When it comes to e-discovery, the proactive approach will always trump the reactive. Taking steps in advance to know an enterprise's storage units and what types of electronic data they contain ultimately will save a company time and money when an e-discovery request arises.
In fact, there is even a legal requirement to do this under the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which says companies must have the ability to rapidly disclose where potential relevant information exists and what actions they are taking to preserve it.
This information is crucial to the data map because it can help in-house counsel determine the accessibility of certain information. According to the amended Federal Rules, if information is not reasonably accessible, the producing party can argue against producing it or argue that the requesting party should bear some of the production costs.
"Once you know what is accessible, you can do some sample searches to get an idea of what it would cost to collect and review different types of information," Franklin says. "If you can take that information into court, especially if it shows producing certain information may be too expensive, then you can use it for some strategic maneuvering."