Move to the Left and Targeted Collection Featured Widely as a Key 2023 eDiscovery Trend

By John Patzakis

It is prediction season for trends in the eDiscovery space for 2023. While many good eDiscovery scribes have published their prognostications in recent days, the annual predictions and overall analysis from Doug Austin in eDiscovery Today are invariably insightful. As a top industry analyst, Austin is in constant contact with eDiscovery executives and professionals and thus has a good finger on the industry pulse.

One of his key predictions this year, which notably appears in several trending 2023 forecasts, centers around the upstream focus on information governance and targeted collection. “I’m hearing more legal and eDiscovery professionals than ever talk about the importance of information governance, early data assessment (EDA) and targeted collections in discovery,” reports Austin, who then poses a very good question about the ramifications of this trend: “What happens when eDiscovery professionals are no longer routinely collecting the entire data corpus of custodians to sort out downstream? The growth of data for eDiscovery hosting providers to host slows dramatically – which jeopardizes growth in hosting revenue that is based on gigabytes (GBs) online.”

There is a lot going on in terms of takeaways from this paragraph. The “collect everything and sort it out later” is still the dominant model for service providers and, as Austin points out, it can be difficult for them to pivot from this economic model. However, this highlights a key reason why many in house legal departments are now routinely deploying in-house collection and EDA solutions. There are significant cost savings and efficiencies to be gained by narrowing the data funnel upstream before the data is sent out for data hosting. And this approach is favored by the courts in applying the principles of proportionality now ensconced in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, with a wealth of case law establishing that ESI preservation efforts should be reasonable, proportionate, and targeted to only relevant information, as opposed to being overly broad and unduly burdensome.

While there is keen awareness of proportionality in the legal community, attaining the benefits requires the ability to operationalize workflows as far upstream in the eDiscovery process as possible. The case law and the Federal Rules provide that the duty to preserve only applies to potentially relevant information, but unless you have the right operational processes in place, you’re losing out on the ability to attain the benefits of proportionality. And with the proliferation of enterprise cloud data sources, it’s important that holistic and targeted collections encompass Microsoft 365 data as well as laptops and file shares.

To answer this unmet critical need, X1 has added MS 365 data connectors to our X1 Enterprise Collect platform. X1 Enterprise Collect provides users the unique ability to search and collect MS 365 data in-place. X1’s optimized approach of iterative search and targeted collection enables organizations to apply proportionality principles across both cloud and on-premise data sources with clear and consistent results for effective eDiscovery. The search results are returned in minutes, not weeks, and thus can be highly granular and iterative, based upon multiple keywords, date ranges, file types, or other parameters. This approach typically reduces the eDiscovery collection and processing costs by at least one order of magnitude (90%).

The X1 Enterprise Collect Platform is available now from X1 and its global channel network in the cloud, on-premise, and with our services available on-demand. For a demonstration of the X1 Enterprise Collect Platform, contact us at sales@x1.com. For more details on this innovative solution, please visit www.x1.com/x1-enterprise-collect-platform.

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Filed under Best Practices, Cloud Data, Corporations, eDiscovery, Enterprise eDiscovery, Information Governance, Preservation & Collection, proportionality

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