Big data’s growth and usage is both benefitting and befuddling businesses. As many are still yet coming to terms with what Big Data means, how it works, and the kinds of technologies needed to fully take advantage of what it has to offer, companies that are embroiled in legal cases face particular disadvantages. The storage and archiving practices of old — and the storage of particular amounts of data to prepare for legal issues — are no longer sufficient for businesses that need to be courtroom-ready.
Already, the need is clear for new methods of collecting and archiving large sets of data including social-based content. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Barclays $3.75 million in December 2013 for failing to preserve many of its required electronic books and records from at least 2002 to 2012. The records include order and trade ticket data, trade confirmations, blotters, account records and others. Since the failures were prevalent throughout the firm's business areas, Barclays could not determine whether all of its electronic books and records were maintained in an unaltered condition. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stated that these FINRA rules related to document retention are essential for monitoring compliance. Other businesses should take note of the potential ramifications of not having properly implemented storage practices for social content and other kinds of data.
Jonathon Israel, IT Operations Manager at The Florida Bar offers some insight into the problems at the core of the issue for companies that require their social data available, since it is all admissible in court:
“The primary issue is having so many different, disparate systems. Searching and retrieving content relative to a public records request or eDiscovery case is a huge burden on the IT staff. The IT group are the only ones with access to search across those systems, so any public request or eDiscovery that comes in falls on IT’s shoulders. Depending on the scope of the search, this can be incredibly time consuming.