How Protecting Your Business Data Can Prepare You For Litigation

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

The internet has changed the way the world works and has probably changed the way that your company does business. In many ways, these changes have been positive, but there can be downsides when it comes to electronic communications and data. There is always the possibility that your business could face litigation. The data, records, and reports that your company produces could be necessary to present. Even if you are confident that you have done no wrong, you should still prepare.

Electronic discovery can be a tricky matter if you’re unable to provide the court with the information it needs for a case. There are some steps you can take to prepare for potential litigation that can help protect your business.

Create a list of electronic assets

It’s essential to know where all of your data is stored when it comes to your electronic assets. Create a list of all of the devices and electronics that your employees use along with any software and hardware your company uses to do business. You need to know the following information:

  • Where your data is located
  • What data your business comes into contact with or creates
  • Any backup procedures to protect your data from being lost
  • All security measures in place to protect your information

This list will assist you if you ever need to prepare for the production of an electronic document.

Create a plan in case of litigation

There is a good chance that you’ll have forewarning before any litigation is brought against your company. A complaint could be filed against your company or a demand letter sent. In this instance, it is essential that you preserve any documentation that’s relevant to the situation.

This means that your business must have a plan to identify the documents that may be relevant to the case, preserve them, and ensure that they are not destroyed. Often, these actions happen through what’s called a litigation hold. A litigation hold comes from your attorney and is given to any employees that are the most likely to have the necessary information that pertains to the case. Due to the ease that emails pile up in an inbox and how easy it is to delete them, it’s important to have a plan in place.

Enact and follow document retention policies

Your company should have document retention policies in place that give your employees guidelines on how to treat documents and electronic data. It’s important to review these policies or put them in place in case they aren’t instituted already.

Talk with your IT staff along with your legal representative to determine the best electronic data policy to have in place. It should cover ownership of the data, the creation of data, proper communication, and storage. These policies should also go over expectations of social media use along with any personal accounts or devices that are used for business purposes. Keeping your attorney in the loop (or getting one) ensures that any policies in place comply with the law.

Keep employees aware of policies

After you’ve created a litigation plan and document retention policies, it’s time to roll them out to your employees. You need to let them know their responsibilities when it comes to the plans. In most cases, your employees want to help protect the company they work for and won’t actively try to harm you by not following these procedures. But, it can be scary for employees to be involved in a lawsuit. They may worry about what the company expects from them in this situation.

That is why it can be essential to go through this education process rather than just passing out a handout about the new policies. Create a presentation or the opportunity for them to ask questions about their role in these changes. It’s important to inform them about the potential consequences that the company may face if documents are destroyed that should be kept. Your attorney can be a helpful partner in this situation.

A litigation attorney can help you prepare

A legal professional is often the best option when you need to prepare for litigation that may (or may not) be coming your way. At Brown & Fortunato, P.C., our Litigation and Finance & Corporate teams can help your business prepare for legal action and keep you compliant with all laws. Call us at (833) 228-6300 or Send Us an Email today to learn more about our practice areas.