Every corporation, no matter the size or industry it operates in, is faced with a series of data compliance and privacy challenges that threaten their business goals. In an increasingly complex world, the sheer volume of data is growing exponentially every year. It is estimated that the entire digital universe will reach a mind-boggling 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes, by 2025. As data growth accelerates at an unprecedented pace, businesses face the unenviable task of managing and controlling this data stockpile. And the mounting pressures for businesses to provide immediate expedited service virtually increased daily.
This is compounded by the nature of much of the data. Some traditional sources are ‘structured’ – such as databases and spreadsheets– and the content is indexed and therefore easily retrievable. However, more and more information is ‘unstructured’, including social media posts, images, text and video from a range of sources including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp, as well as voice messages and instant messages.
With many corporations embracing collaborative communications tools and enterprise networks such as Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Yammer and Microsoft Teams (that are also now being demanded by the customer base), a massive amount of unstructured data is hidden from sight. According to Forbes, roughly 80% of the world’s data is unstructured. Businesses are only able to gain visibility into a small portion of that data and understanding what is contained within an organisation’s data is much more difficult and time-consuming.
Companies now have the burden to store, organize and manage these new collaborative tools and the data resulting from these communications. There is no guide on how to collect, store and manage these new sources. And we have new innovative technology solutions being offered to businesses that have the burden to deploy the software immediately without the proper vetting on how this data will be managed.
Amidst this new age of unstructured data, the regulatory requirements keep escalating – causing information governance to rise to the top of businesses’ strategic priorities. Companies face an ever-changing regulatory landscape and are having to comply with increased governmental, financial and industry regulations across multiple jurisdictions. This month marks the second anniversary of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force and businesses are faced with a stark choice: manage your modern data governance challenges or risk non-compliance fines and reputational damage.
As businesses struggle to navigate the difficult terrain of their data infrastructure, the implications are profound. In order to ensure compliance, additional time, resource and budget are spent keeping up with what data is stored where, before more importantly trying to establish the contents of the data, and whether it has any value or serves any purpose in potential litigation matters or regulatory investigations.
Given how relevant communications trails are to legal proceedings, in-house legal teams face an extremely labour-intensive and costly process of data collection, review and analysis. Furthermore, even if this data is visible, end-to-end data control and the ability to act on the data has traditionally been very difficult. The cost of manual compliance in terms of time, human error and budget is too high.
There has never been a greater need for advanced modern technology solutions that respond to the paradigm shift in data growth and new data sources, enabling corporations to fully harness their data at every step of the discovery process. To help put businesses at a better strategic advantage and address these ever-increasing data concerns, we’re delighted at FRA to be working in partnership with various technology companies to offer AI technologies and other solutions, across Europe.
One of those products is 4iG, an AI-based, patented information governance platform designed to empower legal teams and law firms to proceed with critical data collection and early case assessments. Its innovative remote collection capabilities involve identifying the relevant data from multiple structured and unstructured data sources simultaneously, including File Share, Office365, G-Suite, and SharePoint, and presenting actionable intelligence in just a matter of hours. Rather than exporting data from the native environment, processing and then applying searches, with 4iG we can identify data and provide in-demand, instant reporting of data sets.
This real-time insight and access to documents gives users the opportunity to learn and understand their data immediately, providing valuable strategic advantage for organisations during regulatory investigations. The seamless export of review-ready data to standard platforms, such as Relativity, and in-depth reporting for audit diligence provide an unprecedented level of visibility.
Compared to a manual or traditional linear review of documents, we now have products that have significantly enhanced efficiency and speed. As well as dramatic time and cost savings, one of the key benefits of AI based technologies is risk mitigation. These technologies can easily categorise, encrypt, redact, or delete documents on a mass scale. For example, one of these products FRA offers is 4iG that can automatically redact any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or other search terms in the collection of data from its source, before the data is exported. This first kind of capability is transformational for organisations to operationalise compliance with GDPR as well as other data privacy and compliance regulations, including cross-border data transfers.
4iG and these types of products are a welcome addition to the FRA Technology Toolkit and will deliver repeatable and defensible solutions, enabling our clients to focus on their core business.
As the world faces enormous economic pressures post COVID-19, comparable to the Great Depression, businesses will be looking at self-help and control measures to address their cost base and the use of technology will be key to providing efficiencies. AI-based solutions such as 4iG will be integral to the way in which companies approach investigations and compliance requirements.