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Why Migrating Your Data is Like Moving To A New Home

Daniel Gold – BDO

Migrating your e-discovery data from one vendor or platform to another requires a lot of forethought and meticulous planning. Enterprise organizations and law firms have a treasure trove of information pertaining to litigations, investigations, and regulatory compliance matters, and the thought of moving it all can be intimidating.

Staying on top of what data you have is the first step. Without a strategic and proactive data management plan in place, organizations may be paying to store unneeded data every month. The larger the volume, the harder it may be to inventory whats sitting there”—especially if a legacy vendor is not providing business intelligence reporting. Consequently, costs and data add up.

Making the decision to migrate an organization’s e-discovery data ends up becoming very similar to moving homes, and most readers know that can be an arduous process. Theres an entire checklist of things that absolutely must go right, including selecting the right moving company. Though it’s a formidable project, many organizations make the decision to switch vendors in pursuit of benefits like:

  • A managed services environment for centralization, cost containment, and a stronger data security posture;
  • Dedicated professional services that are proactive in case strategy, cost recovery, and data management—and serve as an extension of your team; and/or
  • Data transparency in reporting with innovative dashboards.

These are important support systems for many modern organizations. If you’re about to embark on a move, here are three key considerations when migrating your data.

Plan It Like Eisenhower

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”

Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States

As previously noted, an organization looking to migrate its e-discovery data requires a very detailed approach. One successful approach is known as the “Eisenhower Matrix.” This matrix broke down every task into four quadrants: highly urgent and highly important, which meant he needed to get it done; highly urgent but not important, which meant he was likely going to delegate the task to someone else; highly important but not urgent, which meant hed defer the task to another day; and not important and not urgent, which meant he was going to delete it from his list.

The Eisenhower Matrix can be applied to creating a data migration project as well. For instance, matters that are highly active—those currently being litigated—are urgent and important and must be ported over first.

Matters that have been dormant for a few months are urgent, but not necessarily important to move over with the highly active matters. If you’re using RelativityOne, this data might benefit from sitting in repository storage, as itll be easier to spin back up into the review database if and when needed. Repository storage is generally considered to be the early case assessment storage bucket within RelativityOne, but it’s also slower performing storage and most akin to what some would call “nearline” storage.

Next, matters that have been dormant for longer than six to nine months might be important, but are not necessarily urgent, and therefore may be placed in RelativityOne cold storage. Cold storage capacity is designed for this category of matters as the users are deactivated and there’s not a priority in getting it back online.

Finally, if the matter has been dormant for longer than a year, its neither urgent nor important—but it is important to decide where this data will be archived. One option in RelativityOne is called Store, a data storage container that preserves large volumes of collected data or archived inactive workspaces for longer term storage. Think of it as a storage unit for everything that doesn’t quite have a place, or isn’t needed just yet in your new home.

Mapping out every matter in this four-quadrant approach sets everything else up for success downstream.

It Doesn’t All Need To Be Migrated

Mapping out the data migration strategy affords organizations the opportunity to reassess their entire e-discovery matter landscapes. Similar to deciding whether to pack everything into moving boxes versus relegating things to a donations or garbage bin, creating an Eisenhower Matrix helps organizations decide what needs to happen versus what some team members would like to happen. Whatever is decided, an organization’s stakeholders need to ensure that every step in the data migration process is tightly mapped out, documented, and battle tested.

These can be tough but highly productive conversations. Organizations need to think about matters that are still under a legal hold, if data is still being preserved, if the matter is still pending, and more. Organizations moving to an enterprise e-discovery managed services approach with a professional services firm may want to consider consolidating all e-discovery matters into their new environment. This is because migrating e-discovery data sitting with multiple legacy e-discovery vendors, law firms, and/or law firms’ chosen vendors may create new problems, such as disparate security postures from vendor to vendor and disparate invoices. Moving all the data from all these locations into one centralized location both increases data security and data transparency as well as contains cost.

Law firms looking to migrate their data should have conversations with their clients about their data as well. It’s critical to ensure that wherever the law firm wants to move their client’s data to, that the e-discovery service provider’s security posture is in alignment with the firm’s clients’ security protocols. Often, there’s a security assessment that needs to be completed to ensure there is parity. Law firms may also want other guidance from a new vendor, such as how to appropriately socialize the new providers offerings, or may want to look at cost recovery processes in which the firm is passing along savings to its clients. Like above, migrating data away from multiple legacy e-discovery vendors has a trifecta impact in the end: data security, data transparency, and cost containment.

In either scenario, work closely with the professional services firm youve retained to help you stay productive, ensure data security is in alignment, and create detailed documentation to appropriately execute on the migration.

Ongoing project status calls between your team, as well as any vendors involved, are critical to stay aligned and on time. Moreover, having consistency in written follow-ups, documenting the status of the move at regular intervals, and visibly checking off boxes along the way will assist overall project success.

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Daniel Gold is the managing director of BDO's Managed Services practice. He has 18 years of experience in the legal space.