The statistics surrounding the explosion of electronically stored information (ESI) are difficult for most people to comprehend. According to analyst firm IDC, the digital universe is expected to double every two years between now and 2020. That translates in a growth from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes, or 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman and child over the next eight years. For comparison, one gigabyte is roughly 130,000 pages of text.
A significant portion of this challenge can be attributed to the growth of Big Data, which comes in varied forms, such as email, video and social media. The legal knowledge workers teams must be able to quickly understand:
1. Who owns the ESI?
2. How much ESI is involved?
3. Where is ESI stored?
4. Is the ESI subject to data privacy laws?
5. Has the ESI been properly preserved?
6. Can the ESI be accessed and collected?
7. Which ESI is actually relevant?
Historically, e-discovery requests have implicated only a handful of key data sources, such as desktops, laptops, file shares and email servers. This is changing as Big Data infiltrates corporate work places. Identifying all the places potentially relevant ESI might reside when Big Data is involved brings into play an entirely new set of hurdles.