Many litigation-prone organizations have installed archive and e-Discovery point solutions with the purposes ensuring record retention compliance, improving auditability, reducing the cost of e-discovery, and protecting themselves from litigation. Inherent in these solutions is a “data retention forever” strategy.
These solutions are not sustainable long term for three reasons:
- The cost of retaining all electronic records forever is increasing forever;
- The costs of e-discovery is directly related to the amount of data retained, and these costs are escalating exponentially;
- Data retention forever increases the legal risk by creating more opportunities for an adversarial counsel to re-write history.
The growing consensus is that organization should move from a reactive data retention forever strategy to a proactive strategy that allows the deletion of records when end of life-cycle is reached (see Stop reacting and start managing archiving and retention risk,The yin and yang of information risk management and Time to rethink archiving and retention strategies).
New technologies such as auto-classification and new architectures will be required to deal with the distributed nature of data and data communication, and bring data retention costs under control. Many of the centralized point solutions installed today will have to be replaced if they cannot be retrofitted to fit into these architectures.
Action Item: The costs of data retention are projected to spiral out of control, and IT in litigation-prone organizations must drive new technology and processes to ensure that almost all data can be deleted automatically. Organizational IT governance systems need to evolve to ensure that new projects are not approved or funded unless they incorporate the ability to get rid of data.