Of all the purposes for document management systems, e-discovery is one of the most difficult processes to do well. Because of the exponential nature of document creation in most businesses, legally required digital records can run in the tens or hundreds of thousands of documents, emails, and other required information. When you also consider the fact that many businesses are using electronic software to manage their long-term storage for all relevant physical papers as well, you realize that e-discovery is extremely complicated. In fact, it's so complicated that without the right software and business systems, the sheer volume of information will cause problems during e-discovery.
How Does a Cloud-Based Document Management System Help in E-Discovery?
As a reminder, e-discovery or electronic discovery is the legal process where an organization delivers records of electronic information as required by an investigation, court case, or freedom of information request. Cloud-based software helps facilitate e-discovery through easier access to files than physical data archives alone. Also, cloud-based software often has better search and archiving algorithms to ensure that significant e-discovery processes, like those for an investigation, happen quickly and without error.
The e-discovery requirements for different litigation processes are varied and unique and should be discussed with your lawyer. But, cloud-based document management systems can help your legal team quickly research document trails and submit accurate responses to opponents e-discovery requests. No one wants to have a lawsuit, but great document management on the cloud will ease much of the hassle compared to traditional electronic records recovery.
"My dog ate my homework" didn't work for primary school teachers; "I couldn't find that document" won't work for any competent prosecuting attorney. Proper document management will enable your legal defense team to accurately find all documents relevant to the prosecution, establish a timeline based on the paper trail, and fulfill all legal requests from the court so that the prosecutor does not consider adding process charges to the original charges.
No one wants to be the subject of a criminal investigation, but it is even worse to be caught unprepared. Using quality, modern, cloud-based software as a service to manage your documentation will ensure that there are no additional problems if this worst case scenario ever happens.
Freedom of Information Act Requests
Finally, certain large organizations and businesses, non-profits and community organizations, and all bureaucracies are subject to the freedom of information act (FOIA). If your organization is subject to this act, proper electronic records storage and retrieval solutions are absolutely essential if you want to fulfill the letter and spirit of the law.
Many organizations have a difficult time responding to reporters or members of the public who submit a legally binding FOIA request because most organizations don't have a cloud-based document management system.
Governmental and Private Regulation
Electronic documentation also makes it incredibly easy to manage regular certifications and government reviews. Providing documentation for reviews often includes 100s of documents collated from many different sources; the functionality necessary for e-discovery will also help with other mass document reviews.
Whether it is showcasing the policies and proper marketing of a non-profit or the documentation necessary for registration with the FTC, FCC, or other agency, the right document management software will make this review process easier. Regulations require documentation; documentation requires great systems.
What Does a Document Management System Require for E-Discovery?
Since the right document management system is so useful for different forms of e-discovery, what makes it the right document management system for your business?
The right software will be customizable, have secure cloud access, ease of access to archived documents, and searchable archives. It will be robust enough for any business but customizable for your specific business.
Every business has unique document needs and systems. Whether large or small, your business needs software that fits the document use and access that is unique to your business. Therefore, good software is customizable and adjustable to your businesses specific needs.
Furthermore, good software comes from a provider who is able to help your business customize the software and business processes. Many times, businesses attempt to put the square peg of their business through the round hole of out-of-the-box software. Systematic software solutions are customizable and the software providers help their customers understand the best way to use the software for their business's document management needs.
Secure Cloud Access
Great document management software has secure cloud access. This means that your documents and archives are backed up off-site digitally. And, it means that document and archive access is limited to authorized users, so those who are in your business and don't need access won't get it. Secure cloud access also means that document storage is digitized to reduce the difficult processes involved with most physical storage, access, and retrieval of documents and other records.
Security systems for great cloud-based document management systems include regularly updated software, limited user access, and redundancy in server and storage systems. Because of the need for this high level of security, the best software management systems work on industry standard cloud infrastructure like Microsoft Azure.
Ease of Access to Archived Documents
Finally, the right document management and storage software will facilitate e-discovery through well-designed search algorithms and categorization. For many businesses, manually searching all their electronic records is not a feasible task as part of electronic discovery. Good document archiving systems will provide for the opportunity to search for all documents related to a specific topic or containing specific terms.
Great search functionality will speed up the process of finding requested documents and saving them in a new format that can be accessed by interested parties.
In conclusion, the best software and software providers will be experts at helping businesses implement digital business solutions. The software will be delivered as a service so that the programmers and software providers have incentive to keep it up to date with the latest security systems and so that your business will have access to industry-leading document storage, archiving, and security through companies like Microsoft.