Tell us about yourself?
I started my eDiscovery career in 2010. Over the course of 10 years, I have put on many hats including - programmer, production specialist, data analyst, quality control specialist, review manager, and eDiscovery project manager. I have been fortunate to work on projects within different regions like India, USA, UK, UAE and Australia. These diverse opportunities helped me to learn and adapt to different cultures, lifestyles and most importantly work with the most brilliant minds in the industry. I finally settled in Sydney last year with my wife and 5-year-old daughter, just before the global pandemic. I am now part of the Clayton Utz FTS practice group, where I am having great time managing projects, streamlining processes, training clients and peers.
When I am not working, you will usually find me playing with my daughter, listening to audiobooks, meditating on a riverside or a top of a mountain.
What led you into the world of Information Governance (IG)?
Primarily, I work on managing electronic discovery projects by implementing data culling techniques and designing review workflows for regulatory, investigation and litigation matters. Most of the underlying data issues that I have seen so far during document review lead me back to the organisation’s IT data governance and record and archival system failures. When legal teams do not involve forensic or eDiscovery specialists during the initial data scoping exercise or skip data scoping exercises altogether it leads to last-minute collection sweeps, which blow budgets and create ongoing inefficiencies during document review. This motivated me to learn more about email archival systems and data governance frameworks to better help clients by identifying these issues in the early stages of collections and better assist them by designing efficient reviewer accelerator workflows.
What pressures are organisations facing to ensure IG best practices?
I believe the biggest move for most organisations has been migration from the exchange server to O365. Most organisations have done this by deploying the tools like O365 cloud emails, business enterprise instant messages and collaborative tools. However, the biggest challenge now is making sure they have the right team, that is the specialised IT team who can own and maintain these systems and to make sure these are all discovery ready. What we are seeing right now is that most of IT professionals do a great job with application maintenance, system upgrades and security patches, but very few understand the need for the data to be archived or maintained in a way that it can be readily discoverable when the organisation becomes involved in litigation. To efficiently do this, we need more information governance professionals with the right skills to ensure this is done.
What are the biggest developments you have seen in the IG?
I think especially in the past 5 years, changes in privacy laws, such as the GDPR and CCPA have been major drivers for organisations to implement better data and information governance. This is because effective information governance is the best way for the organisations to ensure they meet all of their legal compliance requirements. The requirement to be complaint means there is increasing awareness that organisation’s need to implement appropriate policies, processes and procedures to manage information at the enterprise level.
Do you have any tips for someone starting out in IG?
I do not see myself as an IG guru but an IG enthusiast, so I am always curious to learn more about best information governance practices. There are many helpful resources out there but one simple and most efficient thing I do to keep myself up to date is attending InfoGovANZ webinars and newsletters. There is always a lot of valuable content and great insights from the experts shared in these venues.
With the rapidly evolving technologies and digital disruption, where do you see IG heading in the next few years?
If we look back 10 years, responding to regulatory investigation requests and litigation discovery orders was 100% reactive. Thanks to global privacy laws like the GDPR we have seen a more structured approach to managing data and information at the enterprise level.
Organisations are also facing legal, regulatory and compliance pressures that demand the data overload be addressed proactively to directly meet business objectives beforehand. The focus has moved from what information repositories can functionally do, to an overarching strategy to govern data and information. A solid information governance program provides accurate, consistent information controls that deliver the right information at the right time. From my perspective, it is most important that organisations be proactive and ready for discovery. Therefore, I am positive that more organisations will set up enterprise-wide information governance programs, which will also include tools including advanced eDiscovery tools, which will perform targeted searches and accelerate the collection process and cut down discovery turnaround times.
Why it is important to be a member of InfoGovANZ?
It is not easy to keep yourself up to date with rapidly changing technology and policies. As I have mentioned earlier being a member of InfoGovANZ, participating in their events, attending their MeetnGreet virtual events is a great way to expand your professional network, learn from the IG experts and most importantly stay current.