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Archiving To Help Solve BYOD

We have written before about the security, privacy, compliance and legal issues created by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon.  And if BYOD seems difficult here in the US, it’s far more difficult in the EU with its stronger protection of personal data.  With BYOD, personal information is being mixed with corporate information on an employee-owned device, often with no real corporate oversight, creating all kinds of new problems.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s office recently published guidance to assist organizations in dealing with BYOD concerns in the EU.  Of course, a main point is that having a clear and effective BYOD policy is a crucial step for any organization.  But one issue, along with its related advice, really caught our attention:

     “If copies of data are stored on many different devices. . . there is an increased risk that personal data will become out-of-date or inaccurate over time … [or] retained for longer than is necessary … [because] it is more difficult to keep track of all copies of the data.  Using devices to connect to a single central repository of data can help mitigate this risk.”   [Emphasis added].

Centralized archives, operating and retaining data according to company policies, serve this purpose.  For example, rather than having email (and attachments) stored on various email servers, in PST files and on devices for every custodian, it should be stored, maintained, accessed (and ultimately deleted) from a single instance email archive.  Each device can serve as a “window” to that centralized content so that it’s accessible as needed, and then deleted.  This avoids creating new instances of each message that are stored and managed for each individual device requiring access to the data.  And this same concept can be applied to documents from file systems, Sharepoint, even records management systems.

Not every organization will have to meet EU (or even EU-style) data requirements.  But centralizing and managing content is a solid best practice that will pay dividends no matter where you are located.

EMC SourceOne 7 Archiving and eDiscovery: A Key Pillar of any Data Protection Strategy

As you may have already read in this morning’s EMC Data Domain and SourceOne blog,  EMC is taking data protection to the next level, and to that point, the version 7 release of EMC SourceOne is now available.  SourceOne 7 represents the next generation archiving platform for email, file systems and Microsoft SharePoint content and includes SourceOne Discovery Manager 7, which together, enhance an organization’s ability to protect and discover their data. In fact, in ESG’s recent  “Data Protection Matters” video featuring Steve Duplessie, ESG’s founder and Senior Analyst, it was stated that  “backup and archive are different but complimentary functions” that both are “key pillars of a data protection strategy”, and that “backup without archive is incomplete”. I find this to be in perfect alignment with EMC’s strategy for data protection, and with this in mind, I’d like to review some of the great features of EMC SourceOne 7.

Let’s take File System data as an example. Have you ever needed to locate file system data in your infrastructure without a purpose built archive to assist? Perhaps searching data for business reuse, an eDiscovery request, an audit or investigation? How did that work for you? Often, it’s a time consuming exercise in futility, or at best, an incomplete exercise with non-defensible results. Well, with the latest release of SourceOne for File Systems, a quick search can produce an accurate result set of all files that meet your search criteria AND you never had to physically archive that content.  That’s because this release offers “Index in Place” which enables organizations to index the terabytes (or petabytes!) of data that exists “in the wild” without having to move that data to the archive. How cool is that? Users and applications continue to transparently access that data as needed, yet sitting on top is a layer of corporate compliance.  Now you can apply retention and disposition policies to this data, discover information when required and place only the data that needs to be put on “legal hold” into the physical archive.

SourceOne 7 uniquely addresses each form of content. Since our next gen archiving family was built from platform level up, all content types are managed cohesively, yet each type of content is archived in such a way that compliments the content itself. For instance, archiving MS SharePoint you can:

  • Externalize active data to:
    • Save on licensing and storage costs
    • Increase  SharePoint’s performance
    • Provide transparent access to the content
  • Archive inactive content to:
    • Further decrease storage and licensing requirements
    • Make data available for eDiscovery and compliance
    • Set consistent retention and disposition policies
    • Provide users with easy search and recall from the MS SharePoint Interface

When it comes to the IT administrator, there are plenty of advantages to SourceOne, as well. Our entire archive is managed from a single console; all email, MS SharePoint, and File System data is captured into one archive that eases administrative management burden and decreases the margin of error when creating and executing policies against all types of content. The IT admin can also monitor and manage the overall health of the archive server using their existing monitoring tools, such as MS SCOM.   Improved ROI of monitoring tools, marginal learning curve, and IT efficiency are all part of SourceOne 7.  And of course, for the IT admin there’s the comfort in knowing that the data is being protected while transparently available to end user.

EMC's Source Once

The shift in IT infrastructure certainly encompasses virtualization, and most organizations take advantage of our ability to virtualize SourceOne. This next gen architecture allows the “snap on” of worker servers (either virtually or physically) with no disruption to the processes running on the existing archive servers, allowing  for expansion and contraction of servers and services as necessary. And, with all the new auditing and reporting capabilities in SourceOne 7, it’s a breeze determining when you may need to consider either adding or subtracting servers/virtual machines to handle the workload, to examine trends, and to ensure compliance.

Every good archive deserves its own discovery tool, and with SourceOne Discovery Manager 7, you’ll find just that, an easy to use, intuitive interface that allows for discovery of all email, SharePoint and File System content within the archive.

Source One User Interface

With Discovery Manager you can:

  • Collect archived data (even that “indexed in place” data) to be managed as part of a matter
  • Place into hold folders
  • Perform further review, culling, and tagging
  • Export to industry standard formant such as EDRM XML 1.0/1.2   and others

Data protection based on growth and recovery requirements are changing and “one size recovery fits all” is no longer a viable option – to address all the data protection challenges takes a holistic approach to managing this business critical information.  EMC solutions which include SourceOne 7 for archiving and eDiscovery, in conjunction with our best of breed backup and hardware platforms, make this happen. On that note, please make sure to read about the new Data Domain 5.3 capabilities for backup and archive, in their supporting blog, here.   To find more information on EMC SourceOne, please visit our EMC.COM SourceOne Family and Archiving websites.

eDiscovery and Sharepoint

I am consistently surprised that the eDiscovery of Microsoft Sharepoint repositories does not strike more fear into organizations.  Sharepoint is complex, contains different types of documents/objects, can have rich metadata and is a key repository for business content.  Yet most organizations that we talk with state that they are not concerned with their ability to handle eDiscovery work on Sharepoint sites.

There are several potential reasons for this hands-off attitude:

– There are no significant reported cases where a party was sanctioned for failing to properly preserve or collect content from Sharepoint.  I did some of my own research in a few eDiscovery caselaw databases, and none of my searches located the word “sharepoint” in connection with a sanctions motion;

– Few litigants seem to be asking for Sharepoint content during discovery.  (Of course this is not a valid reason for organizations to ignore it.  The duty to preserve and produce ESI is not tied to whether the other party asks for the content.  But in reality, if both sides bury their heads in the Sharepoint sand, then no one knows whether relevant content is being ignored).

– Most organizations lack the tools and capabilities to discover from Sharepoint, at least beyond basic Office documents that might be stored in a site.  Whether Legal is aware that IT is not undertaking discovery of Sharepoint sites is a good question to ask.

What makes Sharepoint more complex than a fileshare, at least in eDiscovery?  Many different types of content can be stored in a site:  documents, email messages, OneNote files, webpages, community posts, microblogs, Lync IMs, and more.  Not all of this content is readily accessible, so eDiscovery teams may have difficulty in locating relevant content.  Even when found, the preservation and collection of that content can be difficult.

Metadata in eDiscovery is often a misunderstood issue, and Sharepoint has a lot of metadata.  For example, each user can define a set of metadata tags for use with documents.  This information is arguably not relevant in many cases, but it may be useful or important in locating relevant documents.  And since one cannot rule out relevancy before a case even begins, organizations need a plan to capture this information when necessary.

A more advanced but still important concern is with authentication and admissibility of the Sharepoint content.  The creator of a document can often be difficult to determine, even on a fileshare where the “owner” of that document may be clear (based on the directory structure).  In Sharepoint, the situation can be far murkier due to its collaboration capabilities.  For example, multiple parties may have contributed to a document but the identified owner and creator may not be part of that group.  (For some great background on these issues, download The Sedona Conference Commentary On ESI Evidence & Admissibility).

What can you do?

– Legal and IT should get together to discuss the organization’s Sharepoint deployment and determine whether it is (or should be) on the Data Map; and if so, how content can best be located, preserved and collected when necessary.  Microsoft has added some eDiscovery capabilities to Sharepoint 2013 but whether those features are sufficient, and how to handle prior versions of Sharepoint, remain a concern;

– The organization should consider (now!) policies relating to the retention of Sharepoint content.  This is a great step to take before the situation becomes too difficult to handle because Sharepoint adoption tends to grow very rapidly.

Archiving: The Secret Sauce to IT Transformation (Part 3)

Lady Backup closes the 3rd part of this series by looking at archiving solution requirements.    I’ll frame this in the context of the key archiving benefits discussed in the last blog.

One important differentiation is whether your archive solution can handle multiple content types.  There are lots of solutions out there that specialize in one content archiving type but an integrated content archiving approach eliminates even more silos in your IT environment.

Another consideration is the archival storage footprint.  Here a combination of single instancing and deduplication can shrink the archival storage requirements.  When we think about retention in years, decades or longer, this is a key consideration.

Benefit 1: Archiving increases operational efficiency.

You want an archiving solution that can provide a phased approach to keeping your production environment lean.

Take an example from email…. After 90 days, you might want to replace attachments with a pointer to content stored in the archive – seamlessly available to your users.  And then after 2 years you might want to completely remove the content from the production environment but still allow users to search the archive  (until its retention period expires).

The same concept can be applied to file systems, for example, if you have an integrated content archiving solution.

Benefit 2: Archiving improves end user productivity. 

When it comes to users, simple is better.  So here, an intuitive, easy to use search interface is important.  Search functionality should include basic searches (e.g. date based) or more granular searches (e.g. keywords).  You may also want to allow users to restore files as a result of an archive search.

But you will probably also need to support more sophisticated administrator searches. When I say “discovery search and holds”  – I am not only talking about litigation.  There are many examples where internal teams need to do investigative searches, say for HR, intellectual property, and even finance related situations.

Your archive should support both search requirements – for business productivity but also to securely hold content that is subject to any type of audit, investigation, etc.

Benefit 3: Archiving consistently manages retention policies.

Your archive should be capable to execute as simple or complex rules to collect, store, retain and ultimately dispose of content that meets your corporate policies and/or comply with regulatory obligations.    Your archiving solution should give you the ability to treat all content the same or to allow for different policies by different groups/users and/or different content types.

Finally, many people still confuse their backup with an archive.  Let’s be clear – your backup is NOT an archive.  I’ll have much more to say on this topic in future posts…

LB

BYOD: Bring Your Own . . . Disaster?

While the “Bring Your Own Device” phenomenon seems to be gathering even more momentum, few organizations seem to be working on the compliance issues that BYOD can create.  BYOD is clearly an important technology wave, but without some thoughtful planning, this BYOD could easily turn into “Bring Your Own Disaster”.

BYOD can be loosely defined as employees using their own devices to access company resources and complete job-related tasks.  In the real-world, BYOD can be as simple as an employee using personal funds to purchase a cell phone for business use; or as complex as an employee-purchased tablet (or laptop!) with monthly wireless charges reimbursed by the company and access to the company network encouraged.   These devices can boost productivity but with an impact.  Some companies have found that several hundred applications — typically unapproved and many completely unknown to the company — are touching their network from employee smartphones.

BYOD creates concerns that need to be addressed, or at least considered.  In the more complex situations (usually with laptops or tablets), both corporate and personal data will probably be mixed on the device.  If a mixed use device contains illegal or infringing data, is the company responsible?  If a lawsuit or investigation requires access to the employee’s data, does the company have the right — or obligation — to collect relevant information from the device?  What if it has the obligation but not the right?   And what happens if data is clearly relevant to a company issue but also clearly personal to the employee — will the employee resist?

Specific regulations regarding data retention or security may also be triggered.  How does an employer insure that record content created on these devices, which may have never touched a corporate server, is retained for required retention periods?  Insuring compliance with regulations such as HIPAA (related to health information) and 17a-4 (broker-dealer communications) is unlikely without the company having some access to and knowledge of information created and/or stored on the device.  Outside the US, the problem can become more difficult because data privacy laws further limit the company’s access to the information.

What can you do?  Although the ultimate solutions will likely be technology based, start with policies.  Dust off your records retention, email retention, corporate network, cell phone, security and other related policies and read them with an eye on BYOD issues. Consider whether the company can or should mandate access to a personal device used for corporate purposes, or create an obligation granting access to the device if it has data necessary for the company’s regulatory requirements or legal requests.  There is not yet much guidance from the courts on whether this is sufficient, but putting these requirements in writing is a start.

Longer term solutions may be technology based.  Access to company resources via smartphone and tablets can be controlled through security applications installed on the device.  Applications (like EMC’s Syncplicity) can deliver the convenience and open collaboration of an application like DropBox but with corporate controls.  And some creative planning can insure that most email and documents available on a smartphone or tablet are also on a corporate network for easier access and retention.

But beware —  employees and employers may not see eye-to-eye on many of these concerns. For example  over 75% of employees said they would not give an employer access to see the apps installed on their device and would not permit a tracking application to identify their whereabouts.  

Like it or not, BYOD is here.  Giving it some consideration and planning now can help you ensure the productivity side of BYOD without the disaster.

Reflections From LegalTech

Last week marked the latest iteration of LegalTech New York, “the most important legal technology event of the year.”  

I cannot begin to give you a play-by-play of the event, but I can give you my view on three trends I saw from visitors to the EMC Booth, hallway discussions and meetings with customers and analysts: 

1.  Information Governance has arrived.  While many topics were of interest, including eDiscovery, privacy, security, compliance, iPads, etc., there’s a better realization that we cannot approach these issues individually.  The umbrella of Information Governance gives all of us — legal, IT, Records, Security, Compliance officers, “the business”, the executive suite, etc. — a better platform from which to work. 

2.  Machine Brains are promising.  While technology-assisted review for eDiscovery was a very hot topic, there’s a growing understanding that these machine classification technologies have a lot of promise in other areas.  Using machines to assist with archiving, data classification, retention, etc. is a significant area of interest.  (As an aside, I also thought I saw the beginnings of some healthy realization that these tools are not “push button” but require process, knowledge and some actual work).  

3.  Security, security, security.  All of us love our technology tools, whether an iPad, Nexus 7 or even a Blackberry.  And these tools do make us more productive and efficient.  But the security problems that we’ve always had are now that much worse with data residing in more locations and with significantly more access (legal or unlawful).  It’s not a disaster waiting to happen — it’s one that’s happening and waiting to be discovered.  (Again, it’s an issue that can best be addressed as part of a larger overall InfoGov program). 

If you were there, please add your comments below about what you took away from the show.  

 

 

Viva La Resolution!

Although I strictly avoid New Year’s Resolutions, January is often a good time to think about the year ahead.  Last year at this time I created a wish list hoping that we would all learn more about archiving, machine classification, social media and “the cloud”. 

While those topics remain very important this year, let’s start 2013 by focusing on an umbrella issue — “Information Governance”.  To me, very simply, Information Governance encompasses all of the things that we’ve focused on individually during the last several years in the information world — eDiscovery, archiving, retention policies, defensible deletion, security, records management, privacy, etc.  (Deb Logan of Gartner has a far more thoughtful definition). 

How do you “do” Information Governance?  That’s a very good question and I don’t know that anyone yet has a great answer.  The best thing that we can do, today, is to be better educated on the issues outside of our main focus area so that we can better understand the impact of our own initiatives.  For example, the legal department’s goal of making information more accessible and searchable for eDiscovery may impact privacy and even security concerns.  An IT goal to move email to the public cloud to save money may create compliance and eDiscovery nightmares.  And an initiative to delete “legacy” data could wreak havoc with records management policies.

For now, spend some time learning about what your colleagues are doing in their areas of expertise, across IT, legal, records, compliance, security, etc.  You may find that the big picture quickly becomes much clearer.  

P.S.  Hope to see you at the EMC booth at Legal Tech.