Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-06-01 05:50:48Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. There is more evidence of the widespread adoption of Microsoft SharePoint – collection tools targeted at efficient, defensible collection of SharePoint content for eDiscovery.  In my article about the challenges of SharePoint collection, I pointed out the need for collection of more than just document libraries – there is metadata and user interface context that may also be very important.  There are a host of specific SharePoint collection tools like AvePoint DocAve eDiscovery, EMC SourceOne-Kazeon eDiscovery SharePoint Manager, and Autonomy ControlPoint; and I pointed out that Microforensics had released a tool for “forensic” collection of SharePoint content (and the associated metadata and UI context).  Last week, I was briefed on the FTI Harvester for Microsoft SharePoint.

FTI Consulting is a well-respected, long-time practitioner of eDiscovery.  The consultants there know what they are doing and have first-hand experience conducting SharePoint collection.  That’s why the company’s approach strikes me as interesting.  The FTI SharePoint Harvester is not available as a standalone software tool; rather, it is sold as a service to be run by FTI’s consultants.  While some may look at this only as a way to drive important consulting revenues, I think this is because SharePoint collection is so tricky that the solution needs to be a combination of tools and expertise.

Systems like SharePoint create additional challenges due to the dynamic nature of the content.  Greg Buckles expounded on this in his articles on discovery on enterprise archives and content platforms and index lag.  With the SharePoint Harvester, FTI seeks to address some of the challenges of doing the point-in-time collection on content from a dynamic system.  Additionally, with SharePoint and some of the existing collection tools, it can be difficult to do collections by custodians (keyword collection is easy enough, but custodian collection is more challenging).  FTI can assign a document to a custodian based on a variety of factors:

–       If the document was authored by the custodian

–       If the document was last modified by the custodian

–       If a custodian had access to a document

–       Network user names for custodians

–       Groups that the custodian is a member of

The Harvester collects by custodian and then exports copies of the selected documents for preservation and additional culling (preserving the metadata associated with the documents).

At this point in time, FTI is not capturing the user interface context.  The Harvester is not available as standalone software, but likely will be within the next year.  For many organizations, though, the expertise of the FTI consultant will be necessary.  Too many corporations have deployed eDiscovery tools only to find that running them required a level of experience they could not get with internal resources.  For anyone running SharePoint within their environment, a collection tool is a must-have.  FTI’s hat is now in the ring with an interesting package of technology and services.

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