Closing Out 2018 with E-Discovery Day

We’re looking forward to E-Discovery Day on December 4th, 2018. This year we’ll be presenting a webinar on E-Discovery Day with our partner, Exterro, on December 4th, 2018 at 12:15 EST/9:15 PST.
You can sign up for the webinar titled, Ask the Experts: How Much Do I Actually Need to Preserve and Collect? through the Bright Talk website.

We also appreciate Exterro for writing a spotlight Q & A with Robert Cruz, our subject matter expert on e-discovery at Smarsh, and wanted to re-publish the piece on our blog along with the links to the webinar.

Original Post on Exterro: Celebrating E-Discovery Day – with Robert Cruz!
– written by Tim Rollins, E-Discovery Market Analyst at Exterro

How do other e-discovery professionals celebrate E-Discovery Day–and why do they think it’s important. I emailed Senior Director of Information Governance Practice for Smarsh, Robert Cruz, to find out about his plans for E-Discovery Day, as well as to discuss how he ended up working in e-discovery, and his thoughts on current issues in data preservation and collection.

So without further delay, here are some highlights of my correspondence with Robert. Please note the comments below have been lightly – edited for clarity.

Q: How did you get your start in e-discovery?

RC: I was introduced to e-discovery while working for a technology firm focused on regulatory compliance and content management. One of the executives was hired away to become CEO of a litigation service provider. One of his objectives was to expand the firm’s presence inside of corporate legal departments with a solution to address legal hold notification. He brought me over to run sales and business development to leverage my background dealing with large enterprises.

Q: What was your legal and/or technical background before you got started in e-discovery?

RC: I was very close to pursuing a JD/MBA, but concluded that I couldn’t afford it, so went solely down the MBA path. I have been in Silicon Valley my entire career, and directly involved in the content, records, and regulatory compliance markets for over 15 years. What I have found is that these technologies often share the same objective as technology and services provided for e-discovery; namely, to address information risk. The benefits of addressing regulatory compliance and risk management proactively are the same for e-discovery, which has been a large part of my focus from my beginning in e-discovery.

Q: Did you have any mentors or colleagues that shaped/influenced your path in e-discovery?

RC: In addition to my former CEO, my path in e-discovery has been influenced by thought leaders that have advanced the concept of managing e-discovery as a component of good information governance strategy. People like Barclay Blair and Jason Baron from the Information Governance Initiative, Craig Ball, and George Socha have had a big influence in my work.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your work with Smarsh [Actiance]?

RC: What is most enjoyable is seeing our message resonate with more firms as they experience an explosion in the use of messaging apps, social media, and collaborative applications in interact with their customers and internally. We have been pitching the importance of being proactive in preparing for these new communication forms, and see and hear more firms everyday embrace that message.

Q: Why do you participate in E-Discovery Day?

RC: Far too many firms continue to deal with e-discovery reactively – in part because they lack awareness of better ways to manage risk.

Q: What do you see as the biggest issues in preservation and collection of data today?

RC: We see dependence on reactive methods of collection and preservation – when lower cost and more reliable methods are widely available – as an issue that is only going to get worse for many firms. The reason: the most common forms of ESI with widely understood methods of collection and preservation (e.g. email) continue to decrease in favor of rich, dynamic collaborative platforms and mobile applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams. The unfortunate reality is that many of those platforms lack a proven, reliable method of capture and preservation – if firms continue to rely on reactive methods. Screen scraping, user downloads or requesting historical information from the content providers are all unreliable methods.

Q: In your work with clients, do you think there are greater risks in preserving and collecting too much data or not enough?

RC: We continue to see technologies used that do not provide the ability to collect and preserve what you need. As a result, firms continue to throw blankets over entire mailboxes or content sources and end up paying later to filter out unnecessary content. This is one of the proactive discovery benefits – the ability to employ tools that provide the granular filtering required to minimize the volume of data that is sent into later stages of e-discovery processing.

Q: What new preservation/collection technologies and techniques do you think could have a big impact on e-discovery in the coming years?

RC: There are a variety of technologies available now, and those that will see broader over adoption in the coming years. First, and available today, are tools that allow firms to capture and preserve content in its native source. For example, tools that allow firms to capture conversational context from a chat room, where individuals may be joining, leaving, or modifying content – as opposed to stripping ‘event’ information out in order to ingest content into a legal review tool designed for email and documents. Other technologies that are emerging include auto-classification that will allow to categorize content based upon risk/value designations up front and allow for proper management of that content over its lifecycle. I’d also expect to see more firms benefiting from a re-positioning of predictive analytics technologies toward the earlier stage management of data sources in identifying and acting upon information risk. Much of this technology exists today, but it was mis-marketed by vendors as applying to document review when there are more value applications of the technology in managing enterprise data.

I’d like to close this blog by thanking Robert for answering these questions and participating in this exciting E-Discovery Day webinar–and also by inviting you to check out the E-Discovery Day website and signing up for more E-Discovery Day news in our weekly E-Discovery Day newsletter.

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Robert Cruz

Senior Director of Information Governance at Smarsh and Actiance
Robert Cruz is Senior Director of Information Governance for Smarsh and Actiance. He has more than 20 years of experience in providing thought leadership on emerging topics including cloud computing, information governance, and Discovery cost and risk reduction.

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