Litigation Hold In Office 365 and Exchange 2013

Litigation Hold For Law Firms

An Essential Feature For eDiscovery & Preservation Requirements

What is Litigation Hold?  In Exchange 2013 and Office 365 and Exchange Online, there is a feature called Litigation Hold. Litigation Hold, also referred to as Legal Hold, lets organizations preserve electronically stored information. When a mailbox is put on litigation hold, the user can delete items, but the items are still kept on servers in the Microsoft Exchange data center.

Lawyers reading this should pay attention here. It allows anyone to assuredly preserve mailbox data to comply with long-term eDiscovery and preservation requirements. When a mailbox has Litigation Hold turned on, the mailbox content will be preserved as long as your organization has to retain it. This is most definitely an Exchange feature that any lawyer should know about.

Litigation Hold is a feature that protects against user error. For example, if a user accidentally deletes a day’s e-mails out of habit, the items will still be accessible because Exchange retains it all.

Litigation Hold can preserve mailbox items for a specified duration.

If you need to meet compliance requirements by preserving all mailbox content for a specified duration, there is a parameter feature where you can set the date range.

In-Place Hold in Office 365 and Exchange 2013

A new feature in Exchange 2013 and Office 365, called In-Place Hold, will allow users additional flexibility in preserving their data. The hold functionality is pared with In-Place eDiscovery to let you search and preserve with one wizard. You are able to use the InPlace eDiscovery & Hold to find and preserve mailbox items that meet the parameters of your query.

Understanding Litigation Hold

When there is a reasonable expectation of litigation, organizations have to preserve any electronically stored information (and that includes e-mail) that could be relevant to the case. This expectation might be present even before the details of the case are known, and the preservation requirement can be very, very broad. Organizations might preserve all e-mail relevant to a specific topic, or all e-mail for certain people. Depending on the electronic discover practices of the organization, some of the measures taken up by organizations to preserve e-mail include:

  1. Users can be asked to preserve e-mail by not deleting anything. However, as mentioned, a user could still delete something by accident.  Automated deletion mechanisms could be put on hold. This might result in an email inbox becoming cluttered, and it could have an effect on user productivity.
  2. Some companies move or copy e-mail to an archive to make sure that it isn’t deleted, tampered with, or altered. This increases expenses because of manual efforts necessary to copy or move messages to an archive, or third-party products or served employed to collect and store e-mail apart from Microsoft Exchange.

If your organization doesn’t preserve e-mail, it could expose it to financial and legal risks such as investigation of the organization’s records, discovery ,and retention processes, bad legal judgments, fines, or sanctions. Litigation Hold in Exchange 2013 and Office 365 / Exchange Online can help your organization avoid problems with records retention.

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