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Information governance policy key to big data e-discovery management

Big data creates many e-discovery challenges, but participants in the August #GRCchat said a comprehensive information governance policy can help.

In the age of big data, the typical organization's huge storage volume of structured and unstructured data complicates information governance processes. This includes e-discovery management: Businesses often struggle with what data must be kept for litigation and regulatory purposes, as well as deciding what information can be destroyed so it doesn't end up becoming an issue later on.

Many businesses have had to completely rework information management and e-discovery strategies to adapt. The trouble is most stored data is never needed for litigation purposes, making quick e-discovery of relevant legal information difficult. As businesses try to ensure their information systems and processes can produce relevant legal information, it strains company resources and increases costs.

In the latest SearchCompliance #GRCchat, we asked participants to discuss their opinions on the biggest big data discovery challenges facing organizations today:

The response from participants was almost unanimous: The sheer amount of big data for which the average business is responsible makes e-discovery management a daunting proposition.

To overcome these information governance obstacles, strict data and e-discovery management policies are a must to avoid legal and regulatory hassles. The problem is that most organizations don't have such policies, and the ones that do don't go far enough. This lack of policy only creates more questions (and associated legal issues) about who exactly is responsible to govern specific company information, according to #GRCchat participants.

But what, exactly, should that policy include to ensure effective e-discovery of various big data sources? Data classification and rock solid data retention schedules are vital to make sure information is quickly discoverable when needed for a legal case, according to #GRCchat participants.

How do you think big data has complicated e-discovery management for modern businesses and how can companies overcome these obstacles? Join the discussion by adding your opinion here, or by using the #GRCchat hashtag on Twitter.

For more coverage of this month's #GRCchat, follow @ITCompliance on Twitter and read our recaps on how big data is influencing e-discovery and information governance.

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How has big data complicated organizations' e-discovery management and information governance processes?
In a word: Immensely. Information you can't control is worthless, and the more data you have, the harder it is to maintain proper control over it. It's not just storing the data and indexing it so it's easy to find when you need it, either - there's also securing the system, making sure you have backups, and tying together a wide variety of different devices that might be involved. It's worst for companies who are trying to upgrade existing systems - big data isn't that hard to manage when you're building from the ground up, but most businesses don't have that luxury.
good point James - very tough for company to effectively manage (and derive any value from) data if companies don't know exactly what that data is. Definitely not going to get any easier as these data volumes grow, increasingly varied devices are used for business purposes and the potential for breaches continues.