3 Things Corporate Legal Needs to Know Part 2: Where Is the Data Being Made?

October 15, 2021
In the first Insight of our three-part series, Daniel Gold, Managing Director of BDO E-Discovery Managed Services, discussed who is making the data in a corporate legal environment. In this second Insight, we will discuss where that data is being made.

While it was true before, over the past two years employees are creating data and storing it either on their company-issued enterprise cloud storage folders such as Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint. For some other companies, they may still be on private data centers and the data is being saved using these network shares. What may surprise many who are not in Legal, IT and HR is that the data that is being generated in multiple Microsoft Teams or other video conferencing chat sessions is that this data is also discoverable. Data created in Teams sites, channels and private chats are all discoverable. Data created in text messages pertaining to work are all discoverable as well. Essentially, any time an employee talks to someone else at work or someone retained by the company in some aspect about the company is potentially discoverable in a litigation, compliance matter, or general investigation.

Data Governance Firestorm

One technologically unfortunate side effect of a remote work force was finding that many companies didn’t have the appropriate data creation, retention, destruction, backup policies in place or the technology associated with security and encryption to ensure that company data and especially sensitive data was being created in such as fashion that it would conform to company employees. The ease and benefit of mobile and tablet devices also translates into data being made in these locations as well. What’s more, because many employees may not have company issued laptops, the data is also being created on personal machines. All of this translates into a data governance firestorm and makes it much more difficult to manage and collect.

Where Is Your Data Created?

And, what many companies learned by going remote is that data is also being created on personal devices and not always getting backed up to the cloud. When IT, Legal and HR work together to ensure that there are policies wrapped around the data that is being generated, then companies will ultimately reduce risk and liability as well as costs. Data that has been created by employees on personal devices becomes a monstrous and expensive task to hold, preserve, and collect data on machines that are not company-issues. If companies were thinking of how to create a digital transformation prior to the pandemic – well, those plans were most certainly accelerated. Having policies, technology, and compliance around security, encryption, data protection, data versioning, data backups, and collaboration in shared documents, it is important that the creation of employee data stay within the corporation’s policy framework.
In our final Insight, we’ll look at the importance of understanding what apps are intertwined with your data.

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