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#661: No Excuse for Lost Computer Files

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, September 26, 2011
Updated: Monday, September 26, 2011
With eDiscovery rules in force, what are my options and obligations for storing records?

Consultants should be aware of the implications of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for discovery of electronic data. What is now required to be retained includes most electronically stored information (IMs, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, emails, voice mails, etc). You might be asked in a lawsuit to provide these records, and you should learn the rules for proper retention.

Courts can provide some allowance for reasonable "housekeeping" of emails and other work papers. However, once it becomes apparent that there is a legal issue, you must preserve all documents that might pertain to the lawsuit. The case a few years ago of nearly five million White house emails "inadvertently missing" is the kind of circumstance at which these procedures are aimed. The White House had an automatic records management system designed to store these records, but it was removed and deliberately not replaced, the kind of circumstance on which a court would not look favorably. Having some minimal procedures for record keeping (and following them) is important.

All consultants should read a good summary of e-discovery rules and, especially, how they apply to social media.

Tip: This tip is not a legal opinion or guidance, only a recommendation that all consultants should be aware of their legal obligations to store records. If you need a backup capability, purchase an external hard drive or select an online service like Mozy, Carbonite, Amazon Cloud or many other services. These can provide unlimited online automated backups for as little as $5/month (or 2-5 Gb storage for free).

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  computer  legal  privacy  recordkeeping  security 

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