Two software-as-a-service providers have teamed up to create an e-mail preservation and compliance tool aimed at organizations who want to be prepared in the event of e-discovery.
The agreement means that LiveOffice LLC’s cloud-based LiveOffice Discovery Archive tool — which stores and indexes e-mail, attachments, instant messaging conversations and BlackBerry messages for e-discovery or HR requests — will now offer Zapproved Inc.’s Legal Hold Pro functionality. The new feature will simplify the way LiveOffice users can management their legal hold notifications and the compliance requirements that go along with it.
The announcement was made at this week’s LegalTech in New York.
The Zapproved feature is geared toward initiating and automating a legal hold, the process an enterprise uses to ensure all litigation-relevant data is retained.
When litigation arises, users can log on to the Web-based tool to start the legal hold. After specifying which data needs to be preserved, an e-mail is sent out to all the employees with relevant data, notifying them that action is required.
By clicking on the embedded ‘I accept’ or ‘contact me’ buttons, employees acknowledge receipt of the legal hold, according to Chris Bright, co-founder and vice-president of marketing for Portland, Ore.-based Zapproved.
“It’s called a trigger event,” he said. “You need to reach out to the employees and alert them of this information.”
“If you aren’t issuing written legal holds, you aren’t meeting your obligation to report,” Bright added, explaining that e-discovery and compliance legislation is going to get stricter in the future.
After this stage, the IT or legal professionals using the tool can manage the status of all their active legal holds and produce an audit trail in printed or electronic form, Bright added.
Nick Mehta, CEO at Torrance, Calif.-based LiveOffice, said the partnership makes perfect sense for both companies and gives customers a more complete package for their e-discovery needs.
He added that most companies will either manually send out e-mails or walk around to desks and verbally inform employees of legal holds
“Some sophisticated companies even create their own legal hold app on SharePoint,” Mehta said.
While LiveOffice had always provided the ability to do legal holds, he said, the Zapproved functionality will improve and broaden its capabilities, allowing customers to provision legal holds on documents beyond the e-mails in the LiveOffice system.
Brian Babineau, a senior consulting analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., said that simply identifying relevant e-mail prior to litigation is no longer sufficient. Organizations actually have to preserve this e-mail and notify affected employees that the data is being placed on a legal hold.
“These two solutions are ideal to be delivered via the cloud, as they are peripheral e-mail management tasks that are very burdensome to run in-house,” he said. “Large enterprises may have the internal IT resources to run a compliant messaging infrastructure in-house, but mid-size and smaller organizations sure don’t. And these organizations still have to abide by record retention and discovery regulations.”
Moving this functionality to the cloud will benefit IT shops who typically manage this data preservation process manually. He added that when a legal hold expires, it may make sense to keep them in a cloud for lower cost storage.