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Electronic discovery, or eDiscovery, is the process of identifying, collecting, and delivering electronically stored information, such as emails, presentations, and databases, that can be used as evidence in legal cases.
Because of the large volume of electronic data stored by organizations, eDiscovery can be complex. And although electronic files are naturally more dynamic, preserving the original file properties, content and metadata, such as time-date stamps, and author and recipient information, is critical. By doing so, it can help you to eliminate claims of tampering with evidence (if there are any) during the litigation process.
As you can imagine, the eDiscovery process can be arduous, time consuming, and expensive if you don't have litigation support software that makes it possible to locate information and files (and their metadata) in an automated way. Fortunately, there is a variety of eDiscovery software that can help organizations prepare for litigation, and complete the tasks associated with discovery relatively quickly – but knowing what to look for can be confusing. Let's take a look at four features of eDiscovery platforms that can make all the difference during litigation.
- Keyword Search in Multiple Locations at Once: With the power to search emails, document portals, cloud storage, instant message services and more – all with a single keyword search, you can quickly locate important files, documents, and even conversations that might be pertinent to your case. In addition, some eDiscovery software allows you to export your results to a repository, then download the export report without having to export all of the actual search results, which can help your eDiscovery manager narrow down the field of documents for analysis, and ultimately save time.
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- De-duplication in Search Results: When you choose eDiscovery services that allow you to de-duplicate the results that are exported, only one copy of an email message, document or file will be exported to your repository, even though multiple instances of the same item may have been located. With de-duplication, you can reduce the number of items that have to be reviewed, which can save you time. However, there are limitations to de-duplication algorithms that could potentially cause a unique item to be flagged as a duplicate during the export process, so use this feature with caution.
- Permissions Filtering for Content Search. Some solutions allow you to use search permissions filtering to let an eDiscovery manager search only a specific subset of mailboxes and sites in your organization, or search only messages or site content that meets specific criteria. For example, if you wanted to allow your eDiscovery manager to search only email messages to/from a specific location, the software would allow you to create a filter to support that.
- Retrieve Unindexed Items. Unindexed items may include files that are password protected, encrypted, were sent as very large email attachments, or simply items that could not be indexed because an error occurred during the indexing process. For legal investigations, organizations may be required to review unindexed items, so to make locating those files easier, be sure to choose eDiscovery services that provide you with the option to include unindexed items when exporting search results for further analysis.
In times of litigation, eDiscovery software can help your teams locate all of the email and instant messages, documents, files, etc. that pertain to a specific client, topic or team member. By using a tool that automates that search, you can quickly identify, hold, and export the content you need to complete the discovery process and allow your legal team to move forward in a timely manner.