Workplace collaboration tools like Slack and MS Teams have become ubiquitous in many organizations. However, they also present unique challenges for data governance and ediscovery in the event of litigation. To avoid potential legal issues and fines, it is crucial to have a tailored retention policy, acceptable use policy, and employee training in place. Moreover, during litigation, having a well-defined ESI protocol and aligning with experts who understand the specific platform being used is important. This article will explore collaboration data best practices before, during, and after litigation, as well as tips for choosing legal technology solutions and organizational collaboration tools.
Collaboration Data Best Practices Before Litigation
Here are some tips for governing data in workplace collaboration tools:
Have a tailored retention policy in place. A tailored retention policy is specific to the needs of your organization. It should take into account the types of data that are stored in your workplace collaboration tools, the regulatory requirements that apply to your organization, and the business needs of your organization. This policy should be developed with input from subject matter experts and stakeholders, including legal and privacy concerns. Getting buy-in from leadership is crucial, as well as ensuring that the policy is workable and reusable. To develop a workable schedule, one needs to understand how the tools are being used and the regulatory framework that the company operates under.
Have an acceptable use policy. This policy helps with governance and administration decisions such as retention periods for each type of chat. An acceptable use policy is a document that outlines the rules and guidelines for how employees can use workplace collaboration tools. It should include information on things like data security, privacy, and compliance.
Provide employee training and education on workplace collaboration tools. It is important to provide employees with training on how to use workplace collaboration tools effectively since technology is continually evolving. This training should cover things like how to use the tools, how to protect data, and how to comply with company policies.
Be prepared for litigation. Collaboration data is not going away and is increasing. It is important to have a plan in place for how to manage this data in the event of a legal dispute.
Collaboration Data Best Practices During Litigation
Here are some tips for collecting data from workplace collaboration tools during litigation:
Train employees on the discoverability of instant messages. Instant messages are just as discoverable as emails, so it is important to train employees on how to use them in a way that is compliant with the law.
Investigate early in litigation. The sooner you start investigating, the more time you will have to collect and produce data.
Align with experts who understand the specific platform being used. Collaboration platforms can be complex, so it is important to work with experts who can help you understand how to manage the data.
Create a well-defined ESI protocol. This will help to limit the amount of data that needs to be collected and produced.
Address ediscovery issues early: Such as the scope of the search and production, producing additional messages around search term hits for context, production format, and privilege logging. These are all important considerations when managing collaboration data during litigation.
Be aware of the risks of failing to investigate early or not using experts. Courts have recently granted motions for sanctions due to failures in timely investigation and lack of expertise in using the platform.
Collaboration Data Best Practices for Legal Technology
Here are some tips for choosing legal technology solutions and organizational collaboration tools:
There are many SaaS applications that allow people to collaborate. Most people think of Slack or MS Teams but there are many other collaboration tools enterprises use, including, Google Chat, Asana, Jira, and Confluence.
Work with the IT Department: It is important to map out these various applications and work with your IT staff to determine which ones have retention capabilities. This will help you to ensure that your data is properly managed and preserved.
Understand the built-in ediscovery tools for each platform: Rank the applications based on their suitability for ediscovery and in-place preservation. This will help you to focus on the applications that are the best fit for the needs of your organization.
Consider tomorrow's needs when selecting systems. Think ahead about the capabilities of the applications you may onboard in the future.
Collaboration data is not going away, and organizations need to be prepared to manage it effectively to avoid potential legal issues. By following best practices for data governance, employee training, and ediscovery during litigation, organizations can mitigate risks and avoid potential fines. Furthermore, selecting the right legal technology solutions and organizational collaboration tools with built-in ediscovery capabilities can make a significant difference in managing collaboration data. Ultimately, staying up-to-date with best practices can ensure that organizations are well-positioned to manage their data effectively and avoid legal issues in the future.
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Ediscovery Best Practices for Slack and MS Teams from Information Governance Through Litigation