When a reasonable expectation of litigation exists, organizations are required to preserve electronically stored information (ESI), including email, texts, and posts that are relevant to the case. This expectation often exists before the elements of the case are known, and often the preservation is broad. Organizations may need to preserve all ESI related to a specific topic or all email, texts and posts for certain individuals. Depending on the organization's electronic discovery (eDiscovery) practices, the following measures can be adopted for preservation:
- End users should be directed to preserve emails, texts, and post, and refrain from deleting case related ESI.
- Automated deletion mechanisms within messaging records management (MRM) systems should be suspended. However, an overly broad approach can result in large volumes of email cluttering users mailbox which can impact productivity. Therefore, preservation implementation must be properly planned from the outset to mitigate the potential costs associated with increased storage and lost productivity. Suspending automated deletion also doesn't prevent users from manually deleting email, and therefore deletion permissions should be properly implemented.
- Organizations can copy or move email to an archive to make sure it isn't deleted, altered, or tampered with. However, this can increase costs due to the manual efforts required to copy or move messages to an archive, or third-party products used to collect and store email.
Failure to preserve ESI can expose an organization to legal and financial liabilities such as scrutiny of the organization's records retention processes, costly legal judgments, sanctions, or fines.