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3 Ways You Can Leverage Microsoft Office 365's Capabilities for E-Discovery

Created on February 8, 2019

E-Discovery Market Analyst at Exterro

Microsoft Office 365 is everywhere in the enterprise world. With adoption by at least 100 users at over 90% of enterprises, if you're performing e-discovery, chances are you're dealing with Microsoft Office data. Two of Microsoft's enterprise offerings of the Office 365 suite, E3 and E5, include some e-discovery capabilities. Whether you're just using those tools, or you're complementing them with additional e-discovery technology, you should know how to get the most out of them to make your professional life easier. 

Microsoft Office 365 has touchpoints across the entire Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). You're probably familiar with the diagram, but it still remains the best framework for visualizing and understanding the e-discovery process. 


The first and most obvious way to leverage Microsoft's capabilities is during the early, left-hand phases of Identification and Preservation. You want to be able to identify all your appropriate data sources for each of the different custodians involved in a matter. You want to be able to easily scope custodians and even identify custodians that perhaps were off your radar based on the data that's under their control and the relationship they have with your already known custodians. Finally, you want to be create and maintain, update, manage your legal holds distributed. More importantly, when you find responsive or potentially responsive data, you probably want to preserve that information, make sure that there can't be any inadvertent or in the unlikely case of a malicious spoliation.

Early Case Assessment

The next key touchpoint where you can leverage Microsoft's capabilities is during early case assessment. After all, being able to get to the facts of a case quickly--before collection--it yields great savings as well as the ability to make critical case strategy decisions earlier in the litigation process. To be able to go and run your searches and find ESI in place, so that you ultimately collect a far smaller set of data that then would go through review, saves a great deal of cost in the later stages of processing, review, and analysis. 

Collection and Processing

Finally, when you do find that information, you want to be able to click one quick button and do the collection and have the processing done automatically. 

With Microsoft's tools, you can have some ability to perform these tasks--within the world of Office 365 ESI. However, we all know that's not the end of the story. There are other data sources--and other e-discovery tasks--that are necessary. And that's where additional technology can make a world of difference.

Exterro's Microsoft Office 365 Explorer is the leading example of this technology. It enables you to quickly identify very critical information, both from a content perspective as well as a custodian scoping perspective prior to collection. Here are some additional capabilities you can have for e-discovery operations in Microsoft Office 365--if you choose to augment it with additional e-discovery technology.

  1. Quickly Identify Custodian Data Sources: Rather than identifying affiliated data sources individually, collect them into a single overview of all Office 365 sources, including data volumes, email folder structures, OneDrive owned and shared folders, and more.
  2.  Highlight Potentially Relevant Custodians: Leverage correlations in data to already identified custodians to evaluate whether other, additional data custodians exist.
  3. Detect Custodian Relationships Based on Communication Patterns: Explore communication patterns between custodians and others in the organization to determine whether or not they may be custodians--and then add them to a matter or legal hold with a few clicks.
  4. Create and Save Searches: Create complex search scenarios, then save and compare their results to determine your best data strategy.

Find out more about how you can leverage Exterro's Office 365 Explorer in our upcoming webcast series, which covers 6 Important Considerations When Using Office 365 for E-Discovery on February 20th and an Exterro Office 365 Explorer product demonstration on March 7th.