With summer holidays and busy lives, I wouldn’t expect many to notice that BIYC has been quiet for six weeks while I’ve been working for a German client and living in Frankfurt. I don’t know what it says about me that I have fallen head-over-heels for what many regard as the dullest city in Europe; but, I confess I find Frankfurt beautiful and captivating. I’m sad to leave her behind as I return to the States in a few days. I can’t say much about what I’ve been doing; but, it felt like a graduate course in corporate (and European) thinking respecting electronically stored information, privacy, regulation, litigation and the challenges faced by global business in identifying, preserving and producing ESI.
For all we tout “information governance” in articles and conferences, the global reality is that functional info gov is as rare as a good hair day for Donald Trump. Even in industries where data retention is strictly regulated and extensive—like securities trading and banking—information implicated in discovery clumps and clusters hither and yon—some encrypted, some not—on legacy systems and media, as Notes mail and Exchange mail, within archives and hundreds of specialized applications and structured databases, as voice recordings on incompatible systems and loose documents on network shares. But, these are mere technical hurdles, small next to the challenge of complying with internal corporate and IT policy, cross-border privacy laws and the risks and costly consequences of outsourcing IT.
All of this could be managed—even efficiently and cost-effectively—were it not for the knowledge gap that exists between the lawyers who demand and direct the work and those who do the actual preservation, collection and culling. Continue reading