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The process of declaring and releasing a legal hold can be complex. Holds normally cover a range of dates and systems, and the scope can change as discussions between the parties take place. Usually, a specialized third-party legal-hold program offers more functionality than one that's part of the archive application.
Another frequent objection to integrated hold-and-search features is the preference of the legal team. Ediscovery has become common in the last decade, so most attorneys have gone through the process a few times by now. It's likely their past experience with specialized litigation support software will lead them to request that solution instead of an unfamiliar one bundled with an email archiving system.
The search capabilities of archiving applications--which may be a critical feature for ediscovery--vary from product to product. Consider how your legal group conducts searches today; they
In most cases, the email archiving system will become an essential part of your infrastructure, so consider how well it will integrate with other elements. Can the archive integrate with your user account management and access control system? What about your reporting, logging and audit tools? These features could become critical stumbling blocks as the product is rolled out across a large organization.
Note that the level of integration between archives and legal tools varies. Most archives can export a set of messages in a PST file for use by ediscovery tools, while others can directly tie in with the most popular tools with direct database access and APIs. The latter can be far more flexible and efficient, and organizations with frequent legal searches and favorite tools will benefit from this type of integration.
This was first published in June 2008