While there has always been anecdotal evidence about concerns around social media and e-Discovery requests, new research by financial giant Deloitte shows that almost two thirds of companies fall into the “concerned” category.

The research, which was carried out for the Deloitte Forensic Centre by the Economist Intelligence Unit, shows that of the 337 e-Discovery professionals surveyed, 25% said that their company is not ready for e-Discovery requests based around business-related use of social media, while a further 36% said they were only “ somewhat prepared”.

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e-Discovery And Social Media

According to Jeff Seymour of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, one of the biggest challenges facing enterprises at the moment is that resolving the difficulties posed by social media requires adequate protection that will only be possible if both IT departments and legal departments work out a joint strategy together.

With electronically stored information rapidly rising in volume, avoiding e-discovery missteps requires cooperation from two corporate functions that typically have little in common and often don't speak the same language: legal and IT,” he said.

In this respect both sides appear to be blaming the other for the lack of communication with only 23% of legal departments suggesting their IT departments understand e-Discovery needs, and 23% of IT departments saying that their legal departments understand IT limitations in this respect.

This is further complicated by the fact that the vast majority of companies would not be able to comply with e-Discovery requests for information stored on third party platforms.

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Social Media Content

Of the companies surveyed for the report entitled e-Discovery: Mitigating Risk Through Better Communication only nine percent said they were confident of being able to access content that was stored in the cloud or was used in SaaS applications.

And for many of the respondents despite predictions that their company would be investing more in e-Discovery over the next three years, 61% said they don’t believe the situation to change any time soon. During the next three years:

  • 49% say more IT resources will be targeted at e-Discovery
  • 44% expect challenges to increase
  • 39% will spend more on e-Discovery
  • 61% expect things to be the same in three years

There is a lot more in this report that should be of interest to those working in e-Discovery, especially as it is completely vendor-neutral and shows no bias towards software from any of the major players.

Improving e-Discovery

The report also suggests five ways in which companies might improve their current e-Discovery standing:

  1. Training: Greater awareness in e-Discovery needs across all departments
  2. Communication: Cross-department and simultaneous training would help communication
  3. Social Media: Updated and flexible procedures to adapt to rapidly changing social media
  4. Leadership: Unambiguous executive level support for e-Discovery initiatives
  5. Vendor consolidation: Using few vendors for great software efficiencies

If you’re interested in more the report can be downloaded for free from the Deloitte Forensic Center