How to Select Legal Holds Software: Five Considerations for IT

By Deidre Paknad  |  Posted 2011-01-04 Print this article Print

Legal holds is an information governance issue that requires the attention of an entire enterprise. IT has no choice but to partner with the legal department in the purchasing decision since the wrong choice for legal holds software can inadvertently paralyze IT and undermine data management efficiency across the enterprise. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Deidre Paknad gives IT a practical framework of five strategic considerations in the selection of legal holds software.

As the stewards of the data subject to legal holds, an enterprise's IT department should carefully evaluate any legal holds application software. When legal holds is viewed as solely a legal department issue, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the data on hold is everywhere except the legal department! The legal department is the legal holds author and process owner, but the wrong choice in legal hold application software can inadvertently paralyze IT and undermine data management efficiency.

While the legal department concentrates on mitigating risks and documenting its steps, the IT department focuses on efficiencies in data management. This includes the ability to streamline fulfillment requests and decommission PCs and file share data in a timely manner. Legal departments seldom recognize the impact of legal holds on the IT organization and most legal holds applications provide little efficiency for IT.

The Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC), a corporate practitioners' community, brings together legal, IT and records information management (RIM) professionals to discuss current and best practices in discovery, information governance, privacy and data management. The CGOC's user community shares experiences, good and bad, in order to advance business practices in these key areas. The following five considerations in selecting legal holds application software reflect the community's experiences and lessons learned.

Deidre Paknad is President and CEO of PSS Systems. Deidre is also the founder of the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC), a professional community on retention and preservation. Deidre is widely credited with having conceived and launched the first commercial applications for legal holds, collections and retention management in 2004. She is a well-respected thought leader in the legal and information governance domain. Deidre has been a member of several Sedona working groups since 2005 and leads the EDRM/IMRM working group. She shares her insight on information governance and the process maturity model in her blog, IMHO by Deidre Paknad. Deidre is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with 20 years of experience applying technology to poorly functioning business processes in order to reduce cost and risk. She has been profiled in several books and articles for entrepreneurship, most recently in Business Lessons from the Edge by Jim McCormick and Grade A Entrepreneurs by Marylene Delbourg Delphis. She graduated from the University of California. She can be reached at

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