While we were assisting a law firm on the discovery process during a recent legal matter for a large company, something interesting happened. During one of the final custodian interviews, after we had exhaustively detailed the myriad of data sources in play for this matter, we ended the interview with a question that was almost an afterthought: Are there any other sources of data that we haven’t already covered? The custodian said “no,” then after a pause added, “wait – did anyone mention the Google Apps pilot we’ve been running?” No one had, not the CIO nor the legal team nor any of the other custodians. It was far enough outside the normal information ecosystem that no one had thought about it. As it turned out, 30 key custodians were on the pilot, and some of the data was not duplicative with email or any other data source.

This scenario – needing to collect and review data from new apps in order to meet discovery requirements – is likely to be seen more frequently. While some companies have “data scientists” to help uncover hidden treasures in their archives, or at the very least, help map the organization’s data landscape, this is still not common for the vast majority of organizations. As employees migrate to an ever-increasing number of apps, how can legal teams ensure that this data is picked up as part of the usual e-discovery process?