As I prepared for a meeting that involved a two-hour drive each way, I went to throw my iPod in the car--but it wasn't in its usual spot. This time, it was truly elusive--it wasn't in my computer bag, on the bedside table, in my office, my car or anywhere in the house. So after an hour of searching, I finally recalled I last had it in the car my son normally drives. Sure enough, it was on the back seat, hidden away under his coat.
It hit me as I began writing this article--that's what a lot of companies experience with their data identification and collection in today's swiftly evolving Web 2.0 and mobile world, especially when considering changes impacting data retention. It's easy to hit the obvious spots first--the e-mail servers, file shares and even local drives. But it doesn't end there, oh no. Those are simply the places with relatively easy access by IT. As a frustrated IT professional recently shared with me, the many collection tools and appliances available are only useful if you happen to know where to point them. What about all those places where data is present, but your IT or collections guru doesn't know about them, at least not in context with a particular custodian or matter? Then there are thumb drives, external USB hard drives, iPods, smartphones, CDs and DVDs, personal computers, personal e-mail accounts, instant message programs, Twitter accounts--and let's not forget good old-fashioned paper copies. It's also easy to have data hidden in plain sight, such as on SharePoint communities.