A recent article on the Enterprise Storage Forum website, written by Paul Shread, re-enforces the importance of keeping metadata intact while searching for and preserving data to support litigation events. In his article “E-Discovery Ruling Gives Companies Another Data Worry“, Shread quotes an analyst from the Enterprise Strategy group who basically says that enterprises should have already been concerned with preserving metadata during eDiscovery. It is essential to the eDiscovery process to ensure that the ownership and access history that is captured within metadata remains upspoiled.
The largest volume of enterprise electronic stored information (ESI) is housed on backup tape. These tapes contain the files and associated metadata that are often critical to legal cases. Index Engines technology automates both the index and extraction of this valuable ESI. During the Index Engines automated process all content, file formats, and metadata extracted from tape is kept intact. This allows both compliance with the new case law that Shread is commenting on, and also the ability to search and query the data on tape by create date, modified date, author, etc… By querying the unspoiled metadata, users of Index Engines technology can target the information they want to extract from tape and import it into the legal review tool of their choice. During the extraction and import of these pertanent files, of course the metadata remains intact.
Another point to consider is the integrity of metadata on tape versus network attached storage. A unique aspect of tape is the fact that it locks away files and metadata, as compared to information stored on live networks, which are still accessible, and metadata could be subject to tampering. By gathering ESI from tape, the data discovered with Index Engines is certain to be forensically sound. On the flip side eDiscovery tools that extract from the live data network really have no way to gaurantee that the metadata was not altered before the files in question were put on litigation hold. To be fully compliant with FRCP and recent case law, the best approach to data retention is to backup to tape. Then when eDiscovery becomes necessary, Index Engines technology makes the process quick and compliant.
Therefore, Paul Shread and his readers can rest assured that there is a solution to metadata preservation; backup to tape and discover with Index Engines.