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IT pros may find themselves in a Catch-22 this year when it comes to e-Discovery and data management for compliance, according to a new report released this week by Forrester Research Analyst Brian Hill. The economic downturn is likely to increase litigation, while making it more difficult for IT organizations to keep up with e-Discovery requests and synchronize information management across different repositories.
Hill predicts an increase in litigation and regulation due to the economic crisis because “To promote confidence and greater macroeconomic stability, we expect governing agencies to institute new regulations, and we anticipate litigation following job losses, broken contracts, and other economic hardships.”
Meanwhile, one year after the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure created a mandate for companies to systematically preserve electronic information, users were telling SearchStorage.com that before they could evaluate specific products or services for archiving and litigation review of data, organizational structures within their company had to realign to create new data management policies.
Another year has passed and Hill’s report states “Effective alignment between the information management phase and other steps outlined in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) remains out of reach for most enterprises.”
The good news is that companies will at least make steps toward that vision in 2009, Hill told Storage Soup. “There’s broad recognition that it needs to happen,” he said. “We’re starting to see new liaison roles being created, designated intersection points of IT with legal.” However, the two remain sharply different disciplines, with a historically separate reporting structure and few other common objectives. “The reality is it’s a long way out before [a major shift] happens.”
In the meantime, Hill said Forrester advises clients to focus on two of the steps in the EDRM: information preservation and review. Administrators should strive to apply policies to as broad a range of content as possible rather than focusing on particular content types–organizing data according to potential legal relevance rather than application means users may start out with less information to wade through during a litigation request, as well as cutting down on capacity growth also threatening to bust storage budgets this year.
The second phase of EDRM Hill advised users to focus on for the time being is the review phase. “This is where the most spending is,” Hill said, recommending that particularly cash-strapped organizations look to the clouds for their content repositories. “Hosted review platforms can make some difference–something internal can require a lot of capital.”