Feature

Legal toolkit for storage systems

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Tool selection
The ediscovery market is getting big fast. IDC reports that $12 billion was spent acquiring ediscovery tools in 2007, and predicts that figure will rise to $21.8 billion by 2011. With outsourcing and licensed software available, the pricing and packaging of tools varies widely, from cost per GB to cost per mailbox to cost per seat. Depending on the services involved, ediscovery tools run anywhere from $3,000/ GB to $30,000/GB. Pricing for enterprise licenses starts around $200,000 and climbs into the millions.

Tool acquisition begins with information management and especially retention management (see "

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A sampling of ediscovery products," (PDF) below). "You need more than just content management," says Hupper at the New York City Law Department. "The tool needs to manage retention. You need a way to tell the system the retention period for a document is up and [to] get rid of it."

Click here for a sampling of
ediscovery products (PDF).

Hupper's department uses Interwoven Inc.'s WorkSite, which is popular with the legal industry. The tool stores most kinds of common electronic documents--Office documents, WordPerfect, PDFs, Visio and email. Most importantly, "we can tell the system when the retention period is up and it takes care of it," says Hupper. Retention management requires the ability to set and enforce policy at the individual document level if need be.

A company can use almost any archiving tool to set specific retention periods for documents and files, and then tie these retention periods to data storage or data destruction policies. At a minimum, the tool will need to be able to store and search PST files (Microsoft Outlook email files).

Search tools are what most IT people think of when they hear ediscovery. More advanced search tools apply intelligence to perform contextual search based on the content of the document, dive deep into the meta data or look for behavioral patterns. Some will handle deduplication and near deduplication, in which small differences in otherwise nearly identical documents are highlighted.

This was first published in May 2008

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