Ready to produce IMs in court?

New U.S. laws expand the types of electronically stored information to be produced in a lawsuit

Companies that do not keep close tabs on PDAs, instant message conversations and other forms of electronic data may soon be in for a nasty surprise, should they find themselves in court. As of December 1, 2006, new guidelines, called the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, go into effect. The rules, set by the U.S. Supreme Court, expand the types of electronically stored information that companies could be required to produce in a lawsuit.

That means companies will now be on the hook to retain and produce a broader range of digital data than before. Flash drives, voice-mail systems and instant message archives will all be added to the mix.

According to a recent online survey, executives are ill-prepared for the new rules: In a November study by Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, almost 70 percent of respondents said they require more training on their own corporate record retention policies and procedures (and this in an audience including many CFOs, tax directors, finance directors, attorneys and controllers). Deloitte says the time is ripe to examine your data retention strategy.

One way that enterprise IT can prevent surprises under the new rules is by more thorough auditing. Take instant messaging: According to a 2006 study by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, more than half of those who use free IM software at work say that their employers have no idea what they're up to.

For most companies, the biggest worries stemming from the use of undisciplined instant messaging will be skyrocketing costs and lost productivity during discovery, says Jeffrey Ritter, cofounder of Waters Edge Consulting, an information management consultancy based in Reston, Va. "The burden facing companies is cost containment," he says.

Companies can get into real trouble when the CIO, general counsel and records manager are not on the same page, Ritter adds. "The most significant challenge for many companies is the lack of a teamed approach to evaluating the risk."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?