March 18, 2016

Office 365 Partner Community: People-centric security – Advanced eDiscovery

By Diane Golshan

by Michael Panciroli

US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365


The modern collaboration and personalized insights scenarios that are now available to customers with our most comprehensive Office 365 offering, Office 365 Enterprise E5, are not effective unless an organization has IT controls that allow users to run those scenarios in a compliant way, with their data protected. Advanced eDiscovery is one of our investments in people-centric security for the enterprise. In my recent discussions with partners, there have been a lot of questions about the additional value that advanced eDiscovery brings to our existing offering.

In this post, I’ll provide you with an overview of eDiscovery, and then explain the new Office 365 capabilities for advanced eDiscovery.

eDiscovery overview and the importance of eDiscovery technology

eDiscovery is the process of identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information in response to a litigation, investigation, or regulatory request. In the eDiscovery process, a company will minimize the volume of the data to produce evidence that is increasingly relevant to a case. In the end, the goal is to produce data that is relevant, but does not expose any more information than needed, limiting exposure.

An eDiscovery case can occur for a number of reasons. Here are a few examples:

  • A government agency wants to review whether a company is complying with regulations and doing business properly
  • A company feels like a competitor has violated a patent or copied their work
  • A former employee sues his or her employer and requests electronic information to demonstrate in court what occurred

In all of these cases, a company is legally required to provide this information to the court. Requests like this can add up to significant amounts of money being spent on eDiscovery-related activities within organizations.

Here are some facts from recent studies that illustrate why eDiscovery is top-of-mind for many executives:

  • 40% of large organizations have one or more lawsuits with $20+ million at issue
  • The median litigation budget, excluding settlement costs, is $1.2 million
  • Legal costs for the biggest US banks alone totaled $30 billion in 2014

(Sources: Norton Rose Fulbright – Litigation Trends Survey May 2015; Bloomberg January 2015)

Office 365 eDiscovery

Capabilities in Office 365 simplify the eDiscovery process by enabling in-place, intelligent eDiscovery, allowing for quick identification of relevant data while decreasing cost and risk. In-place eDiscovery means you no longer need to ship massive volumes of data out of the organization as part of an outsourced eDiscovery process. With the Office 365 unified eDiscovery Center, you can search across SharePoint, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, and Exchange mailboxes. Fully integrated capabilities accelerate the eDiscovery process so that you can quickly get to the most relevant and export it for further review. Read my previous blog post about eDiscovery

New advanced eDiscovery capabilities

The eDiscovery process often involves sorting through thousands of email messages, documents, and other data to find the small number of files that may be relevant. Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery integrates Equivio machine learning, predictive coding, and text analytics to reduce the costs and challenges of sorting through large quantities of data.

  • Clustering technology is used to create and assign review batches, where each batch consists of documents belonging to a single cluster topic. Document clustering enables improved review efficiency by automatically organizing review batches based on their conceptual content.
  • Themes and search are powerful features for early case assessment and internal investigations that help you quickly map the collection and find key data points. Themes groups related documents, allowing you to identify topics of interest, drill down to discover more material, find similar documents, and intuitively explore your data set by following up on related themes.
  • Predictive coding – By manually reviewing only a small set of the corpus Equivio uses a machine learning algorithm to train and predictively code a much larger corpus of data to quickly find what is relevant.
  • Duplicate detection and thread analysis reconstructs email threads from unstructured data and simplifies email review by reducing the volume of data.

The customer conversation

When talking to your customers about why the new eDiscovery capabilities that are available through Office 365 Enterprise E5 are valuable to them, emphasize that machine learning and analytics functionality helps speed up the legal counsel email and document review process. By significantly reducing legal counsel review time, companies save money.


Learn more about people-centric security

Learn more about Office 365 compliance solutions

Office 365 Trust Center

Office 365 Enterprise E5 capabilities

Sales resources for Office 365 Enterprise E5 (sign in as a partner for access)

Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery demo

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