Ediscovery And Compliance Considerations In A Work-From-Home World

| April 7 2020

Practical actions to ensure business continuity while reducing risk and preparing businesses to thrive in the future.

Remote Work Overnight

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has ignited an almost overnight adoption of work-from-home practices globally.  Businesses have sought to protect their workers and clients, as well as comply with government stay-at-home mandates ensuring public health and safety. Remote work has been progressively growing—Gallup data from 2016 shows that 43% of the workforce works at home at least some of the time—however, many companies have had to implement new technologies essentially on-the-fly to support this new remote work reality. 

 

Technology Adoption To Bring Remote Workers Together In Collaboration

Short-term organizations’ first order of business has been to provide remote working capabilities for everything from messaging and collaboration to facilitate general communications, to file sharing, meeting applications, and access to customer relationship management, marketing, and other enterprise management applications. 

Technologies to facilitate communication and collaboration have seen skyrocketing adoption.  Microsoft Teams and Slack, have seen usage soar to support remote team collaboration. We’ve also seen unique use cases emerge such as, Slack’s channel-based communication being used for sharing information among doctors pooling Covid-19 data, and as the communication platform for 13,000 volunteers including programmers, engineers, students and medical professionals trying to hack together tools like ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight Covid-19. 



Reflecting On The Risk And Opportunity In Responding To The Covid-19 Crisis

If your organization was an early adopter of collaboration platforms and other technologies that support remote work, and digital business that promotes business resilience, you may have everything in place to not only weather this crisis but position your organization to capture future growth. 

In Gartner’s analysis, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: Short- and Long-Term Actions for CIOs published on March 4, 2020, they gave business leaders another way to look at this crisis. 

‘“The Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two characters — wei (meaning “danger”) and ji (meaning “opportunity”) — see Figure 1. When traditional channels and operations are impacted by the outbreak, the value of digital channels, products and operations become immediately obvious and CIOs can present a more convincing business case.”

Gartner_Figure_1_Wei_Ji

 They went on to say, “This is a wake-up call for organizations that focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.”  

Now is the time for business leaders to have a cross-functional discussion on risk and opportunities to prepare for the future.

 

Considerations for Reducing Ediscovery and Compliance Risk Posed By Collaboration Technology

Channel-based messaging and collaboration platforms essentially replace email inside your company. Conversations in these applications tend to be quick, fragmented, and casual in nature, filled with emojis, and memes. Despite the friendly nature these messages are business communications and are thereby subject to all of the same obligations as other forms of communication (i.e.,corporate email). Now more than ever is the time to invest in your legal infrastructure and ensure your organization is compliant with regulatory requirements as well as meeting its obligations to preserve potentially relevant data for litigation. 

  • Policies and Guidelines: Review HR policies and ensure that acceptable use guidelines extend to the new collaboration technologies. 

 

  • Training: Ensure that every employee knows how to use the new technologies to maximize productivity gains and is aware of your rules or restrictions governing acceptable use of the technology.

 

  • Security: There is a wealth of information shared via workplace collaboration tools. How are you protecting the information from malware attacks, viruses, worms, ransomware and other risks? Educate your employees about security protocols and how to avoid phishing and other social engineering attacks.

 

  • Privacy: Protecting employees and customers personally identifiable information and confidential information is legally required. Ensure that your organization and your employees are aware of how to maintain compliance with such regulations as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

 

  • Information Governance: Your organization likely already has information governance guidelines for existing platforms. Take this time to review the information governance capabilities and start applying appropriate retention and deletion standards.

 

  • Defensible Preservation and Ediscovery: The data in these systems are business communications and therefore are discoverable. Ensure that you have a way to collect, preserve, review and produce information in a fully defensible and cost-effective manner.

 

  • Compliance: For companies in regulated industries such as financial institutions, you must ensure that you have policies governing the use of digital collaboration tools. Additionally, you need a solution for archiving and supervision of these communications to identify and remediate risk. 

 

Still have questions? 

We know, collaboration brings forth many opportunities and challenges. We’re here to help and have a compiled 6-Part Slack Ediscovery Essentials Collection to help you navigate this transition to a collaborative and remote world. 

Ediscovery-essentials-guide-whole-eBook-socialDownload: Slack eDiscovery Essentials: Complete 6-Part Collection

 

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