ROT Removal: Why Information Governance is Vital for Corporate eDiscovery

Corporations create a huge amount of data each year, but there is no standard from company to company on how that data is managed. Some take a “keep-everything” approach, while others strive to retain only what’s necessary for operations and compliance.

But even with some records management policies in place, a significant percentage of an organizations’ data is ROT (Redundant, Obsolete, Trivial):

  • If your files are like those on my laptop, then you have a perfect example of redundant: there are multiple versions of the same document, along with various iterations throughout the revision of a document.
  • For obsolete, just think of announcements and reminders from previous events or webinars long past.
  • And finally, for trivial, we can turn to today’s eDiscovery Blues™ All joking aside, sports news updates and online shopping ads have become such a regular source of data, that some companies build templates and filters, which automatically remove them from searches.

Technology has definitely made it easier to move through large datasets, and cloud storage has made hanging on to all this data more affordable (at least in the short term). Add this to the traditional eDiscovery approach of putting off collecting data until well into the litigation cycle, and it’s easy to see why ROT can grow within a company.

But there is a reason why Information Governance is the first step in the eDiscovery Reference Model (EDRM). Keeping enterprise data managed and organized can make it easier when decisions must be made due to investigations, litigation, and other triggering events. It’s a middle ground between looking for a needle in a haystack and burning the haystack altogether, something like having a 3D map of only the hay that’s needed.

Before I take this metaphor beyond its breaking point, I’ll put it in more straightforward terms: instead of simply storing data, you store it in a meaningful way which anticipates future legal needs.

By doing this, along with game-changing technology like In-Place EDA — which allows legal and compliance teams to analyze data where it sits (before collection) — you can settle internal investigations quickly or use that data offensively to help win a dispositive motion or more favorable settlement before discovery demands are served. You also reduce the amount of data potentially sent to outside counsel and ALSPs for processing and review, which are the costliest stages in the eDiscovery process.

When data is tidy, it’s easier to search through when the stakes are high. Besides, you know you’re going to check the latest scores and do a little online shopping when your brain needs a distraction. No need to fill up your inbox with such rot.

Want to hear a full discussion on In-Place EDA?
Listen to this deep dive from Mike Quartararo from ACEDS, Frederic Bourget from NetGovern,
and Ryan Joyce and Jim Gill from IPRO!