Data Intake and Staging

The expanding volume of electronically stored information (ESI) in litigation support has become an ongoing challenge for law firms and companies. A case in 2000 would normally involve 5 to 10 GB of data. Nowadays, it’s pretty common for cases to have over several terabytes (TBs) of data. Not only do law firms and corporations meet court deadlines and fulfill other eDiscovery obligations, but they also manage this data explosion in a cost-effective manner.

In this guide, we’ll talk about data intake and staging. Let’s get started.

Data Intake

Data intake or collection is the most technically complex and rigorous phase in an eDiscovery process. The process involves extracting potentially relevant ESI from its native location, demanding the involvement of both legal and IT personnel. For eDiscovery purposes, the following types of data are acquired:

Active

Active data is the form of ESI that’s easily accessible. You engage with this type of data almost every day. It includes as emails and other files stored on a network drive or a local hard drive. Parties should not have any problems collecting this type of data.

Offline

Offline data is the data that may not be in active use anymore but is archived or stored. It’s true that users can’t access offline data through a shared server, yet if you know the data’s physical location and the system where it’s stored, collecting offline data shouldn’t be too challenging.

Hidden

These are fragmented or deleted data that can’t be accessed by regular system users. To recover such files, parties typically need specialized tools.

Mobile

This refers to the ESI generated in the form of call logs, instant messaging, geolocation data, text messages, and other applications on mobile devices. Again, you need highly specialized expertise and sophisticated tools for data intake.

Backups

Traditional disaster recovery or backup systems are used to store data in the event of a system crash, failure, or cybersecurity issue. Since these systems compress files and cannot be searched easily, they often present serious collection challenges

Cloud

This is the data produced and stored on cloud-based applications such as Google Drive, Dropbox, social media profiles, and other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Today, the latest eDiscovery network solutions can be integrated with the top cloud software, simplifying data intake to an incredible degree.

Data Staging

Data staging or presentation to the jury or judge is the ultimate goal of eDiscovery and is the final stage of the EDRM. The following aspects are the main focus of electronic evidence presentation or staging:

Meta Data

When it comes to data staging, there’s nothing more important than the metadata. Not only is metadata the principal point of distinction between paper documents and ESI but certain metadata, such as the date and author can be just as important as text evidence of ESI.

Readability

Another critical factor in data staging is the readability of the ESI, regardless of its form. Your audience should be able to read the data from mobile device data, such as call logs and messages, social media data, website data, emails, etc.

Authentication

Before you can present your data, your data needs to be admissible, which requires authentication. In simple words, authentication in eDiscovery refers to the data being genuine, unaltered, and intact. Read tips for managing data collection and social media for more on this.

Sanctions for eDiscovery Misconduct

If a party is sanctioned for eDiscovery misconduct or failures, its data staging can be affected in several ways. In the worst-case scenario, the sanctioned party may face default judgment. This is when the judge awards judgment in favour of the opposing party.

Closing Thoughts

This was an overview of the two critical stages in litigation support: data intake and staging. When acquiring and presenting data in court, you must have a clear idea of each.

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