Big Data is a hot concept in the business world right now. As a business phenomenon, the immediate benefits of utilizing Big Data are part reality and part hope. On the reality side, most medium and large-sized organizations do have some form of Big Data issues to contend with, meaning they have data sets so large and complex that they are difficult to process using on-hand database management tools and other tools – but because they have Big Data, they also have the desire to mine it, use it and gain insights related to the business, from it..
The mythology component comes into play when Big Data is hailed as a wondrous treasure trove of information that, once mined (that is, in the right way), will lead companies to great riches and success because suddenly new products will become known and more efficient processes will show themselves. That’s not to say there isn’t much to gain from mining Big Data. It can contain useful information that does help companies create success.
However, capitalizing on the information contained in Big Data requires tools, skill, patience and a little luck. That’s also true for a specific subset of Big Data: the legal compliance area of information management known as eDiscovery, which presents its own special difficulties. If traditional Big Data issues pose challenges to process for business insights, legal Big Data (eDiscovery, et al.) is even more challenging in that it requires data handling standards more strict than normal data migration or IT-related Big Data processing.
The Big Data associated with eDiscovery deals with potential and actual designated evidence. That means there must be a record of its creation, transfer, use and storage – a virtual chain of custody. As well, maintaining data integrity is paramount to ensuring its usefulness, whether in court or as a part of another legal scenario, such as a hearing, arbitration or regulatory examination.
To complicate matters even further, legal Big Data tends to come from unstructured locations such as emails filed by a user manually in a folder in Outlook or a presentation stored on a USB key. This makes it more difficult to identify, gather and use. For these reasons, eDiscovery has its own Big Data challenges, ones that are not necessarily easily solved using some of the newest Big Data mining and analysis techniques that are coming to market with great fanfare.
The good news is that Big Data is nothing new to eDiscovery professionals. These professionals rarely have the luxury of using typical and mature data mining and analysis techniques such as refined BI tools. Those of us working within the legal data compliance and legal information management industries know all too well the kludges, hacks, jimmying and other band-aided and duct-taped methods for identifying, gathering, processing, analyzing and otherwise handling data in a fast and furious manner, all to avoid the scenario in which lawyers are waiting for technical professionals to produce documents.
Through necessity, we have become very good at ensuring the rapid delivery of the few critical emails and presentations needed for the case among the millions that are not relevant, and we’re capable of doing it all in a way that withstands the computer forensic scrutiny of the domain, having developed specific new tools to mine Big Data for legal matters. So when it comes to combing through large data sets for legal assets and evidence, it pays to turn to the professionals who know how to get it done right – eDiscovery experts.
By Alon Israely,
Alon Israely, an attorney and Certified Information Systems Security Professional, is Manager of Strategic Partnerships at BIA. Introduced in 2011 and built on technology utilized since 2002, BIAs TotalDiscovery is the first on-demand, cloud-based integrated Legal Hold, Data Collection and ECA Solution available. With no software to install or hardware to provision, TotalDiscovery can be utilized immediately, with no extensive training or configuration required. TotalDiscovery was designed for cases of all sizes, from a few custodians to thousands. With its unique, flexible and predictable pricing model, no up-front costs and instant availability, it was designed with small and medium size cases in mind, while its advanced features, like Enterprise Connectivity, cater to the needs of larger enterprises. Find out more at www.totaldiscovery.com.