Why Legal Hold is a Must-Have Feature in Email Archiving

December 04, 2017 by Jatheon

An estimated 85% of organizations in the United States are currently involved in some kind of litigation procedure. Sooner or later, your organization may get an eDiscovery request – a request to disclose information as evidence in a litigation case. Your employees’ online communication, IM chats, email threads or social media posts may be requested for various reasons. It could be an allegation of fraud, other unfair business practices, workplace disputes, privacy issues, discrimination or a sexual harassment case.

What happens in an eDiscovery case?

A court decides how much time the organization will have to produce the required data, and sometimes, it can be a matter of days. Locating the right data by digging through millions of emails in hundreds of cluttered mailboxes manually would be extremely time-consuming and costly.

Failure to deal with an eDiscovery request appropriately leads to legal sanctions. A court can order the offending company to pay fees for withholding ESI. A company’s destroyed or unavailable ESI can be presumed to have been harmful to their legal position. Because of such risks, organizations across the globe are looking for technological solutions that can assist them in the handling of electronic information during litigation procedures.

An email archiver with a fast search and legal hold options is crucial for a successful eDiscovery response. Click To Tweet

What companies need is a powerful device that archives email and other discoverable digital communication and enables easy access and retrieval of the archived data. Two email archiving features are crucial for a successful eDiscovery response. The first is an advanced search feature that will yield precise results very fast. The other is legal hold.

What exactly is legal hold?

In email archiving and eDiscovery, a legal hold (or litigation hold) is a process that organizations use to preserve relevant electronic information when they anticipate litigation. In other words, once a company learns of an oncoming investigation, audit or litigation, it must suspend the normal processing of records and must refrain from deleting email and other archived digital communication that could be relevant to the case. This means that certain electronic records need to be preserved beyond the originally specified retention period.

Legal hold means that certain electronic records need to be preserved beyond the original retention period. Click To Tweet

Applying legal hold to particular mailboxes protects email and social media data from being modified by users and ensures that the data contained in the mailboxes will not be (forcefully or automatically) removed from the archive.

Freezing i.e. disabling the deletion of specific user mailboxes has multiple benefits. Firstly, it helps to avoid evidence spoliation (the intentional or inadvertent deletion, altering or destruction of evidence). Secondly, it streamlines your archiving process as it allows you to preserve only the messages relevant to the case, while the rest can still be deleted in accordance with the original expunge settings. That prevents you from embracing the “save everything” strategy and makes sure you always have fresh storage space on your archiving appliance.

To learn more about legal hold in email archiving, read our white paper Why Your Archiving Solution Needs Legal Hold Features or schedule a personal demo for more info.

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