, and eDiscovery are.
Benefits of Having Strong IG, IL, and eDiscovery Strategies to Control Your Data
Improved Regulatory Compliance & Minimized Security Risk
Taking proper care of your data enables company leaders and their employees to have the right and timely access to the right data type. It is important to have your information updated constantly. This involves using adequate data classification, nomenclature, and systematic tagging processes for your client’s data and information.
Effective IL plan and eDiscovery strategy, for example, will ensure that your data and operations-related information is logically and clearly classified, stored, managed, archived, destroyed, etc.
Your data must be highly accessible and retrievable, especially in scenarios where you – due to legal obligations – need to retrieve and show certain pieces of data. Complying with all the necessary legal and regulatory requirements reduces business risks and security issues to a minimum.
Information Policy Consistency
It is important to be consistent with your data policies across your teams, employees, and departments. We do not recommend allowing individual employees to decide what type of data is stored and archived in which manner and when it is deleted.
Information policies enable consistent and centralized data management, allowing businesses to focus on product improvement and workflow streamlining – business aspects that actually boost revenue.
Cost Reduction for Data Storage & Administrative Processes
Administrative processes and data management tasks can be low in cost efficiency, especially in the long run. However, companies that deploy powerful IG strategies can automate these tasks to a certain extent and therefore reduce these types of overheads because most data ecosystems are being managed cost-efficiently.
Improved Operations Agility and Optimized Decision-making Processes
The companies that do not invest in data management, IG, and eDiscovery methodologies are often not able to collect, store, analyze or deploy data in an optimized manner, which leads to slow improvement of the decision-making process.
4 Best Practice Tips for Adapting to IG, IL & eDiscovery
1. Develop and Implement a Custom Information Governance Policy
Be sure to consider that the number of data types is increasing while the rules and regulations in terms of data privacy are becoming ever so tighter (and are being constantly updated). Requesting counsels are also being quite aggressive when using discovery to secure large amounts of data. If a business doesn’t have a strong IG strategy – that includes clearly defined roles, processes, data retention, email archiving solutions, etc. – it is highly likely that their levels of regulatory compliance are subpar. This means that the company’s reputation and resources can be severely damaged during a legal process. This is not something any stakeholder would want.
2. Take Care of Non-traditional Data Types
Data identification and classification is the very fulcrum of proper IG, eDiscovery, and IL. Be sure to know what data types your business deals with and where it is all stored. Creating highly functional data maps and managing all data flows is a good way to start. Unstructured data is something that numerous companies overlook, especially the unstructured data that exists and flows through networks, emails, and other data channels and locations outside traditional databases. Be sure to handle this type of data properly, as it will allow you to respond more quickly and more adequately to data subject access requests (as well as data breaches).
3. Create Bespoke Workflows (for Risk Profile)
Every organization has workflows and dataflows that can be improved. Be sure to evaluate your workflows and structure them, so they are tight, repeatable, verifiable, defensible, and have little to no efficiency gaps. When your data flows, processes and workflows are carefully and logically developed, it enables you and your employees to more easily and more quickly makes actionable decisions.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Peek Into What Your Direct Competition is Doing
Thorough competitor research is always a good idea, whether it is about business tactics, marketing strategies, or something as non-sexy as data management and regulatory compliance. Feel free to find out what exactly your competitors are doing in terms of the information lifecycle, eDiscovery, IG, and be sure to figure out how effective and cost-efficient their strategies are.
Although these issues are not fun to deal with, they need to be tackled with high levels of devotion and gravity. Remember, it takes just one legal issue that you cannot comply with, and your entire brand may suffer critical hits in terms of both costs and reputation. Proper IG, IL, and eDiscovery strategies are to be perceived as investments. It is always better to invest now than to pay much heftier prices down the road.