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Business email eDiscovery processes

With a greater need to find information that has been stored digitally, businesses must have processes in place that aid fast eDiscovery. Online document platforms such as Office 365 allow for eDiscover processes to take place, meaning that authorised users can search files and mailboxes in order to access crucial business information.

What is eDiscovery?

eDiscovery (Electronic Discovery) is the process through which electronically stored information is localised, obtained, analysed and exchanged. The term encompasses all discovery of electronic data in general, from all tools and programs used by a business. eDiscovery is required during legal proceedings including Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, government investigations and litigation.

For business emails, eDiscovery can be used to find information from in-house emails and those sent to clients, customers, suppliers and so on. As information passed between emails could be legally relevant, such evidence may be required during civil or criminal proceedings.

The eDiscovery process with business emails

The eDiscovery process is used for more than just legal requirements and can be triggered by a need for any information for the data manager. However, the majority of searches are usually the result of a discovery request made by the legal department or a third-party (e.g. a lawyer or tax inspector). This can be in preparation for a potential legal request.

A business must be able to find information quickly for audits, legal disputes or internal investigations. Once the scope of the eDiscovery process has been worked out, those involved must find the data potentially relevant to the request quickly within the timeframe stipulated by the relevant regulations. With emails, the process requires the search of all company email data.

Who is usually involved in eDiscovery in a business?

Normally, the IT administrator is responsible for placing an email archiving solution in the business and enabling authorised access for compliance officers and legal departments to inspect relevant data. Authorised individuals can then search the company email archives to find the right information. You may need to allow designated persons access to the archive such as an external auditor or lawyer. In the case of legal disputes, the company’s management will also be involved because of its role as a stakeholder.

Challenges of eDiscovery and business emails

Implementing an eDiscovery process to a business isn’t a quick fix leading to certain challenges to contend with:

  • Time and effort: You must ensure that all required information is found quickly without too much time taken. If your business has a high volume of emails, it can be difficult to know if all the relevant information has been procured.
  • Integrity of emails: When a legal request is made for information, the integrity (100% true and indisputable) of the information is expected. Companies must be able to prove that damaged or manipulated emails aren’t supplied.
  • Security of data: Businesses have to ensure that no unauthorised third parties gain access to sensitive information. This includes trade secrets and personally identifiable information. 

eDiscovery and Email Archiving

Using an email archiving solution such as Cryoserver will help your business have an effective eDiscovery process in place. These features include:

  • An effective search function:
    • Run searches in the archive easily and quickly 
    • Search through attachments (Electronic documents, PDF files and more)
    • Navigation through an archive in the folder structure of your email client
    • Adapt queries using search criteria
    • Create search folders for repeat searches
    • Data analysis: e.g. discover how many emails were sent to recipients
  • Access management:
    • Special auditor access for external auditors to access and search through the archive during the eDiscovery process
  • Compliance:
    • Guaranteed integrity of all emails no matter the volume
    • Administrators can set retention policies to have control of the periods with which types
    • All changes and events are logged by the enriched audit trails 
    • Legal hold ensures data cannot be deleted
    • Selective deletion of emails – mail that must be deleted if Art. 17 of GDPR (“right to erasure”) is requested.

To improve your eDiscovery processes with your business emails, you need an email archiving solution, Cryoserver.

Read some real-life eDiscovery Cryoserver customer use cases and the benefits and results they are happy to stand by: Arnold Laver, Department of Environmental Affairs South Africa, North Warwickshire Council
While you may have a search function in Office 365, it isn’t fast or thorough enough for the number of requests you could receive. Get a quote from us or email us today to get started.