Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2017-10-25 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

Several peers sent me links to the unfolding spoliation scandal regarding the Georgia election server that was wiped shortly after a suit was filed. There is not enough information yet to ascertain the context of the wipe, but the FBI took an image in March as part of their own election tampering investigation which hopefully preserved the critical evidence. As many have observed, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up.” Former BP engineer Kurt Mix discovered that the hard way with a 20 year sentence after destroying 17 text messages regarding the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill response. Maybe the technician’s at the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University acted in good faith and were just decommissioning the server and back-ups. Maybe. Many of my clients have legacy hardware and applications that have never been properly decommissioned because they are under active legal hold(s). IT execs are racing to shut down their data and CoLo centers in their flight to the Cloud. So what do you do with a legacy server that was put under legal hold for perpetual serial litigation or criminal investigations where the authorities refuse to issue a formal release for decades?

There a many different strategies and options that seek to find the right balance between the risk of spoliation and the preservation/migration cost. If you are under a preservation obligation, very few counsel will sign off on a full destruction/wipe of a system that has been held no matter what the odds of actual discovery or relevance. And even fewer plaintiffs/prosecutors will indulge your reasonable request to clean out the junk without a bench decision. I have had better success with offline/archival strategies supported by clear documentation of the decision process and the potential restoration cost/effort. Many of these legacy systems may be classified as ‘inaccessible’ in the first place and may be at increasing risk of loss due to passive media/hardware/license failure. That can support your decision to migrate, archive or convert to a virtual backup with a suspended clock. So stop ignoring those legacy systems under hold and clean your IT closet!

Stay skeptical and laugh at yourselves my friends!

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients. His active research topics include analytics, mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365/2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. Greg is no longer a journalists and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? eDJ Group is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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