There has been a lot of discussion around In-Place Preservation (IPP) over the past few years, but many in the legal industry are still unsure of its potential for eDiscovery, data privacy, and compliance.
A good first step is to define what we mean by IPP and how that changes whether you’re talking about data retention policies or legal hold.
For retention, preserving data in-place simply means you retain the data where it’s actually being used, rather than moving it to a separate archiving solution or to a separate location the way we would move paper boxes to a warehouse.
For a legal hold, the goal is to ensure data is locked down automatically, without relying on the custodian to do it, so that it cannot be altered or deleted, as it’s subject to impending litigation.
As Mike Quartararo, president of ACEDS, puts it, “In-Place Preservation to me is one of those safeguards that you bake into your workflow, your eDiscovery process, and particularly the preservation process, that is really designed to make your life easier down the road. If you don’t preserve it properly upfront, the likelihood of success later down the road is reduced.”
The ability to set retention rules on enterprise email servers has been available for some time, but a challenge that organizations face today with preserving data, particularly in-place, is how to do this across the multiple data sources that are in constant use:
- Email sources like Outlook and G-Suite
- Messaging apps like Teams and Slack
- Cloud repositories like Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive
- Video conferencing apps like Zoom
These are never really frozen in time. So if data is locked or preserved in-place in response to litigation, the functionality of those tools is affected, which disrupts business.
So IPP in terms of legal hold may require creative software solutions that can preserve data in-place, while allowing regular business operations to continue. No small feat, but absolutely a reality which can push legal teams to the next level for defensibility, security, and efficiency.