In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Ediscovery Data Mapping Overview for Your Business

Knock, knock, Neo.

If you are reading this, maybe there's something wrong with your world. What you know, you can't explain, but you feel it.

We're talking about ediscovery here. It really is another world, and no one goes down that rabbit hole willingly. You are going to need a map.

Data Mapping

Most attorneys get lost when it comes to their clients' computer systems, electronic data, and the technical parts of responding to ediscovery. To understand and competently handle it, they should ask for data maps.

"Data maps are essentially outlines of a company's information systems and processes that can help litigators plan and pilot the ediscovery process," explains KLDiscovery.

Too often, litigators dive into electronically stored data and slowly slog through it. They may throw document review attorneys or smart software at the job, but there are better ways.

"Data maps assist with the creation of collection plans by identifying potential custodians, relevant third parties and specific ESI sources from the outset," says the Ediscovery Blog. "Data mapping also allows concerns such as preservation, format and privilege -- which are often overlooked -- to be properly addressed and integrated into the collection and production process before it begins."

Drafting the Map

The data-map should list all sources of potentially relevant, electronically stored information. That includes: mail server, laptops, phones, hard copy storage, surveillance camera systems, social media accounts, cloud storage, etc.

"Your Data-Map should include version information, who has access to each ESI source, and a point person who manages each source -- even if you outsource such management," says the National Law Review. "The Data-Map should be written, dated and it should be reviewed and updated regularly."

The journal says to incorporate a retention schedule -- how long documents will be retained -- into the data map. Industry regulations, tax laws and business necessity are key considerations in devising the schedule.

Ideally, the map should be prepared before litigation. Otherwise, companies and their lawyers might get lost.

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