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The Regulatory Environment is Changing. Legal Technology Should, Too.

Bobby Balachandran

Mar 18 2021

The following is the first post in a new blog series from Exterro CEO Bobby Balachandran, which will cover the challenges and solutions to issues that legal leaders care about.

What a difference 10 years makes! Who could have predicted in 2011 that organizations today would be facing such an unprecedented degree of legal and regulatory scrutiny? Piled on top of that is the ever-increasing danger from ingenious and unpredictable cyber security risks.

This perfect storm of data risk has prompted businesses to look more intensely at ways to address these challenges. As they do so, they probably notice that there’s quite a bit of departmental overlap in how they handle the growing burden of what might be considered normal legal processes of compliance and investigation.

Gone are the days when legal’s role in an organization was defined and segregated. To complete the growing roster of duties related to e-discovery, internal investigations, data subject access requests, incident, and breach notifications, and more, legal must engage with security, IT, compliance, privacy, and/or other departments that may fall under their purview. If a business is regulated by a major data privacy act like the GDPR, the complexities legal faces are stratospherically greater.

Things may be quite different from when I started Exterro, but one challenge in particular stands consistently above the others: How do legal departments follow the example of other business units and marry the role of technology in legal and compliance processes in a coordinated and coherent way?

After all, HR or finance departments usually have a suite of technology at their fingertips to help them through every process from A to Z. Who does that for legal? It’s a clear gap that Exterro has rapidly filled over the last few years, because the market has demanded something more cohesive than a set of point solutions—and I’m thrilled to say that we are poised to own this category. Nobody else can offer what we have because we started from the assumption that integration would become more and more important as time went on.

The converging forces in e-discovery, data privacy, digital forensics, and information governance have been the driving factors behind Exterro’s recent investments in other companies and compatible, adjacent technologies.

This is because all the legal and regulatory challenges facing businesses today are related to: (1) finding and collecting data and (2) ensuring its integrity. And to effectively address these requires the ability to identify, preserve, analyze, and present data in a contextual manner, quickly and inexpensively. It also requires a consistent and defensible process.

Until recently, there hasn’t been a software that solves all these data-related challenges in a coherent and coordinated way across an entire enterprise, especially when ensuring the integrity of the data supply chain is of the utmost importance. Exterro has built the only software platform that combines data management capabilities into a single, integrated solution to give organizations a holistic framework for addressing their Legal, Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) obligations—meaning that we’re helping to turn the page on single-point solutions in the legal space, following the same evolutionary software lifecycle seen in other categories.

Our customers say it’s a welcome change, as disparate departmental units simply can’t tackle the immense challenges of major data-related legal and regulatory obligations by themselves—and general counsel and chief legal officers (GC/CLO) are already under pressure to simultaneously decrease costs and improve productivity, efficiency, and end results. This can only be done by enabling a coordinated effort across all the relevant departments.

The demands on legal departments in the coming years will be absurdly onerous. Delivering on the ability to identify, preserve, analyze, and present data inexpensively within consistent, defensible processes should be the primary goal of every legal GC/CLO in 2021, because it’s the only way to stay compliant in the shifting regulatory landscape. It’s also, without question, the best way to future-proof your organization now for an environment that is growing into a crushing data management burden.

In the coming weeks and months, I’ll cover these challenges in greater depth in my blog series, along with how Exterro is constantly evolving to help legal departments, GCs, and CLOs solve these complex issues.

Until next time, take care legal leaders!

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