Uncovering hidden budget to manage long-term legacy data liability

Eliminating the hidden risk resident on legacy backup tapes generally pays for itself—sometimes in mere months.

It is commonplace in this tough economy for corporations to run mean and lean. Many are not investing in the future, but are simply maintaining the status quo until the tides turn. However, corporate legal teams remain responsible for managing liability in today’s challenging legal climate. New government regulations, evolving rules of procedure, and the increasing complexity and impact of technology make risk management ever more difficult.

One area of escalating risk and cost to the enterprise is unmanaged information. Whether resident on seemingly self-propagating data archives, forgotten shared drives or mounting stores of legacy backup tapes, unmanaged information not only accounts for an increasingly large percentage of a company’s IT budget, it also represents an unknown and seemingly unknowable risk. How can legal teams help their clients proactively manage user data within tight budgets and ensure that corporate information management policies are implemented?

The bulk of the user data on these legacy tapes can be purged pursuant to your information management policy. Moreover, separating the wheat from the chaff, finding the content that must be retained for legal reasons, is not expensive. In fact, for the annual cost to store these offsite tapes, the tapes can be processed according to policy, needed information identified and recovered, and then destroyed.

Using technology that can scan legacy tapes and index the information on them, it is possible to identify data relevant to an existing legal preservation obligation and quickly extract that data into a more suitable archive for long-term storage. The balance of the data, typically 90 percent or more, can be quickly and permanently purged, eliminating a hidden source of potential future liability. The cost for the technology and labor required to remediate a store of backup tapes and manage long-term liability is less than the cost to store the tapes annually. In other words, eliminating the hidden risk resident on legacy backup tapes generally will pay for itself—sometimes in a matter of months.


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Dennis Kiker

Dennis Kiker is a partner at LeClairRyan in Richmond, Va. He works with corporations and government agencies to facilitate and improve information management and discovery response...

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VP of Information Discovery

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Jim McGann

Jim McGann is VP of Information Discovery for Index Engines, a leading electronic discovery provider based in New Jersey. McGann is a frequent writer and...

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