Thursday, 26 July 2007

Introduction to e-discovery

I'm a fairly pragmatic sort of person, not easily offended and generally play well with others. So, on my first day back in the office I did the usual hellos, smiled accordingly and switched on my PC to let it download the deluge of emails I was expecting from my 2 weeks away. You will all know what I'm talking about here, apart from the automated emails from the Security Bloggers Network, Vendorcom, Yahoo! Groups, etc. I usually get a dozen or so emails from colleagues asking me splendid and worthy questions (no room for sarcasm here, this is a serious blog), and half a dozen from desperate customers wanting to buy software, hear my wisdom, listen to my dulcet voice or just aching to see my face again. Sorry, I may have slipped a little into sarcasm there.

So, imagine my dismay when I found there were less than 20 mails in my inbox this morning. What to do for the first 2 hours of work that I had got in early and put aside my morning for? Thank blog for this outlet of frustration and pent up angst. So what's happened to all the desperate colleagues/customers/automated robots? Well, of course it's the end of July, they've all blogged off on holiday. No-one's doing anything in Spain until October, so expect to see a lot of activity herein.

Side note: Sorry about the over-use of "blog" here, but it's a very versatile word, and the only other word this useful in the English language is universally offensive - clue: starts with an "F" and would fit in nicely where I've used "blog" so far, apart from the "Security Bloggers Network" and this being "a serious blog", the alternatives do not bear repetition, no matter their accuracy.

However, with this small burden lifted, I was able to do a bit of reading, and noticed a distinct trend in what I have been sent. It seems that e-discovery is peering over my horizon, in the US it may be fairly mainstream already, but over here it has yet to make any sort of bang. e-discovery being "identification, collection and processing of relevant data on servers, workstations and laptops anywhere on a global network, without disrupting business operations." Reference: EnCase's website.

And from Kazeon: "According to the 2006 Business Roundtable Survey, chief executive officers rank litigation among their top cost pressures. Other studies show that most organizations lack the basic ability to find relevant documents and provide enforceable preservation policies, which explains why eDiscovery readiness tops the list of litigation concerns for corporate law departments."

This has shades of past posts about it for me. I talked recently about data-classification, de-duplication, why they aren't DRM, etc. I read a nice little quote yesterday from Vannevar Bush, early internet contributor, died before I was born (born in the late 1800s!), which makes him a legend in my book. Certainly when he says something as sensible as this as far back as 1945: "When data of any sort are placed in storage, they are filed alphabetically or numerically, and information is found by tracing it down from subclass to subclass. . . The human mind does not work that way. It operates by association."

This is worth a longer discussion, so consider this an introduction to stuff I will continue to talk about here whilst the summer kicks in and people come to Barcelona to get pissed (British English/American English disambiguation: drunk, not annoyed) on cheap booze and sing football (BE/AE dis: hardcore tribal soccer, not that girlie shoulder pads and helmets game) songs in the street outside whilst I go to work and sweat.

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