Information Governance

Recent examples of multimillion dollar fines for email retention violations abound, particularly in the financial services sector. But regardless of industry, companies embroiled in civil litigation are increasingly being asked to retain and produce old email—"evidence mail," as it is sometimes called—as well as other electronic documents.

Ironically, manually locating and compiling the requested documents can be more expensive than potential fines for noncompliance, and the effort rarely uncovers all the required evidence. This TechTip will discuss how to use Symantec Enterprise Vault with the Discovery Accelerator option to automate the retention of electronic documents and minimize e-Discovery risks.

Avoid spoliation of evidence

As soon as a company has reason to believe that litigation might occur, it is obligated not to destroy any electronic documents that might be relevant to the proceedings. "Spoliation" is a legal term that refers to the inadvertent or intentional withholding or destruction of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding. Manual processes, however well intentioned, can put companies at risk of not meeting their preservation requirements.

If you're already using Enterprise Vault to archive email or other electronic documents, complying with court-ordered e-Discovery requests is as easy as running a query using the Discovery Accelerator option to locate the relevant content, and then putting those documents on legal hold. Once this option is selected, Enterprise Vault will not allow the documents to be deleted from the archive. Note that it is not necessary to have journaling—the feature in Enterprise Vault that supports automatic copying of incoming and outgoing messages—turned on to get this benefit.

Tailor holds by individual or content type

A custodian is an individual whose emails and other electronic data may be pertinent to a given litigation. Using Discovery Accelerator, one person can easily locate documents related to data custodians and place them on legal hold.

Companies that are using Enterprise Vault to archive other types of content besides email—such as file system content, Microsoft SharePoint content, or instant messages—can specify which archive stores they want to place on legal hold for each data custodian.

By following the steps outlined in this TechTip, you can transform a reactive, fire-drill process that could potentially involve many people--from IT staff to records management--into a centralized, manageable activity.

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