The Lazy Genius

Security News & Brain Dumps from Xavier Ashe, a Bit9 Client Partner

New litigation rules put IT on the front lines of data access

Posted by Xavier Ashe on November 25, 2006

On Dec. 1, when
the latest version of the FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) goes
into effect, CIOs and their IT departments will find themselves on the
firing line in most major business litigation. [Read about the cases that started it all.]

The
process in which businesses decide which data they are legally required
to save, and which they can safely throw out, is known as “e-discovery
and e-hold.” Until now, businesses have been forced to make e-discovery
and e-hold decisions based on a mixed bag of individual court
decisions, balanced by guesswork by their corporate legal teams. The
new FRCP changes all that, codifying a dangerously confusing situation.

Your
company’s chances of winning in court — or staying out of court
altogether — will be greatly enhanced by creating appropriate
enterprisewide procedures for retention and disposal of data and
documents.

Here are five significant changes to FRCP, and the processes your company should establish in order to be legally secure.

1. Rule 26 (f): Early discussion preparedness

This
rule mandates that the pretrial conference between opposing attorneys
will now have a very specific purpose. A sweeping requirement obliges
the company being sued to cite all storage systems that hold data
relevant to the litigation, all relevant data sources and data formats,
and the steps counsel has taken to prevent relevant data from being
deleted. To comply, companies will need a retention program that allows
the litigation department to provide and describe this information
accurately.

This is a must read for all CIOs, IT Managers, and company lawyers.  Read the full article on Infoworld.  Here's more information from the Newsletter of the Federal Courts, “Electronically Stored Information Target of New Rules.”

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