Businesses Flock to Office 365: Implications for E-Discovery

Teresa Loccisano

Nov 23 2016

In 2011, Microsoft launched Office 365®, a suite of business software tools offered as a cloud-based subscription service to companies of all sizes. The launch got off to a slow start, but the scale of adoption in the last couple years has been extraordinary.

“Today, one out of every five corporate employees uses an Office 365 cloud service, up from less than 7% adoption just nine months ago,” according to a Skyhigh® research report. “Put another way, in the last two years Office 365 has eclipsed all other cloud providers to emerge as the most widely used enterprise cloud service by user count.”

What’s driving this rapid migration to Office 365? According to the eDiscovery Journal Cloud Adoption poll of large corporations, the primary motives are cost, risk and compliance management of growing corporate data.

This breathtaking market share grab is transforming enterprise productivity and collaboration in offices around the world right now. It also has profound implications for our world of electronic discovery.

Simply put, the movement of corporate data to a cloud platform raises a wide range of new privacy and compliance challenges for an organization. With Microsoft holding the keys to a company’s emails and confidential files as they are now stored in the cloud, corporate investigation teams and in-house legal departments suddenly face major challenges to meet their obligations for electronic data preservation, collection, processing and—in the event of litigation—production in the form of e-discovery.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Identifying and preserving potentially relevant data subject to legal hold
  • Conducting fast and accurate searches of data for e-discovery purposes
  • Collecting and reviewing data obtained from content sources outside of the Office ecosystem
  • Ensuring a proper approach to data retention management

To meet these and other new challenges created by the rapid movement to Office 365, corporate investigators and legal professionals need access to better and faster software tools that will help them process complex data collected during litigation and digital investigations. With so much data lurking in so many places, getting that relevant evidence from collection to analysis is crucial.

With tools such as the new AD eDiscovery® 6.1, users can quickly collect data in the cloud from Office 365, SharePoint®, OneDrive® for Business and Office 365 Exchange. These next-generation e-discovery software products are equipped with faster indexing and processing speeds that can be unleashed on data. For example, AD eDiscovery 6.1 automates collection refreshes, enabling customers to schedule collections for specific times and identify the differences between what’s already in the collection set and what has changed. The product is designed to help corporate customers mitigate risk, ensure compliance, improve incident response efficiency and reduce overall data processing costs. To view an introductory video, please click here.

The rapid commercial migration to Office 365 shows no signs of slowing. Although this shift is likely to deliver significant gains in efficiency, it will also impose new burdens on corporate investigation and in-house legal teams when it comes to the collection and processing of data. It’s important to have the right software tools in place now to get ahead of this emerging challenge.

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