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Legal toolkit for storage systems

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Autonomy/Zantaz, FAST Search & Transfer (now owned by Microsoft), Kazeon Systems, Mimosa Systems Inc. and StoredIQ Inc. are examples of ediscovery search vendors. San Jose, CA-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp. used dtSearch, a fast, basic text search tool for a small ediscovery situation. When the company became involved in a major litigation situation, its legal department recommended the ediscovery process be turned over to an application service provider (ASP) at a cost of $1 million. Instead, Tony Smith, IT director at Cypress Semiconductor, turned to a combination of products, including MetaLincs, for search and analytics. "We were able to do it for less than half of what the ASP would have charged," says Smith.

Storage managers use a number of criteria when selecting ediscovery tools (see "Ediscovery tools checklist," below). They also need to pay attention to such issues as chain of custody, spoliation and how the tool passes information to other parts of the process.

"Chain of custody is the ability to account for a document from the time it's identified to its handoff to the attorney," says Priebe at Seyfarth Shaw. Look for tools that provide an audit trail or "just create a log to track the document," he adds. Spoliation refers to the intentional destruction of a relevant document and/or its meta data by a custodian of that evidence.

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The legal hold tool puts all custodians on notice: There are no excuses for spoliation.

When you're concerned about chain of custody, you may want to take some extra steps. For its big litigation case, "we had to use a hardware-based write blocker to make sure the meta data didn't change," says Smith.

This was first published in May 2008

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