I have made reference here before to the US court order requiring Microsoft to hand over emails and other records pursuant to a US search warrant.
The most recent order is to be subject to an appeal, and it is not only other hosting companies who await the outcome with interest.
Nick Rich, Lead Solutions Adviser at Epiq Systems, has written about this on the SCL site. His article is called The Microsoft Dublin Warrant Case and Litigation Readiness, and it provides an important checklist for any companies who may be affected by the final outcome of this case.
Nick Rich suggests that companies ought to make themselves ready for prospective litigation and regulatory investigations on the assumption that the final decision will go against Microsoft. At the least, he says, companies ought to know what data they have in Europe on servers belonging to US-based cloud providers and should take advice as to what properly be done with it in anticipation of future problems.
As he makes clear, this is really a refinement for particular purposes of an exercise which companies ought to undertake anyway in preparation for future discovery demands. Much of the difficulty and cost arising in discovery could be mitigated by, for example, getting rid of documents which are not subject to legal hold and are not required for business purposes. In particular, companies should consider whether data which includes personally identifiable information should be kept at all. The starting point, as Nick Rich emphasises is for companies to know what they have and where it is.
These suggestions make sense as a continuing matter for any organisation. For EU companies with data on US servers, there is an additional level of urgency.