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Symantec survey highlights shortfalls in information-management strategy

Sue Clarke | Oct. 11, 2010
Organizations are exposing themselves to the risks of non-compliance and litigation by failing to adequately manage their content.

Organizations are exposing themselves to the risks of non-compliance and litigation by failing to adequately manage their content. A survey of 5,000 lawyers in EMEA commissioned by Symantec found that 51 per cent of respondents had struggled in the previous three months to find electronically stored information. Respondents also admitted that they had lost a case, suffered a case delay, or been sanctioned by a court or regulator as the result of an inability to locate or process electronically stored information that could have been presented as evidence.

Problems like these are caused by a failure to centrally manage information, and in order to eliminate them organizations should consider implementing an archive if they have large volumes of information.

Symantec has one of the leading archive solutions, Enterprise Vault, and although the survey was commissioned to help the company better understand the archiving requirements of organizations, the research also highlighted the problems encountered when organizations do not implement effective information-management strategies.

Consider an archive as a way of managing rapidly growing volumes of email and file system content

The survey found that almost 90 per cent of respondents recognized the necessity for an information-management strategy, yet 46 per cent had no such strategy. Although 98 per cent of respondents believed they were either losing cases or cases were being delayed through an inability to produce information, 98 per cent also said the production of information had helped them to win cases. This emphasizes the importance of speedy information retrieval. The importance of electronically stored information is also underlined by the fact that 91 per cent of the lawyers surveyed said this type of content was either critical or important in their day-to-day work.

Although archiving tends to be associated with emails, it is also ideal for storing file system content such as SharePoint file shares and instant messages. Archiving enables organizations to retain content for a defined period of time, implement policies to control how it should be treated at the end of its retention period, delete content once its retention period is complete, and put legal holds on content items. Because all content is classified and indexed, the archive creates a centrally managed searchable repository from which content can be rapidly retrieved.

This addresses another concern, which is the sheer volume of information that needs to be searched, with 24 per cent of respondents lacking appropriate e-discovery technology to fulfill requests effectively. In addition, 29 per cent complained of a lack of time to conduct thorough investigations. As well as search and some e-discovery capabilities within archiving solutions there are also a range of specialist e-discovery tools on the market that integrate with search engines and help legal teams to process the initial documents returned as the result of a search.


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