Most organisations are pragmatic when it comes to implementing basic, no-frills security strategies - but with specialised offerings such as e-discovery and archiving? Not so much.
A Symantec survey has indicated that while most organisations have good intentions, the majority's data retention policies have yet to be fully implemented. They are ill-prepared for the legal and financial ramifications of an e-discovery request. This sets the stage for the channel to fill in the gaps.
The Symantec 2012 Information Retention and eDiscovery Survey examined how enterprises manage the exponential rise of electronically stored information (ESI) in preparation for an e-discovery request.
Channelweb editor's note: Symantec commissioned ReRez Research to conduct this 2012 Information Retention and eDiscovery Survey in September and October 2012. They contacted senior IT executives at 500 organisations in four countries. Respondents came from companies with more than 500 employees. Two hundred were from the US, 100 from Canada, 100 afrom the UK, and 100 from Germany.
In light of growing awareness around big data, there were improvements from last year. Among the findings: The percentage of organisations without a formal retention plan dropped by half from 2011. Organisations are still struggling to implement information retention plans, indicated by the fact that only a third of respondents report their plan is operational.
This shows a growing channel opportunity to ramp up consulting aimed at related pain points, helping customers implement comprehensive e-discovery strategies and finding the most significant vulnerabilities.
Nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of organisations said they have a formal retention plan, likely spurred by compliance regulations and big data concerns. The survey found that only seven per cent of organisations it spoke to didn't have any such plan in place, representing a 50 per cent drop, from 14 per cent in 2011.
Only a third (34 per cent) of respondents claimed their plans were operational, indicating the remaining 56 per cent had yet to add products or policies or test their e-discovery strategies. The biggest inhibitor to adoption: cost.
According to the survey, while organisations received on average 17 requests for ESI, attempts to retrieve that information failed 31 per cent of the time - a 20 per cent rise in failures over the previous year.
The lag is probably driven by a gap between beliefs and practices when it comes to retention policies. 81 per cent of respondents believed an adequate information retention plan allows them to delete information on a continual basis. However, 42 per cent of backups were retained indefinitely, and many employees delete information without regard to established data retention policies.
Data privacy laws and compliance regulations have an impact on organisations, reaffirmed by 53 per cent of respondents. They claimed such laws have an effect on archiving and e-discovery initiatives.
These drivers are litigation (60 per cent), internal investigations (59 per cent), internal compliance initiatives (58 per cent), compliance with international regulations and laws (57 per cent), compliance with local and domestic laws (55 per cent), governmental inquiries (52 per cent) and public information requests (46 per cent).
And it's not about to get easier. In recent years, many of these laws have grown teeth in response to highly publicised data breaches and legal violations. Organisations are going to be on the hook, being increasingly required to produce obscure data as these regulations become tougher and more enforceable.
That's where resellers enter the picture. And for the channel, this spells opportunity, albeit in a niche that hasn't achieved or warranted public attention. Thanks to a steady rise in civil litigation, the e-discovery market is primed for growth. A March 2012 TechNavio report projected global e-discovery growth of 14.3 per cent, compounded annually, between 2010 and 2014.
That means the channel in 2013 will have a much clearer path to bulking up the value to their portfolio. They can do this by building specialised services around e-discovery, pre-auditing, reporting, archiving and other high-margin niches to help their largest customers keep auditors and lawyers from getting too close.
Stefanie Hoffman is US West Coast editor and senior associate at Channelnomics
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