The sudden shift to remote work in 2020 forced organizations to accelerate their adoption of cloud-based applications to support this new way of working. Now, nearly three years later, legal teams face a significant challenge as litigation related to content created on these platforms increases.
To address this issue, we assembled an expert panel for this year’s Legalweek New York, featuring industry leaders on the front lines. The panel included Sharika de Freitas, VP of Information Governance and Legal Operations at Paramount, James Sherer, Partner at BakerHostetler, and Kelly Twigger, Principal at ESI Attorneys.
Pedro de Lencastre, Customer Success Director at Onna, moderated the panel discussion, which delved into the rapid evolution of data in recent years and provided the following insights into this new landscape.
The 2023 Businesses at Work report by Okta reveals that large companies with 2,000 or more employees now use an average of 211 applications, a 24-app increase from the previous year. Even smaller businesses reported using over 90 apps.
While not every app contains relevant data for eDiscovery, this trend underscores a growing concern for in-house teams, law firms, and service providers: effectively managing the rapidly increasing volume of collaboration, communication, and content data. To overcome this challenge, legal professionals must adapt and become proficient in best practices for managing the systems powering their businesses and responsibly governing data.
Alternative data originates from non-traditional information sources, such as collaboration, content, and chat applications, and can be either structured or unstructured.
Structured data is organized and easily searchable, whereas unstructured data lacks predefined formatting and poses greater analytical challenges. Unstructured data covers a broad spectrum of content types, including threaded messages in Slack or Teams, Zoom meeting recordings, ephemeral messages in Telegram, and wikis in Confluence or Notion. This data may also include elements like emojis, GIFs, unique reactions specific to certain operating systems, attachments, and hyperlinks.
Various alternative data types exist (including those previously mentioned), and many have already served as evidence in legal proceedings, such as:
Most companies use a combination of all three of these categories, so it's essential to be familiar with your organization's tech stack and the unique types of data present in each source.
During the lively discussion, our expert panel actively explored pertinent case law affecting alternative data and an organization's obligation to manage it effectively. The following cases were discussed:
Key takeaway: In litigation involving emoji depictions, it’s essential to have both the sender's and recipient's views. If you cannot replicate the evidence in its original format, obtain declarations from your litigation opponent regarding the alleged hardware and operating system versions. Additionally, make sure you understand how your solution works with emojis.
Organizations must proactively address the unique challenges posed by alternative data sources and types. As data volumes soar and become increasingly complex, it’s crucial for businesses to skillfully navigate the legal, regulatory, and technical landscapes associated with their data. Here are some useful strategies for managing the risks and responsibilities related to handling alternative data:
Preparing for the future of alternative data management requires a holistic approach that addresses both the technical and legal aspects of handling such data. By grasping your organization's data usage, performing risk evaluations, pinpointing suitable discovery solutions, and reconciling information governance with eDiscovery and data privacy demands, you can effectively minimize potential risks and improve your data management processes.
Onna solves the pressing data challenges faced by today’s enterprise businesses. These organizations often grapple with managing unstructured data from various collaboration, communication, and content applications, resulting in reduced efficiency and lost valuable insights. Onna enables leading organizations to consolidate their disparate data sources, such as Slack, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, Confluence, Jira, and more, allowing them to search across a unified dataset and take prompt action when needed.
Our data management platform simplifies the process for corporate legal and IT teams, helping them discover and manage their data for eDiscovery, internal investigations, and information governance within a single, user-friendly platform. By leveraging Onna, businesses save time and resources, maximizing the value of their data at earlier stages of the process.
If you're interested in learning more, get in touch!