As the world — particularly the digital one— becomes more focused on cyber security concerns in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks about the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance tactics and several high-profile hacks in 2014 that led to the compromising of hundreds of thousands of user profiles, naturally, companies of all sizes are concerned about preserving records and confidentiality. Law firms are unique in their cyber-preservation needs as safeguarding intellectual property is of the utmost importance for litigation and arbitration purposes. The security assurance of a law firm’s IP, financial information, and evidence is paramount to a firm’s success. Technology has become available to assist law firms in such capacities, especially as the cyber threats to enterprise- and consumer-base security mounts on an international level.
A recent case involving U.S.-based litigation and transactional firm PIA Anderson found the firm in need of protection of its IP during international arbitration. AccessData, an incident response and cyber security firm addressed PIA Anderson’s issues with its eDiscovery technology that allowed for multi-country collections — something Keith Schrodt, MBA, JD, Director of Product Marketing & Strategy, AccessData noted is a particularly tricky beast:
“Multi-country collections are always challenging, especially when working with inferior technology or inexperienced teams. AccessData helped PIA find key evidence to support their case strategy even under the exceptionally aggressive discovery timeline imposed by the arbitrator. Working with AccessData’s technology and experienced services team, PIA was able to complete the multi-country collection and processing of ESI in only four days.”
Some of the problems that law firms face when trying to speed up the process of evidence discovery lie in the fact that — with multiple sources for data, which have arisen with advancements in technology — there are more potential loopholes for missing data. Firms need, now more than ever, to be extra cautious in preserving confidential and financial information, specifically for arbitration purposes.
In PIA Anderson’s case, the international legal matter required data collection from many points. Schrodt says that the eDiscovery solution “allowed PIA to quickly identify and collect data from eight key custodians spread across three states and two countries utilizing both remote and physical collection technologies. During the identification stage, AccessData was able to use basic searching criteria including date range, file types and keywords, enabling PIA to perform a targeted collection of potential IP from these custodians in a single step without having to take complete disk images – a wasteful and time consuming process.”
Varying technologies have definitely confused the evidence discovery landscape for many firms, but, with advancing technology comes more advanced solutions. AccessData’s software addressed PIA Anderson’s need in a contemporary example of requiring data pulled from sources as small as iPads to as large as data centers. Bill Kimball, partner at PIA Anderson stated:
“The real issues we face today are a combination of customer expectations and an explosion in both number and diversity of data sources. Today you are just as likely to need to collect from an iPad or mobile phone as you are from a traditional computer. When you add to that all the confusing information about varying technologies the landscape has become much more difficult for a law firm trying to both comply with discovery requirements and manage the expectations of the court, the counterparty, and the customer.”
Firms need to also keep in mind that threats to IP stem from internal sources as well as external ones, as Schrodt mentioned in an interview with InsideCounsel. But as data sources continue to increase in number, hopefully solutions such as AccessData’s will serve as vital tools for law firms that need to navigate the intricate landscape of evidence discovery.