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Wall Street crisis brings lax e-discovery law enforcement to light

Lucas Mearian | Jan. 14, 2009
IT managers expect U.S. to add new regulations, boost enforcement

Great Florida Bank, which employs 275 people and has 26 branch offices in three counties, maintains 32 servers in its data center.

Many health care firms are turning to such systems as the federal government increases emphasis on electronic health records systems, setting up systems and enforcing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

In addition, an increase in the number of lawsuits against health care providers has forced them to implement measures to better protect patient data and store it for set periods of time.

Wyoming Valley Health Care System Inc. turned to CommVault Systems Inc.'s Simpana e-discovery software last March after a lawsuit was filed against one of its hospitals.

Howard Dowell, a network analyst at the Wilkes-Barre, Pa.-based health care provider, said the software automatically indexed four years' worth of e-mail over a weekend and provides a Google-like search engine for retrieving documents.

"Our system is giving us results in seconds," Dowell said, noting that it can be used to search by keyword, date, the name of the sender or a phrase. "Basically, I get it back like a Google search page with all the hits, I can save it as a PFT or .Zip file and examine it later," he added.

Wyoming Valley Health Care's data center runs 200 servers, 90% of which are Wintel boxes, and it has 1,200 e-mail users. Electronic documents are indexed on two servers and then stored on an EMC Clariion SAN.

However, Logan said, most companies "are standing there like deer in the headlights," Logan said.

"We have to have a more disciplined process for working with electronic records regulations," she said. "We need to have people in charge of managing information for the entire company. Today, everyone's expected to manage their own data."

As e-discovery pressures grow, companies and regulators must work together to determine which business documents are truly critical, Logan added. "People have to start throwing stuff away. It's not all precious," she said. "There needs to be some change to separate the wheat from the chaff."

 

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