Examining Backup Tape Discovery
Several years ago, backup tapes were viewed as costly and burdensome due to their incredibly slow restoration process and the difficulty with which data was accessed. Today, we're seeing law firms and corporations increasingly recognize the value of data stored on backup tapes and the ease with which data can be extracted. In fact, the January 2011 issue of Litigation Support Today reported that "a systematic review of court documents shows that over the last ten years, the use of backup tapes for the production of ESI has increased significantly." This is largely due to the improvement of discovery software and the tools that can now be used to extract and restore selective files rather than having to deal with the totality of data on a tape. To give you an idea, we've seen four different tape projects come across our desks in the past 30 days from various law firms and corporations for purposes of extracting specific custodian mailboxes. But probably the most important role that we play in tape discovery happens after data has been restored and extracted into a mailbox container. Because individual PSTs that are extracted from tapes can often contain thousands of emails per custodian, culling has become an important part of the process. Many of the tools behind processing platforms are actually derived from forensic tools, so clients can avoid unnecessary ingestion costs into a processing environment while indexing, de-duplicating and running keywords or date ranges on their data. With new discovery technology and culling techniques in mind, one can clearly see that the burdensome argument no longer holds water.