E-mail Archiving Demands Overwhelm Backup Alternative

By Kieron Dowling

One look at the numbers makes it clear that e-mail archiving is still in its early stages. While most large enterprises have deployed first-generation solutions, the mid-market has yet to answer the call to e-mail archiving even though all organizations are subject to the same regulatory pressures and IT demands.

The most recent AIIM user survey reveals that 63 percent of organizations have little or no confidence that e-mails related to commitments and obligations made by themselves and their staff are recorded, complete and recoverable.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of respondents to a Storage Magazine survey report they’ve been asked to perform a legal or compliance request, with 73 percent recovering that data from backup tape (and 29 percent from backup disk). But asked how confident they are that they could meet e-discovery requests, 47 percent of the Storage respondents are only “somewhat confident.” Ten percent are “not at all confident.” Still, 64 percent have made no technology purchases specifically for e-discovery, even though the e-discovery process for relevant e-mails can take months.

For more see govtech.com


Lack of Understanding of E-Discovery and Regulatory Requirements Exposes Businesses to Legal and Compliance Risks

RESTON, Va.–Surety, LLC, the leading provider of data integrity solutions, today announced the results of the 2008 Email Security and Authentication Survey. The survey of more than 800 IT security, email security and compliance professionals revealed that 65 percent of respondents lack confidence that their organization’s email records would be admitted as authenticated evidence in legal, regulatory or patent disputes.

The survey further revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents are concerned about their ability to authenticate email records and attachments and more than 50 percent of respondents remain unclear on new regulations and legal expectations related to email authentication.

“During a time when courts have set forth clear expectations for the authentication of electronically stored information (ESI), including email, it is troubling to learn that nearly half of IT professionals responsible for preserving email records are not fully aware of these requirements,” said Timothy Carroll, Partner, Vedder Price P.C. “These findings underscore why so many organizations are turning to content security solutions such as trusted time-stamping to preserve the integrity of their electronic records throughout the chain of custody.”

“Courts are wise to the ease with which electronic records can be manipulated,” said Tom Klaff, CEO of Surety, LLC. “High profile cases such as In re Vin Vinhnee and Lorraine v. Markel relate the expectation that electronic records be retained in their original state without alteration. The inability to irrefutably establish that your electronic records and its associated metadata have not been deleted or altered can be costly. These survey findings relate the necessity for IT professionals and legal teams to work together to deploy solutions that ensure litigation-readiness.”

Other findings in Surety’s the 2008 Email Security and Authentication Survey include:

*       Email retains its position as the most critical enterprise application. Seventy-one percent of respondents indicated that their organization’s use email to share information on a wide range of business-critical data, including documents related to company financial information, human resources and Intellectual Property (IP) and contracts with external parties.

*       Email takes center stage during e-discovery and during litigation. Nearly one-third of respondents indicate that their companies have been required to produce email during e-discovery requests and their email records have been used during litigation.

*       Many organizations have been slow to implement appropriate email storage and content security solutions. According to the survey, 48 percent of respondents do not have tools in place to store emails in their original form in a manner that does not leave them susceptible to tampering.

*       Wide-variety of corporate initiatives drive adoption of email authentication solutions. Regulatory compliance, e-discovery concerns, risk avoidance and internal policies mandating improved security represent the top drivers for the adoption of authentication solutions.

Full findings for Surety’s 2008 Email Security and Authentication Survey are available at www.surety.com/images/whitepapers/Surety_EmailSecuritySurvey_2008.pdf.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted by eMedia USA on behalf of Surety between April 8 and April 23, 2008, and included 808 IT security, email security and compliance professionals.

US Government Accountability Office Releases Report on Challenges in Implementing an Electronic Records Archive

On May 14, 2008, the GAO released a status report on the efforts to implement an Electronic Records Archive for the Federal Government.  The 21-page report chronicles the numerous challenges encountered in the massive project started back in 2001. Cost over-runs and delays in the project plan make clear that the public sector faces the same challenges as those in the private sector in respect of gaining control over information assets.  Developing a comprehensive electronic document management system is a daunting challenge and the risk of failure is high.  

These efforts are necessary, notwithstanding the risks.  As the report states:

The ability to find, organize, use, share, appropriately dispose of, and save records—the essence of records management—is vital for the effective functioning of the federal government. In the wake of the transition from paper-based to electronic processes, records are increasingly electronic, and the volumes of electronic records produced by federal agencies are vast and rapidly growing, providing challenges to NARA as the nation’s record keeper and archivist.

For the complete report, see GAO.gov

Electronic Communications Preservation Act — Government’s Attempt to Tame Electronically Stored Information

Finding “what you need when you need it” sounds simple enough, but the dramatic explosion of electronically stored information generated worldwide over the last few years has left individuals, business organizations, and even governments seriously challenged with knowledge management. 

To find what one needs when one needs it, we first must determine what we don’t need and establish a regular and secure process for disposing obsolete information.  I just cleaned my desk this morning, but the amount of time and thought required to clear my inbox or those thousand or so sent messages, is a different proposition altogether.

In the most recent attempt to tame the ESI beast, Congress has proposed a new piece of legislation intended to perserve important emails needed for historical purposes.  The Electronic Communications Preservation Act, introduced by House Democrats, is intended to address the recent problem with missing emails and backup tapes from the Bush Administration.  NARA has concerns with the bill, however, and the Justice Department has its own set of issues relative to legal and regulatory preservation matters.  Congress would be well served in leveraging the substantial expertise NARA and the private sector have to offer in this area.  Taming the ESI beast is not something anyone has achieved with a great deal of success, to date, but it is clearly a major risk area that organizations and governments will need to address and mitigate for many years to come.

For more on this story, see FCW.com.

Rule 702 and the Reliability of Evidence Obtained through Concept and Other Automated Search Methodologies

After my longest stint of silence in the history of The Datakos Blawg, this important subject has awakened me from a protracted slumber. It’s good to be back!

The link below will bring you to a very important article (well, the topic is important at least).  The test of reliability under Daubert will be the key for determining whether new search methodologies will ultimately replace traditional attorney review as the means for discovery in respect of dealing with ESI. The development will affect the litigation support technology and law firm industries, inasmuch as the former will gain increasing market share from the latter if the information derived from concept search and other search methodologies are deemed reliable and admissible. 

We pledge to keep our loyal readers abreast of common law developments applying Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence to the reliability and helpfulness of evidence obtained through new search methodologies.