Office 365 enhanced to simplify the process of eDiscovery

Microsoft’s Office 365 team just announced the release of a new set of eDiscovery enhancements for the productivity suite that include search, hold, export and case management.

Great, so what is eDiscovery and how does it benefit you?

eDiscovery or Electronic Discovery refers to the process of discovery in litigation or government investigations. The discovery aspect of eDiscovery is the result of tirelessly searching and sorting through data that can be identified as potentially relevant by attorneys or paralegals and eventually put on hold. Without assistive tools such as Office 365’s machine learning or predictive coding, the process could invoke unforeseen additional man-hours and cost. The Electronic part of eDiscovery centers around the subsequent exchange of data found and held by the discovery process that pertains to an investigation and is then exchanged in electronic format. Once again, Office 365 is looking to help attorney’s package their discovery in the easiest and most standard compliant ways as possible with its enhanced exporting of review applications.

The Electronic part of eDiscovery centers around the subsequent exchange of data found and held by the discovery process that pertains to an investigation and is then exchanged in electronic format. Once again, Office 365 is looking to help attorney’s package their discovery in the easiest and most standard compliant ways as possible with its enhanced exporting of review applications.

Today, the Office 365 team is making the eDiscovery procedure a tad easier and more compliant for its customers with the addition of:

Enhanced case management and access controls

The eDiscovery page in the Security & Compliance Center now has an option for case management, allowing you to work on eDiscovery cases without leaving the Security & Compliance Center. Use the eDiscovery case management feature to control who has access to the case, place content sources on hold and associate Compliance Searches with the case.

Case management controls

Case management controls

Preserving vital information with Case Management Holds

Preserving information is integral to the eDiscovery process. With Office 365 eDiscovery Case Management Holds, you can select the mailboxes, OneDrive for Business sites, SharePoint sites, and Office 365 groups you want to preserve as part of your investigation. Applying a hold preserves all data in the selected content sources until you release the hold. Content is preserved in place, so people can continue working on their documents and email without any loss in productivity; but behind the scenes, the content is preserved and is available to be searched and exported.

More granular search capabilities with Permissions

Now, in an eDiscovery case, you can create granular searches which allow you to search either a small number of locations or your entire organization. In addition, the searches you create as part of an eDiscovery case are only accessible by people that are part of the case. You can search and export data from mailboxes (active or inactive), public folders, OneDrive for Business sites, SharePoint sites and Office 365 groups.

Above all, the Office 365 team is also tweaking the export functions of its eDiscovery tool. Customers can now export the bulk sum of their search results (upwards of 100 GB) of data in a single PST export. The single PST export should come as a welcomed replacement to the previous exporting practice of sending multiple PST exports to cover related data. Furthermore, PST exports retain the metadata when and if SharePoint documents are downloaded.

The Office 365 team is not done with enhancing the eDiscovery process. The team also have plans in the near future to roll out more improvements and enhancements such as keyword statistics, source statistics, and export de-duplication. Eager researchers can head over to the Security & Compliance Center in their tenant to test drive the newly improved eDiscovery tools.

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