Information Center

EDRM: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Use It?

Every day, workers in various sectors and industries sift through thousands of emails, documents, and messages scattered across multiple devices and platforms. While helpful for many business operations, the sheer volume of electronic data can be overwhelming, making tasks like identifying relevant information and checking regulatory compliance seem insurmountable.

Electronic discovery, aka eDiscovery, helps organizations sort through this data deluge, identifying, collecting, and producing electronically stored information (ESI) for legal, compliance, and other purposes. 

An end-to-end, cloud-based eDiscovery solution makes it easy for organizations to capture, register, and review data from any communication channel, exposing liabilities and litigation risk and meeting compliance requirements.

EDRM Overview and Why It’s Important

An Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) is a framework designed to guide organizations through the eDiscovery process. From the initial identification and preservation of electronically stored information (ESI) to its final presentation in legal proceedings, EDRM ensures that eDiscovery is conducted in a structured, defensible, and cost-effective manner.

What, exactly, does that mean, and how can it help your company?

EDRM uses a consistent structure to improve the eDiscovery process, making it easier for businesses to manage ESI more efficiently, thereby reducing error risks and ensuring legal and regulatory compliance. It does this by breaking the eDiscovery process into 9 distinct stages or techniques that allow you to carry out eDiscovery in a practical and legally sound way:

  1. Information governance establishes policies and procedures for managing ESI throughout its lifecycle, ensuring data is handled consistently and in compliance with regulations while also minimizing legal risks and improving data management practices.
  2. Identification determines where relevant ESI is located and how it can be accessed. It enables businesses to quickly locate and retrieve data, reducing time and resources spent on the eDiscovery processes.
  3. Preservation makes sure that relevant ESI is preserved in a way that maintains its integrity and authenticity, safeguarding against data loss or tampering and ensuring information can be relied upon in audits or legal proceedings.
  4. Collection gathers relevant ESI in a supportable manner that minimizes business operation disruptions, allowing enterprises to maintain productivity while complying with eDiscovery requirements.
  5. Processing converts collected ESI into a format that can be reviewed and analyzed, facilitating valuable data insight extraction while ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory standards.
  6. Review evaluates collected ESI to determine its relevance and privilege status, enabling organizations to focus on pertinent information and streamline the eDiscovery process.
  7. Analysis reviews ESI to identify key information and insights, helping companies make informed decisions based on data-driven insights.
  8. Production generates relevant ESI in a format that complies with legal and regulatory requirements, ensuring information is presented accurately and in a legally acceptable manner.
  9. Presentation delivers relevant ESI in a clear and organized manner, enabling stakeholders to easily understand and use the information for decision-making purposes.

Put more succinctly, if you're tired of sifting through mountains of emails, documents, and messages to demonstrate regulatory compliance or respond to legal requests, EDRM is like having step-by-step instructions that streamline organizing and managing all your ESI in a way that's both legally compliant and efficient.

How Does EDRM Fit Into eDiscovery Products and Solutions?

EDRM is a structured approach to managing electronic information throughout the eDiscovery process. It can be used by various businesses and industries, including legal, healthcare, finance, consulting, insurance, and more.

Veritas Alta™ eDiscovery is a complete, cloud-based solution that enables organizations to achieve end-to-end SaaS eDiscovery with reactive collection of the data sources most relevant to their business operations.

  • Financial Services. Advisory and investment firms can use EDRM to manage electronic records related to financial transactions, customer accounts, and regulatory compliance. The EDRM framework efficiently responds to regulatory requests and audits, ensuring firms meet their compliance obligations.
  • Legal Services. Law firms and legal departments can use the EDRM framework to streamline the eDiscovery progress, efficiently identifying, collecting, and reviewing relevant electronic information to ensure they meet their legal obligations and deadlines.
  • Business Management. Business consulting firms can use the EDRM to streamline ESI organization, ensuring data is easily accessible and can be used for decision-making purposes. It helps business management teams comply with regulatory requirements related to data retention and protection, reducing the risk of non-compliance and potential legal consequences.
  • Technology Sector. Tech companies can use the EDRM technique to manage electronic records related to software development, intellectual property, and data security, ensuring their electronic information is securely stored, accessed, and protected from unauthorized access.
  • Healthcare Sector. Healthcare and medical providers can use EDRM to manage electronic health records (EHRs) and other sensitive patient information, ensuring patient data is protected and shared in compliance with healthcare regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Insurance Sector. Reinsurance companies can use EDRM techniques to manage electronic records related to reinsurance contracts, claims processing, and risk management, ensuring they’re properly documented and claims are processed accurately. The EDRM can also help in analyzing data to identify trends and patterns, enabling reinsurers to make informed decisions about risk management and pricing.
  • Government Agencies. EDRM can be used by government agencies to manage electronic records related to operations, public services, and regulatory compliance, ensuring ESI is efficiently managed, archived, and accessible to the public as required by law.

EDRM is a valuable tool for organizations wanting to improve their eDiscovery processes. It enhances data management practices and ensures regulatory compliance while reducing data breach risks and legal disputes.

EDRM: How it Supports Regulatory Compliance

eDiscovery regulatory compliance laws vary by jurisdiction and industry. For instance, in the United States, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) govern eDiscovery in federal court cases, outlining a party’s obligation to preserve, collect, and produce electronically stored information (ESI). Other regulations like HIPAA and the GDPR impose specific requirements on ESI management and protection in the healthcare and data privacy sectors, respectively.

Compliance Issues Addressed by EDRM

EDRM helps organizations address several compliance issues related to eDiscovery, including:

  • Data preservation. EDRM provides guidelines for ESI preservation, ensuring relevant information is retained and protected from destruction.
  • Data collection. EDRM helps organizations collect ESI in a defensible and efficient manner, ensuring all relevant information is gathered for legal or regulatory purposes.
  • Data processing. EDRM facilitates ESI processing, enabling organizations to convert data into a format that can be reviewed and analyzed.
  • Data review. Organizations can use EDRM to review ESI and determine its relevance and privilege status, ensuring only relevant information is produced.
  • Data production. EDRM helps businesses produce ESI in a format that complies with legal and regulatory requirements, ensuring information is admissible in court or acceptable to regulatory authorities.

Evolution of EDRM to Achieve Compliance

As technology and regulatory requirements evolve, the EDRM is likely to advance as well, helping organizations achieve compliance in even more effective and cost-efficient ways. This evolution will conceivably include:

  • Enhanced data security. Expect a greater focus on advanced data security solutions that make it faster and easier to ensure ESI is protected from unauthorized access, disclosure, or tampering.
  • Improved data analytics. EDRM could leverage advanced data analytics capabilities to help organizations gain insights from ESI, enabling them to make more informed compliance and risk management decisions.
  • Streamlined compliance reporting. New features that streamline compliance reporting could allow enterprises to easily demonstrate compliance with eDiscovery and data protection regulations.
  • AI and machine learning (ML) integration. EDRM will continue to incorporate AI and ML technologies to automate and enhance the eDiscovery process, making it more efficient and accurate.

This last point is one of the more exciting trends in eDiscovery. The increased use of generative AI (Gen-AI) is expected to be a significant game-changer, automating previously time-consuming and laborious tasks and allowing organizations to analyze and categorize large volumes of ESI quickly and more efficiently. For example, companies can use Gen-AI to automatically summarize documents, extract relevant information, and even predict the relevance of documents to a particular case, policy, or matter. By using Gen-AI to streamline the eDiscovery process, reduce costs, and improve work accuracy and efficiency, organizations will be able to achieve faster and more insightful eDiscovery outcomes, gaining a competitive edge in digital information management.

EDRM eDiscovery: What Are the Benefits?

The eDiscovery reference model is much more than a framework for managing ESI during eDiscovery. It’s a powerful tool offering a broad range of benefits, from addressing customer pain points to streamlining data management and improving regulatory compliance, all while making eDiscovery more efficient and cost-effective.

Some of its most valuable and useful advantages include:

Addressing Customer Pain Points

Legal and compliance teams typically rummage through thousands of documents, messages, and reports to identify relevant information. In fact, most businesses now struggle with the volume of ESI they must manage during eDiscovery. EDRM provides a structured approach to managing this information, helping organizations streamline the eDiscovery process and making it more manageable, saving time and reducing error risk.

Efficient and Cost-effective eDiscovery

It isn’t only major corporations that face regulatory investigation. SMBs do, too, and they often need to hire expensive third parties to manually manage the eDiscovery process. With its structured approach to managing ESI, EDRM helps companies reduce the time and money it takes to complete the process.

Streamlining Data Management

Companies with multiple departments and locations often struggle to manage ESI effectively, leading to inefficiencies and potential data loss. EDRM simplifies data management, providing a standardized method for managing ESI and ensuring all departments and locations follow the same procedures for managing electronic information. It also streamlines data organization and categorization, making it easier to find and retrieve relevant information during eDiscovery.

Improving Regulatory Compliance

Healthcare providers and other medical organizations must comply with HIPAA regulations related to their management of EHRs. Financial institutions must comply with SEC regulations, and retailers must comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) rules related to customer payment information. EDRM helps these and other businesses meet their eDisocvery legal obligatons, providing a structured approach to collecting, preserving, and producing relevant information in way that ensures regulatory requirement compliance.

Using an EDRM can help businesses streamline data management, address customer pain points, and improve regulatory compliance. It can also:

  • Improve security for confidential documents.
  • Enable easier retrieval and archival processes.
  • Reduce storage costs.
  • Encourage interdepartmental collaboration.

EDRM Challenges and Limitations

Implementing an EDRM can be a transformative process, but it sometimes comes with significant limitations and challenges. Potential complexities during implementation and figuring out how to balance privacy and data security concerns are just two of the hurdles organizations must overcome or address if they want to maximize EDRM’s benefits.

  • Implementation challenges include developing and enforcing new policies, procedures, and technologies to manage electronic information effectively. This can be a daunting task, especially for organizations with limited eDiscovery resources or expertise.
  • Balancing privacy and data security requires enterprises to implement robust data protection measures that ensure sensitive information isn’t compromised during the eDiscovery process.
  • Scalability issues must be addressed so EDRM systems and processes can manage a company’s growth and generation of higher data volumes. This can require ongoing investment in technology and infrastructure, which can be costly and resource-intensive.

Other challenges that enterprises must take a proactive approach to addressing include:

  • The need for ongoing training and education.
  • The risk of data breaches and cyber attacks.
  • The potential for legal and regulatory non-compliance.

While there’s no denying that EDRM offers significant benefits, organizations will need to face these and future challenges head-on if they want to get the most out of EDRM while mitigating risks.

Best Practices for EDRM Implementation and Use

Following EDRM best practices is critical to optimizing the eDiscovery process, ensuring efficient ESI management, error reduction, and enhanced compliance.

  • Establish clear policies and procedures. Begin by developing policies and procedures for managing ESI throughout its lifecycle. Include items like defining roles and responsibilities, specifying data retention and disposal policies, and outlining how ESI will be collected, processed, and produced during eDiscovery. This step ensures everyone in the organization understands their responsibilities and the processes involved in managing electronic information, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring legal and regulatory compliance.
  • Educate and train employees. Provide employees with comprehensive training on EDRM principles and practices. Ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities in the eDiscovery process and are aware of the organization's policies and procedures. This training helps to ensure team members can effectively and confidently manage electronic information and maintain compliance.
  • Use technology to streamline the eDiscovery process. Use eDiscovery software that integrates with your EDRM framework to automate tasks such as data collection, processing, and review, thereby reducing the time and resources required for eDiscovery.
  • Implement data security measures. Put robust data security measures into place to protect ESI from unauthorized access and breaches throughout the eDiscovery process. Typical measures include encryption, access controls, and regular audits to ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
  • Continually monitor and update policies. Regularly monitor and update your organization's EDRM policies and procedures to reflect changes in technology, regulations, and best practices. This ensures your eDiscovery processes remain efficient and compliant.
  • Collaborate with legal and IT teams. Foster collaboration between your organization’s legal and IT teams to ensure alignment between legal requirements and technological capabilities. This helps to ensure that eDiscovery processes are efficient, cost-effective, and legally compliant.
  • Conduct routine audits and assessments. Regular audits and evaluations of your eDiscovery processes identify areas for improvement and address any gaps or inefficiencies in your eDiscovery practices.
  • Retain documentation. Maintain detailed documentation of your organization’s eDiscovery processes and practices, including the steps taken and decisions made at each stage. This helps reduce the risk of legal challenges and, in the event of a challenge, demonstrates legal and regulatory compliance.
  • Implement data minimization strategies. Develop strategies that reduce the volume of data that needs to be managed during eDiscovery. This helps reduce costs and streamlines the process, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

It’s also helpful to stay engaged with the EDRM community, ensuring you’re current on the technology’s latest trends and best practices. This can help your organization continuously improve its eDiscovery processes and stay ahead of emerging challenges.

Veritas EDRM Solutions: Making Discovery Fast and Simple

The eDiscovery software landscape has evolved dramatically over the last decade, shifting from a largely task-related model to one that includes powerful analytic capabilities that allow organizations to gain greater insight into data sets much earlier in the eDiscovery process.

The software you choose must be able to integrate or connect with all areas in which your organization’s data might be stored or transferred, including emails, team member communications, and collaboration tools. It should also be easy to use and flexible enough to support your current and future IT environment. Last but not least, it should offer comprehensive client support, including before, during, and after software purchase.

Veritas Alta eDiscovery is a comprehensive, cloud-based eDiscovery software solution that seamlessly integrates the EDRM framework into our products, providing businesses with a structured approach to managing electronic information throughout the eDiscovery process. By incorporating the EDRM framework, our software ensures efficient navigation through eDiscovery’s nine stages, from initial identification to final presentation, providing:

  • A more streamlined eDiscovery workflow.
  • Improved efficiency.
  • Reduced risk of errors and omissions.

Organizations can effectively manage electronic information, preserve relevant data, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements, helping them achieve their compliance goals and ultimately drive success.

Time to Review Your Organization's Strategy?

Veritas offers an integrated portfolio of compliance and governance solutions that consolidate intelligence across data sources to surface relevant information, deliver actionable insights, and reduce the risk of costly regulatory fines. We’re proud to be named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving, as it recognizes our commitment to delivering market-leading, cloud-centric solutions that address data and regulatory complexity for our customers.

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