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Why You Need eDiscovery to Keep Your Data Secure

| Written by Imogen Fraser-Clark

eDiscovery was once a relatively niche topic. And for good reason. In fact, it used to be that outside of legal and IT, there wasn’t much need for other teams and departments to know what it was at all – let alone understand the workflows, tools and technologies that drive it. But today, the need for eDiscovery knowledge is growing more widespread, and more urgent. The reason for this is that support of eDiscovery practices, tools, and third-party specialists is becoming an increasingly vital component of data security. Read on to learn what changes could be impacting your data security needs, and how eDiscovery can help.

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Data regulation has increased:

Across all sectors, the data that organisations work with on a daily basis continues to surge in volume. While this digitisation of processes of course brings many benefits, it can also present risks and compliance issues.

As the amount of data within a particular business or organisation increases, so too does the risk of falling foul of regulatory measures and data protection standards. Namely the likes of GDPR (or GDPR UK), and in the US, the CCPA. This is why internal data practices must be handled diligently, and why many organisations now find themselves requiring the ability to quickly discover and delete data on demand – particularly personally identifiable information (or PII).

The Rise of DSARs:

Nowhere has this need to effectively and urgently manage personal data been more evident than in the rise of Data Subject Access Requests – commonly known as DSARs. As data formats and volumes have expanded, and data regulations have evolved, so too has public concern around data privacy. For the average individual, a DSAR is the most effective way for them to proactively guarantee the protection of their personal information – and since GDPR was introduced, the frequency and volume of DSARs has continued to climb.New call-to-action Following the introduction of GDPR, 71% of businesses experienced an increase in the number of DSARS received from employees. The turbulent employment dynamics of the Coronavirus pandemic only added to this, with the UK Data Protection Index reporting a 66% increase in DSARs over the course of 2020. DSARs are now a regular occurrence, and organisations need to be prepared and equipped to deal with them as such.

Dealing with them effectively requires the ability to scour through reams of data, assess its meaning relevance, and retrieve, redact or delete that data as needed. This is precisely where eDiscovery solutions can help. The sheer scope of data that must be sourced to fulfil a DSAR can be enormous. Add to that an inflexible calendar month deadline, and it quickly becomes obvious why any strategy that doesn’t leverage the power of eDiscovery tools, or better yet, specialist support from a third-party provider – is insufficient.

New ways of working:

Another organisational shift that has fundamentally changed our relationship with data is the advent of remote and ‘hybrid’ working practices. Huge numbers of formerly office-bound employees now enjoy a working week which sees their time split between their home and place of work. While it has its benefits, this transformation has also created numerous problems and challenges from a data security perspective.

In spite of training efforts, many organisations still find employees handling business-critical data and conducting business communications across a mix of professional and personal devices. Habits like this can present a significant risk of data ending up lost, unsecured, or duplicated in a way that creates confusion. This can quickly lead to organisations losing track of their internal data, and how it is being managed and stored, and worse, it can render organisations non-compliant without them even realising.

PII Scanning:

With hybrid working practices becoming the new norm, it is vital that organisations are able to identify patterns in how their data is being handled and stored internally. One way to do this is through regular PII scans. This involves using an eDiscovery tool to rapidly search hundreds and thousands of files and documents for personally identifiable information, from credit card numbers to medical records. If performed regularly, these can enable organisations to identify patterns in how data is being used and saved by employees and ensure that all data is compliant with the regulations specific to any relevant sector or region.

Conclusion: eDiscovery is becoming a necessity:

If you’ve read this far, then you can clearly see that the world of data security is far more challenging and complex than it was a few years ago. As such, the typical measures required to keep organisational data secure are far more rigorous than they used to be. The ability to quickly and cost-effectively survey, assess, discover and delete information has gone from a luxury to a necessity – particularly with the increasingly stringent enforcement of data regulations, and the rise of things like DSARs. Knowledge of modern eDiscovery practices, and the tools and platforms that drive them, will help you to overcome the increasing data risks and vulnerabilities present in today’s business landscape.

Want to know more about how Altlaw and RelativityOne can help level up your practices? Check out our page all about RelativityOne! 

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