By Ann Silverthorn
—Symantec today shipped Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator 6.0, an extension of the company's Enterprise Vault e-mail and file archiving software. Discovery Accelerator is designed to help businesses and government organizations comply with the e-discovery requirements amended to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Civil Rule 5), which are scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2006.
"The legal community has taken notice of the use of e-mail as a way that businesses are functioning. So they've started focusing on the message infrastructure as a place to find data for legal discovery," says Art Gilliland senior director of product marketing at Symantec. "They're forcing companies to go into their messaging systems and pull out data, and IT people are left holding the bag."
Targeted toward reducing the burden and costs associated with the search, collection, production, and preservation of e-mail and other electronic records, Discovery Accelerator addresses three of the ways the amendments will affect IT departments as they respond to lawsuits.
- Rules 26 and 34—A pre-meeting must occur between the companies involved in the lawsuit, not just between the lawyers, but also involving the IT departments. Each of the companies must represent where data is stored, how it's stored, and the technology in place to provide access to that information.
Gilliland says this is a huge change for companies that used to plead ignorance or state that the data didn't exist. Discovery Accelerator offers a preview for early assessment, which allows ad hoc searches (for a particular case) to determine how much information pertaining to the case is available and the nature of that information. It features additional Boolean options and federated searches across global sites.
- Rule 37—This rule codifies the standards around legal hold. When a lawsuit is ongoing, a company must stop destroying all information related to the case, regardless of its own systematic destruction policies. Many companies have automated systems to delete old e-mails or files, which could also delete evidence.
Discovery Accelerator automates the legal-hold process to insure that the files in question are not erased. It can also classify any newly created information, as well as extend to the archives. It stops the destruction of the messages in legal hold until the case is over and allows the systems to retire non-related content.
- Rule 34—Relating to the production or delivery of information, companies are currently required to provide data as PDF files. In December, they will have to deliver the content in the format the requestor defines. Typically the default is the native format, because it often contains hidden metadata that is erased when you convert it into a PDF.
Discovery Accelerator allows companies to store their data in native format so that it can be retrieved in the same format. So a Microsoft Word file will be recovered as a Microsoft Word file along with its accompanying metadata.
Enterprise Vault server is priced at $3,360. Discovery Accelerator costs an additional $18,117 for 1,000 users.
Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator 6.0 is one component of the new Symantec Messaging Retention and Discovery program. The program also includes a relationship with the law firm Redgrave Daley Ragan & Wagner for records retention and e-discovery consulting services; a partnership with RenewData Corp. for integrated software and services to restore historical data from legacy archives to a searchable archive; and open APIs to facilitate integration of popular legal software with Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator.