Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2012-07-18 08:53:48  

My research on mobile device discovery has led me to review existing surveys on corporate policies, practices and trends. Across multiple surveys, the statistics agree that the vast majority of businesses now allow the use of personal mobile devices, otherwise known as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Apple appears to have started this trend in 2007 when executives insisted on using their iPhones for corporate email. Alternatively, employees at corporations with heavy BlackBerry investments or regulatory monitoring requirements now carry two mobile devices, actually expanding the potential sources of ESI. One week into the eDJ Mobile Device Discovery Survey, preliminary results show that over 60% of respondents have had to preserve or collect ESI from a custodian’s mobile device. We heard very different corporate vs. law firm perspectives on mobile device discovery from our monthly eDJ Peer working group sessions.

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Corporate and law firm eDJ Peers agreed that mobile devices are a potential ESI source. However, the corporate working group was focused on upstream device management strategies and policies while the law firm working group relied on custodian interviews to essentially exclude smartphones from collection based on relevance and redundant network sources. Surprisingly, proactive corporations with a heavy litigation profile seem to have accepted the need to preserve and manage mobile devices for discovery while even experienced outside counsel still wish that they would just go away. Maybe this is because extraction and processing these devices has been limited to forensic specialists until recently. Again, Apple’s latest toy seems to be upsetting the discovery status quo as iPads trickle down from board rooms to the cube farms. Apple’s COO has indicated that 65% of Fortune 100 corporations have either deployed iPads or are piloting iPad projects. The same Cylab report indicated that 63% of devices on corporate networks are also used for personal activities. This comingling of personal and business content raises the stakes for discovery issues, especially for global corporations with employees in Europe that are subject to data privacy laws.

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Fundamentally, the expansion of mobile device operating systems to support practically infinite Apps and associated ESI is the pivot point for mobile device discovery. Relatively few civil matters currently justify collection of text messages, call logs, GPS location logs and other unique ESI from a cell phone. However, now that mobile employees are drafting/editing Office documents, instant messaging through multiple channels and effectively doing business online through their smartphones or tablets, how can we ignore ESI from iOS (Apple), Android and other systems? The eDiscovery market has just begun to see specialized preservation/collection offerings that tackle social media and other web content like X1 Discovery and Nextpoint. Now our dominant forensic players, AccessData and Guidance, are trying to make mobile device discovery more practical for the eDiscovery market. At this time, mobile device discovery still involves the manual extraction process of attaching the devices to either a tablet-style kit or a laptop with special software. We need to see integrated solutions that combine forensic extraction functionality with mobile device management capabilities such as offered by Mobile Iron to make mobile device discovery a mature eDiscovery process. Have you tackled mobile device discovery in your environment? If so, we want to hear about it. Please email Greg@eDJGroupInc.com to schedule an interview.
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