FTI Technology has launched a new service which combines its technology with its skills to help organisations manage ever-growing volumes of data.
I spoke to Jake Frazier, Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting (there is a press release about him here), to find out more about this. There are, he said, many companies offering technology solutions for the management of deletion, migration and categorisation of information, but very few have the skill and experience to do it in a way which supports defensibility of the activities. It is one thing to find and delete classes of documents, to move them from one place to another or to re-categorise them, but it is quite another to be willing to give affidavits or to defend the processes before a court or a regulator. The new service from FTI brings both of these strands together.
Information governance is a broad topic covering many activities and requiring a wide range of skills. There is, Jake Frazier says, “a lot of hype” in the market about something where it is hard to make concrete predictions or to get tangible results. Companies name a Chief Information Officer and only then start to ask what the tasks are. They often hire a big consulting firm which produces a large document saying not much more than that the company should comply with its document retention policy. Many of them offer “too much strategy and not enough execution”. FTI’s new service aims to solve that problem.
As well as lacking precise aims, many IT projects have long timelines; budget priorities change and people move from the company or acquire different responsibilities and it becomes hard to protect the budget.
FTI’s goal is to pick things which it knows works and which will quickly generate tangible benefit. If a company is quickly able to say that a particular type of search, which once took seventeen days now takes four, or that it got rid of a specified quantity of backup tapes, then this is a tangible result with an identifiable saving.
Jake Frazier said that a many IG tasks are “always important but never urgent”. Getting rid of backup tapes and migration from an old email archive are good examples of activities which can quickly show results.
Legal departments are stuck with big collections of tapes, often created on machines which no longer exist or have email archives on systems which are going out of support, have reached end of life, or have inadequate search facilities. They would, perhaps, like to move the whole lot to the cloud, but get a high quotation with long timescales and the planned project dies.
The FTI approach is to look at retention policies, to do some sampling and to make selective extracts in consultation with legal and other relevant departments. They document the exercise in a way which enables them to help courts or regulators understand what has been done – and to do any eDiscovery matters which come up on the processes in hand.
Increasingly, this work comes up because companies are concerned about violations of data protection or privacy laws, something that was first driven from Europe but is now spreading to the US. It may be, for example, that the company is holding a great deal of data which should have been disposed of as a matter of data protection / privacy law or which is sitting in the wrong jurisdiction.
The main driver in the US is the increasing number of data breaches. A common element across many multinational organisations is that they have no one to bridge the gap internally and have differences of philosophy as well as of law and jurisdiction. FTI has teams in data centres in many jurisdictions, making them well-equipped to resolve this issues of this kind.