Partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams has seen a stark adoption by organizations and individuals alike. And with almost 270 million monthly active users, it has become a synonym for communication and collaboration. Nonetheless, even as the world and the economy recover from the pandemic, Microsoft Teams seems to be here to stay.
However, as much as it is delightful to communicate and collaborate using the application, increased corporate use of Microsoft Teams data governance has mixed reactions among eDiscovery specialists. More so among specialists entrusted with gathering discoverable material from custodians during litigation, investigations, and similar matters.
But what is it about Microsoft Teams eDiscovery that makes it so difficult?
Decentralized data centers
For starters, data for Microsoft Teams eDiscovery is challenging to find, let alone gather, because it is stored in different locations and takes several procedures or strategies to access it all. Moreover, each of these sites might provide distinct sorts of data. Some examples of this are:
- Private chats are usually saved in the Team Chat folder under Conversation History in a user's Outlook.
- Group discussions are saved in the group mailbox's Conversation History folder.
- Uploaded files are saved in SharePoint, but they are kept in various places depending on whether they were shared in private or group conversations.
- "Modern attachments" are documents stored in OneDrive and SharePoint solutions shown as links in chat; regrettably, most typical collection tools do not accept these files, necessitating manual access.
Next up is any collection's core value – defensibility. It entails safeguarding data from tampering, preserving information, and allowing future data integrity analysis. Not all tools keep and create the facts essential to assist legal teams in maintaining defensibility while collecting Microsoft Teams data—a potentially costly error if a court detects differences and orders the producing party to redo their work.
Processes can also harm defensibility. By their very nature, certain technologies require collections to be exported locally before being put into a platform for assessment. This extra step increases the chances of human mistakes or wrongdoing concerning information management The chain of custody between document collection and production becomes more difficult to monitor when data is exported, loaded, and exported again.
Modern Attachments Create Modern Complications
The popularity of platforms like Microsoft Teams archiving has changed the way employees communicate documents and store them within their organizations. Professionals are more likely to exchange links inside private and public channels than attach papers to email discussions. Employees opt to connect documents in addition to the proliferation of collaboration platforms because it reduces the number of versions of a single document, allowing several individuals to alter the same document and allowing the document owner to manage who has access to the file tightly.
Standards are still Evolving
The regulation for gathering, reviewing, and producing data for Microsoft Teams eDiscovery is far from complete. ESI rules, for example, might require legal teams to have documents linked within conversations as part of the thread's family of documents. Furthermore, many technologies now merely include the link as part of the text gathered rather than the document itself, potentially leaving out an essential piece of the puzzle. If you're to do an early case assessment, manually identifying and connecting these disparate papers is no easy task.
To conclude, Microsoft Teams is an integral part of most of our lives today. And though the abovementioned issues might seem significant, they are not enough to not use one of our favorite communication and collaboration applications. But collecting data running Microsoft Teams eDiscovery is also an essential part of a corporate structure. Therefore, companies today are opting for third-party Microsoft Teams data governance applications. To learn more about the use of these applications and how they can further benefit your organization, reach out to our experts.