The Role of IT in In-House eDiscovery
Traditionally, organizations' and their legal teams’ IT departments have played a key role in the eDiscovery process. IT personnel have historically been tasked with handling most of the initial steps of the eDiscovery process, including collecting and preserving data in response to legal holds or subpoenas, processing files into more usable formats, and assisting with the search and culling process to create a data set legal teams can eventually review.
However, relying on IT departments to perform many of the technical steps of the eDiscovery process can be expensive and time-consuming for organizations. It also burdens their IT departments, taking them away from their typical technology management roles within their organizations or requiring their organizations to hire additional IT personnel dedicated to assisting their legal teams with eDiscovery.
Modern eDiscovery avoids the expense and inefficiency of relying on IT teams to manage the technical aspects of the eDiscovery process. That’s because modern eDiscovery tools empower legal team members without technology expertise to tackle technical steps such as collection, processing, and organizing data into review sets. With those tools, organizations and their legal teams maintain full control over the eDiscovery process and free up their IT colleagues to focus on their primary roles within their organizations.
Modern eDiscovery Tools Empower Legal Teams to Manage Processes and Free Up IT Staff
Today’s eDiscovery solutions allow legal teams to manage the entire eDiscovery process from start to finish. Through automated tools, legal professionals can issue litigation holds to custodians, collect data from various parts of their organization, track responses from custodians, process and format data, and organize data sets through deduplication or email threading.
Legal team members won’t need a computer science degree from Stanford or a data science internship at Google in order to leverage powerful modern eDiscovery tools and manage the eDiscovery process. That’s thanks to SaaS platforms powered by AI and machine learning that largely automate eDiscovery processes that legal teams previously relied upon IT personnel to perform.
With modern eDiscovery tools, legal teams can complete the eDiscovery process without much help from their IT colleagues, including processing files into common, readable formats and conducting proper redactions of privileged or confidential materials from produced files. With these tools, legal teams need not rely on their friends from the IT department to prepare a final production or apply redactions.
Modern eDiscovery Tools Give Legal Teams Flexibility and Agility
With legal teams fully in control of the eDiscovery process, they can efficiently complete document review and production to meet deadlines or obligations without depending on the availability of IT personnel to collect electronically stored information (ESI) or process it. Instead, IT teams need only be involved when complex or critical issues arise.
Modern eDiscovery tools also provide organizations additional flexibility as their eDiscovery needs change. Organizations and their legal teams can add functionality and advanced features to their eDiscovery solutions as they, the legal matters they’re involved in, and their eDiscovery needs grow. With this flexibility, an organization and their legal team can scale their eDiscovery capabilities without increasing or decreasing the IT department’s headcount.
Today’s eDiscovery Solutions Work with IT’s Goal of Maintaining Organizational Cybersecurity
Modern eDiscovery solutions allow organizations to bring the process in-house without compromising data security.
Outsourcing steps in the eDiscovery process to third-party vendors obviously comes with the risk of data breaches, as bad actors may intercept confidential or privileged information during transfers. Or, third-party vendors might not be up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity measures.
And, an organization’s IT staff might worry that their colleagues in the legal department may not independently follow data security standards without their help.
Thankfully for them, today’s eDiscovery tools follow the latest standards in cybersecurity, giving IT departments peace of mind. They can rest assured that the modern eDiscovery tools their legal colleagues are using can keep data secured during the eDiscovery process without IT’s close involvement.
Modern eDiscovery Returns IT to Its Role of Providing Expert Technology Support
While the intuitive and user-friendly designs of modern eDiscovery solutions let legal teams manage the eDiscovery process without involving IT personnel, these platforms do allow IT departments to step in when necessary to provide expert support.
Even though today’s eDiscovery tools provide significant automation that gives people who aren’t tech experts the power to manage each stage of the process, situations will surely arise that require the IT department’s expertise to resolve. Modern eDiscovery solutions take the burden of routine-but-technical eDiscovery tasks off an IT department’s plate, allowing IT staff to only intervene when complex issues or problems beyond the legal team’s capabilities arise. This frees up IT teams to return to their traditional role of providing technology support for their entire organization instead of babysitting legal teams as they complete routine eDiscovery tasks.
The eDiscovery tools of yesteryear heavily relied on an organization’s technology experts to oversee many of the initial steps in the eDiscovery process, including collection, processing, and organization of data into a data set that non-technical experts on the legal team could use for document review. However, modern eDiscovery solutions automate many of these tasks, enabling legal teams to manage the entire eDiscovery process in-house without the direct involvement of their organization’s IT department.
Today’s eDiscovery tools offer organizations significant cost and time savings by relieving IT personnel of the responsibility of handling routine data collection and processing during eDiscovery. By fully controlling the eDiscovery process thanks to these tools, legal teams can ensure that document review and production are completed efficiently and on time. IT departments can also take comfort knowing that these tools will follow the cybersecurity standards they've set for their organizations.
Though they won’t need to be involved in the eDiscovery process as much as before, modern eDiscovery tools still provide IT personnel with opportunities to assist their legal department colleagues. But rather than managing the routine tasks of collection, processing, and organizing data, IT departments can focus on providing expert technical support when complex issues arise during eDiscovery that legal team members cannot tackle themselves.