Challenges With Collaboration Data And The Ediscovery Process

| March 2 2023

Tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams were on the rise before the global pandemic; now, they’ve become integral for employee communication at large enterprises, whether they’re in the office, working from home, or a hybrid.

While there is a myriad of benefits of these new communication platforms, there are also plenty of downsides, particularly when it comes to data preservation and collection around investigations and litigation.

Technology is expanding and evolving every day. That leaves organizations unsure about what they should be preparing for or how they should be managing their collaboration data. The same goes for the courts. How much do they understand at this point about collaboration data?

Three Challenges with Collaboration Data and Ediscovery

The first challenge has nothing to do with the technology itself, but the behavior it fosters. There is an increased informality with the messages on collaboration platforms. It’s the new water cooler in an increasingly remote workplace. However, Informality can lead employees to be less discreet in their messaging, which could damage an organization’s reputation if those messages were ever to go public. The notion that you should never write anything that you wouldn’t want to be read in court applies to chat the same as it does memos and emails. But when you’re responding with emojis, GIFs, and memes, this becomes harder to remember. 

A second challenge is how large enterprises are managing collaboration data through the stages of the Ediscovery process. These messages are not like email. They’re unstructured and continue across multiple channels. Custodians may be harder to identify in the same way. And the well-known actions of searching, sorting, and culling are something new as well. If left until litigation is imminent, these seemingly routine processes may leave legal teams scrambling about how to handle their vast stores of collaboration data. 

Finally, the very definition of collaboration is expanding, causing Ediscovery professionals to constantly keep track of the SaaS tools their organizations are using. In addition to Teams and Slack, many organizations now collaborate on platforms like Jira, Confluence, Trello, and Asana, with new platforms and functions emerging all the time. The variety of new collaboration tools can present even more nuanced difficulties when it comes to the data they produce.

How Enterprises Can Meet Collaboration Data Challenges

Creating defensible data governance policies is a great first step in managing collaboration data's increasing volume and sprawl before litigation. Organizations should strive to set data governance policies that are practical, flexible, and easy to understand, allowing people to grow accustomed to the new policies without having to do so in the middle of a matter.

Employing defensible preservation and collection tools is another step. When it comes to ediscovery, one of the greatest difficulties of the increase in collaboration data is overproduction. Without the ability to filter messages or channels, nonresponsive messages, messages that are privileged, or the all-too-casual and irrelevant messages that often clutter up collaboration channels end up being sent to review teams, which is both costly and time-consuming, not to mention adds a layer of privacy risk by unnecessarily sending company data outside the organization.

Despite these challenges, collaboration tools aren’t going anywhere—in fact, they're still on the rise. With the expansion of collaboration platforms, enterprise legal teams will need to learn how to tackle the increase in the volume and content sprawl of collaboration data as it’s spread across different systems, as well as how to preserve, collect, and produce this data for ediscovery, preferably sooner than later. After all, you don’t want to learn how to manage massive volumes of new data sources in the middle of a high-stakes investigation or legal matter.


Download the 2022 Collaboration Data Benchmarking Report Today!

Download Report


Related posts

ESI Protocol Checklist For Collaboration Data

ESI Protocol Checklist For...

Why Are ESI Protocols Important for Legal Teams During Ediscovery? Ensure Preservation of Relevant ESI: ESI protocols ...

Read More >
Search is Everywhere. But What About Collaboration Data?

Search is Everywhere. But...

We Take Search for Granted Remember the days when you wanted to look for a document using the file manager on your ...

Read More >
Hanzo’s 2023 Legalweek Wrap-Up

Hanzo’s 2023 Legalweek Wrap-Up

The hot topic this year was how new technologies, like ChatGPT, are poised to disrupt the way legal work is done. Some ...

Read More >

Get in Touch to Learn More

Hanzo’s purpose-built, best-in-class solutions can help your readiness to respond to the next discovery request, investigation, or audit. Contact us to learn more.

Contact Us