How legal tech pros manage security risks, unstructured data growth

As an organization grows, the amount of data for which it’s responsible expands at a rapid pace. It’s no secret that managing this information can hinder productivity and stunt internal collaboration. However, companies are also increasingly subjected to data security, governance and compliance risks as a result of data growth, and many of those risks become compounded if left unaddressed.

During the time our team spent at the recent International Legal Technology Association Conference (ILTACON), we spoke with a number of legal-industry technology professionals struggling with unstructured data growth and risk management. Many of these pros were experts on infrastructure and virtualization management, while others focused on managing data stored within IT systems, but nearly every attendee at the conference had hands-on experience with quickly expanding data sets and common subsequent pain points. In my last post, I shared two observations made by our team during the conference. Below are four additional takeaways:

Firms need a better way to approach unstructured data management.

In one ILTACON session, titled “Unstructured, Untagged and Untapped: Get Rid of the ‘Un’ with New Ways To Find and Manage Enterprise Content,” we heard from firms that generate and manage massive volumes of data, ranging from five to 500 terabytes (TB) in size. It’s not just this data that’s unstructured; the management of that data is often disconnected and disorganized. When you’re working with thousands of clients and employees, you need a solid strategy for protecting your information and discovering valuable details within it.

During this session, the panel moderator surveyed the 125-person audience and asked which of them had experienced unstructured data as a major pain point at their organizations. Every single person in the room raised a hand. These IT pros had let data build up in their stores for years before addressing it. Now, it’s like a snowball running downhill. The look of frustration on their faces was telling, as was the money they’re now spending to fix it.

Data relevance and dormancy are major parts of governance programs. Organizations need a holistic approach to defining, finding and acting on data in a very deliberate manner. Otherwise, it gets out of control.

Data-aware storage can resolve shadow IT issues.

According to David McCandless’ blog, “Information is Beautiful,” it takes an average organization 200 days to detect a data breach, and nine months – plus expenses – to fix it. Often, these breaches occur after employees download unauthorized apps for the sake of increasing productivity or other seemingly harmless goals. This predicament of apps accessing private data was highlighted in one of our favorite ILTACON presentations, titled “Is Big Data in Legal a Figment of Our Imaginations?” This session posed a blunt question familiar to any IT manager dealing with data theft and shadow IT: “How could you download that #%*&?”

When an audience member asked Eric Hunter, one of the session’s presenters, for a recommendation of tools that could track data theft issues, he recommended that the attendee visit the DataGravity booth. This just goes to show how data-aware storage can address issues in the legal sphere, and how our message is resonating when users see demonstrations of our platform.

Legal technology pros need to consolidate compliance, governance and security into a seamless, manageable workflow.

Data has become nearly frictionless. It moves through an organization rapidly, and its path can be tracked. It’s vital that organizations – especially legal firms – are using the best tools possible to manage this data in a way that supports their internal governance policies and industry compliance standards.

Data governance and forensics needs in the legal field will fuel technology investments for years to come.

Improving forensics and governance is a major initiative for corporations and law firms alike, and it is symbiotic in a way. The efficiency of the legal system depends on the balance between the two.

Read how data-aware storage can help your legal firm ask the right questions of your data.


John Joseph

John Joseph

President and co-founder of DataGravity, John Joseph leads company’s sales, marketing, operations and customer initiatives. John previously served as vice president of marketing and product management at EqualLogic, leading these functions from the company's initial launch through the successful acquisition by Dell in 2008. He subsequently served as vice president of enterprise solutions, marketing at Dell for three years after the acquisition.