For any company who’s faced a discovery request – whether it is a public-facing organization with a Freedom of Information request, a business performing an internal investigation, or a company facing a regulatory challenge or eDiscovery request – fulfilling those requests in an efficient and cost-effective manner is a real challenge.
Whilst organizations can prepare ahead of time for discovery by implementing policies to retain information that is most likely to be subject to discovery requests, there is one key aspect that is vital.
Discovery is all about search
How do you find information for a request? You search for it.
This is where search becomes a must-have, versus a nice-to-have. Despite all the advances in technology, virtually every search starts with keywords. Why? Because this is the only way to start finding information that’s going to respond to the requests.
The two discovery terms people use are responsive and relevant, and they’re very different: A document is “responsive” if it is returned from a given keyword search. It doesn't necessarily have any bearing on what’s being requested – keyword searches are notoriously over-inclusive.
The information that is returned in response to this search needs to be examined to determine how much of is relevant. More specific keyword searches can then be made on this information to further refine and filter what is actually relevant.
Who carries out the searching?
The only way to find information that’s responsive to a request, and hopefully relevant, is to search for it. This creates several dilemmas in most organizations.
The first dilemma is where to search. While the IT department generally knows where to look for information, the requester usually does not. This means that IT needs to interpret what’s being requested and to focus only on those locations, repositories, and servers that might contain the information needed.
Because IT is carrying out the search, all they can do is take the request, turn it into keywords, perform very inclusive searches, and find all the information which is responsive. They then turn this over to the requester, who must wade through volumes of information to determine what is relevant. The ratios can be staggering: out of all the responsive information, less than 20% may actually be relevant.
This is the second dilemma: IT doesn't know exactly what they’re looking for. The requester does, and could probably do a better job at searching, since they could craft better searches, instantly recognize those which return relevant information, then iterate and refine searches to narrow-down the information much more quickly. The problem unfortunately, is that the requester doesn't know where to look.
A better approach to solve these dilemmas
Information Management systems approach this problem differently, and solve the dilemma of discovery is a very straightforward way.
First, these systems – such as Barracuda’s recently-announced Advanced Discovery product – focus on the requester’s paradigms, not those of the IT department. This means a requester can easily craft the searches, iterating and refining to narrow-in on only relevant requests, and eliminate the need to go back-and-forth with the IT department. The terminology and workflow are both familiar to the requester. In other words, the requesters can perform their own searches. Not only is this more efficient, it’s less frustrating for both parties, and provides better results.
Second, solutions like Advanced Discovery eliminate the quandary of “where to search” by being location-agnostic. They leverage their knowledge of the organization’s data stores and can search archives, live emails, and locally-saved documents (i.e., desktops). They can also search inside container files such as PST files.
By eliminating the question of where to search, the requester, again, is no longer dependent upon IT and can easily perform searches themselves.
IT know where to look for information, legal and business users know what they are looking for and which search terms to use, the ArchiveOne Advanced Discovery console recognizes this dilemma and takes an innovative approach to address it.
Find out more about Advanced Discovery …
- Barracuda ArchiveOne
- Barracuda Simplifies Corporate-Wide Information Management – New ArchiveOne version 7.0 Provides Expanded Information Management, with New Advanced Discover Application
- Barracuda information management blog
Rich is the Product Marketing Manager, Information Management. He's been with Barracuda since the acquisition of C2C Systems in 2014. Rich specializes in cloud-deployed solutions, information management, and archiving systems. His experience includes extensive work on OEM opportunities and the legal community.
You can email Rich at email@example.com.