Archive for the ‘Legal Bytes’ Category
How do you know if you have a ‘big data’ problem? One way is to wait until your company gets sued and then find out how hard it is to comply with eDiscovery requests! In reality though, that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Most of the pundits will tell you that your first indication of a really big Big Data problem comes when you get your first high profile litigation issue. It is in those initial stages of addressing eDiscovery, that you come face to face with the difficulties you have complying with counsel’s request for data. It’s quite typical for millions of dollars to be spent just to get somewhat relevant data into the hands of legal reviewers. It’s often a real eye opener for executive management.
But, here’s the real problem. eDiscovery is really just the tip of the iceberg.
What lies beneath the surface is where the real enterprise killer lies … in Information Management. The amount of Big Data and it’s impact on a host of issues in security, compliance, storage, records, business intelligence and governance are all inter-related. The real problem lies in how companies discover this issue.
Historical lore will tell you that the Titanic was actually able to avoid the part of the iceberg you could see from the deck but that what was beneath the surface ripped the ship wide open. So, it is with eDiscovery and Information Management. Many times the first case creates some limited awareness of a bigger problem. Take the typical post-case conversation between the General Counsel/Law Firm and IT:
“Wow, that was harder than we thought. Took more time and cost more than we expected too.” is the GC’s first response. “Can we do better next time?”
“Uh, no we can’t,” replies IT. “And by the way, we are not sure we got everything that was relevant in this case (or maybe we just keep that part to ourselves!)”.
The fear in the room and the building becomes palpable once the recognition of the true problem emerges. We’ve had customers tell us that it even became a topic of conversation at the board level. Try telling a shareholder, regulator or judge that you just ‘don’t know’ what information you have and see how well you can withstand the death stares that follow.
Big Data Management practices have lived beneath the surface of the real problem for too long. eDiscovery isn’t the real problem, it’s just a symptom of a lack of good visibility, governance and control over your organizations data. Consider just the simple economic issues that have recently emerged:
1. In eDiscovery where insurance companies face 1696 lawsuits per year and the average case costs $1.6m to process.
2. In financial services, where privacy violations can shut down entire business and incur $10’s of millions in fines.
3. In records where companies hold on to data long after their retention policies have expired.
Taken in that light, the cost of eDiscovery is miniscule compared to the fines and risks an organization can wrack up by ignoring its Big Data problems. The problem with eDiscovery on its own is that most often, it’s reactive. And that’s where the trouble starts.
Until your organization can understand large data pools well enough to extract and collect relevant subsets for both reactive and proactive eDiscovery, Information Governance is the single biggest cost reduction exercise any enterprise can focus on.