Baby? Meet Bathwater…

J0437389 Not that I want to pick on Computerworld, but…

I was reading their article, "Why IT should start throwing data away" and, while it's a great document with a lot of astute information, it still made my blood boil.  Why?

This is a classic example of a terrific thought process that only considers one side of the equasion.  The perspective is, 'Let's do what we can to eliminate as much data as legally possible to limit the strain on our resources, thwart adversarial e-discovery and lower costs'.

But here's the thing.  Some of that data may exculpate the company and you may really regret deleting it.  Sure, I've talked to many attorneys who operate under the philosophy that the least amount of data available, the better, and you know what?  I don't agree.  At least not without a case-by-case assessment, anyway.

Sauce for the goose is good for the gander.  Don't be so efficient in your data sweeps that you have a defensible legal hold, but leave yourself with no line of defense.

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2 thoughts on “Baby? Meet Bathwater…”

  1. Another issue with a single-minded focus on destroying as much data as possible is the costs of this approach for business who rely on knowledge workers. What are the costs of lost productivity because information is lost or has to be recreated/transferred outside of the e-mail system? I posted a more detailed response to the issues you raise here in my blog post: Planning for the Consequences of Your E-mail Retention Policies. I’d be interested in your comments on my post.

    http://legalprojectmanagement.info/2009/05/planning-for-the-consequences-of-your-e-mail-retention-policies.html

  2. Hi Paul:

    I didn’t see a link back to your post in your comments, so I hope you don’t mind – I added one for you.

    I regret these days I have less time to flesh out some of my posts as much as I’d like, but you did a good job for me.

    One thing I always consider; if you happen to be a company that really tries to do the right thing, then you want some of those documents around to prove it.

    Also, most cases have a statute of limitations of, say, two to three years. It’s going to be an interesting problem defending a case from three years ago if all you have available is 90-days worth of data.

    Again, my usual caveat stands – these assessments should be made on a case-by-case basis.

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