Data Mapping and Data Scoping for eDiscovery

Data mapping and data scoping are two vital steps in the eDiscovery process. Today’s blog covers why they’re important and how they can save your organization time and money.

Data Mapping and eDiscovery

A data map is an important component of any company’s information governance strategy and is vital to eDiscovery. Despite its name, it is not something you unfurl on the dining room table to plot your next road trip. Data maps don’t have to be complicated. They are, simply put, an inventory of places your company stores its data.

Data mapping is important for eDiscovery because it will inform the people who perform key processes for your organization where to look for data that may require preservation and ease the collection process of information most relevant to a case. A data map serves as more than a guide to those people who must decide what information to collect. It can also save your company time when it comes to processing, reviewing, and producing that information.

Your first data map may take time to develop, since you must “turn over every rock” to identify all your data sources. Updating a data map once a year should be easier than developing your initial data map. Your company’s data map should include:

  • What types of data your company generates, uses, and stores
  • Where data is stored
  • Who is responsible for the data
  • How to access data
  • Data retention and deletion plans

Just like any inventory, your data map should be updated and maintained. An updated data map will help you quickly respond to document requests and conduct your own early case assessment when potential litigation arises.

Data Scoping and eDiscovery

Data scoping is a step in the eDiscovery process whereby you determine what data from specific individuals might be involved in a potential litigation or regulatory matter. A data scope exercise is used to gauge collection requirements and is much easier to undertake when you know what data you have and where it is located from your data map.

A data scoping exercise will use the data map to identify which sources might include data to be collected. A scoping exercise allows experts to pre-review data sources for potential issues or problematic collection challenges and discuss specific data requirements with key custodians. This also allows the case team the opportunity to evaluate the importance of potential data, remove data sources that may be redundant or unimportant to the matter, and prioritize data for the collection efforts.

This exercise will give you insight into potential timelines, discovery costs, and any requirements from internal staff or experts. It can also help you meet short litigation deadlines.

The EDRM offers an in-depth guide to mapping and scoping data here.