Providing IT with Ability to Look Up Data

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

Consideration No. 3: Does the legal hold application provide IT with the ability to look up employees to see whether their data needs to be collected or sequestered?

In most companies, employees leave the company or are transferred every day. IT is tasked with acquiring and repurposing their PC and other assets. However, without access to current information about which employees are on hold, IT simply can't make good decisions about what to keep and what to recycle.

In companies with dozens of new matters a month and hundreds or thousands of employee transitions, a stale list of custodians on hold means that employee data is missed or IT can't reliably repurpose equipment. This often leads IT to store every employee drive when less than 10 percent of departing employees are typically involved in legal holds.

In the worst case, it sets IT up to recycle something only to find out later it was needed for a legal matter. Sorting through a series of hold notices or having to compare a list of thousands of custodians to see if a single employee is on hold is very inefficient for IT and can lead to increased compliance risk.

Consideration No. 4: Will the legal hold application enable holds integration with current and future content management, records management, e-mail and messaging systems?

The volume and complexity of legal holds continues to rise. It is now significantly more efficient to hold data in place than to duplicate data on hold and duplicate it again if it must be produced to courts or adversaries. In applications that can apply retention periods for routine disposal, it's even more important to apply holds so that disposition can occur safely and systematically.

Many application vendors are adding hold functionality to their repositories to simplify governance for IT and reduce legal risk. If the legal holds application was not architected to federate legal holds to repositories, your company will not be able to take full advantage of technology changes that enable hold-in-place and the routine disposal of data not on hold.

The IT organization then bears the burden of always placing manual holds and always being on the hook for preservation. In the worst case, the company won't be able to use the data disposition features of expensive applications, and archives will simply accumulate data endlessly.

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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