BYOD complicates data discovery process for companies

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Bring-your-own-device efforts are complicating the process of preserving data for legal or regulatory discovery, and many executives are worried that they will not be able to meet data discovery mandates.

According to a survey of 1,680 executives by consulting firm Deloitte, only about half of respondents are confident their organizations can preserve data on mobile devices for litigation, regulatory or investigative requirements.

"People have begun using text messaging a lot more to conduct business….The only way that you can get access to these text messages is to go to the device itself that is held by the individual. With email, we are able to go to the email server and pull email from email boxes ... There are obvious challenges to going out and collecting that data," Michael Weil, director of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, tells FierceMobileIT.

The survey respondents said that the greatest threats to mobile device data preservation include the changing state of mobile device data (29.2 percent), the speed at which applications are developed and adopted (16.5 percent), devices' natural data deletion (10.2 percent) and the numerous devices designs (4.5 percent).

"There are various applications in the marketplace in addition to your standard SMS or MMS text messages. You have iMessage, SnapChat and WhatsApp that add complexity; the number of applications we are having to look at for responsive data for particular litigation issues" is rapidly increasing, Weil explains.

Mark Michels, director of Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics, tells FierceMobileIT that almost 40 percent of the respondents mentioned concerns about international data collection.

"The additional challenge of trying to gather data and deal with the differences and vagaries of the systems outside the United States compounds the challenges for the multinational companies that are dealing with investigations in multiple jurisdictions."

BYOD complicates the process further because of the privacy issues raised by taking personal devices for data discovery. "There will be a mix of individual and corporate data on these devices ... Companies have dealt with that issue by making it clear to employees in their BYOD policy that if there is a need to respond to an investigation, they will be required to provide the phone to the corporation….The corporation has to be very careful to limit their search to the data that belongs to it," cautions Michels.

For more:
- see the Deloitte survey results

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