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Of the many reasons that companies give for selecting an eDiscovery platform, saving money is high on the list. As it should be. But companies may not realize just how much money can be saved or rather how much it can cost not to implement an eDiscovery solution.

Thanks for Galina Datskovsky, senior vice president and general manager of the Information Governance business unit within the Governance group at CA, we present the true cost of eDiscovery.

In 2008 and 2009 companies without an active policy and strategy for eDiscovery content archiving solutions will spent a third more on eDiscovery than those with content archiving solutions. Source: Gartner, E-Discovery: Project Planning and Budgeting 2008-2011, February 2008.

Finding Your Data

Manual review is usually the most expensive aspect of discovery. With the cost for a junior-level associate at many law firms pulling in over US$ 200 per hour, the cost to review a single gigabyte (1GB) of data can amount to over US$ 30,000.

Instead of 1GB, a company’s data can easily exceed a terabyte (1,024 gigabytes) of data, the cost of manual review is almost always cost prohibitive.

The Sedona Conference. (2007). The Sedona Conference Best Practices Commentary on the Use of Search and Information Retrieval Methods in E-Discovery. The Sedona Conference Journal (Volume 8, Fall 2007), 192.

Keeping Your Data

Another costly component of manually reviewing data involves irrelevant data searches.

An internal study conducted by DuPont, in responding to discovery requests over a three-year period found that more than 50 percent of the documents reviewed were kept beyond the required retention period. The cost to review those documents: US$ 12 million.

Starting Over from Scratch

As if the costs associated with ineffectively searching and storing your data weren’t enough, many companies find themselves starting over each time, instead of implementing repeatable processes.

Continuing to employ unstructured processes, that is, complex, non-routine processes, can cost companies a lot of money in lost productivity and lack of compliance, among others.

Best Practices

Of course, if you find yourself among the many companies without an eDiscovery solution in place, it’s not too late. Datskovsky recommends a few tips about how to begin taking inventory of your archiving needs.

Create a Process

With more and more companies subject to compliance standards and regulations, chances are you have a guide established. Datskovsky recommends taking it one step further by writing it down and making it well known.

Start with a basic formula: If X, then Y.

Coming up with a compliant and workable solution will help you and your employees conceptualize a process.

Identify your High Risk Area

Datskovsky warns that your highest risk area may not be your most technological. Most investigations are human resource related. Whether it’s email or HIPAA, rank your systems by risk and then make a plan.

Prepare Now for the Future

There are many issues that will affect eDiscovery in the coming months. Social media and cloud computing included. Don’t wait for regulatory agencies to impose standards. Create your own.

While some companies will choose to outlaw social media platforms, those that choose to address them and embrace them will have a better chance at controlling them before they control the company.