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2024 eDiscovery Trends: A permanent shift to chat data and audio files

In a series of blog posts, Arkus looks ahead to 2024 and the key eDiscovery trends expected.

A permanent shift to chat data and audio files
Short message data will soon outweigh that of email

Relativity (an eDiscovery platform provider) predict that in 2024 the amount of short message data (WhatsApp, chat data, Teams, Slack, etc.) hosted in their platform will outweigh that of email. Whilst this would have seemed science fiction only a few years ago, Arkus is seeing this same trend, although for our clients and the UK market, the crossover may be a little longer away.

As the post-covid world becomes set, a known outcome is that the way people work and communicate with each other has been permanently altered. What constitutes a relevant data source is also changing. During the phase of eDiscovery known as data landscaping, which aims to detect data sources to collect, we are seeing more and more variance in the relevant types of data. As our personal and professional lives become increasingly entwined with more complex and novel data types, we will see this impact our industry.

Data is becoming more and more global, with key data centres spread across the globe. For example, Arkus’ furthest collection has been in New Zealand, which is a short Teams call or a long flight from our London HQ. eDiscovery is traditionally spreading West to East with the US being the most mature market, followed by the UK and then followed by other markets such as the remainder of EMEA and APAC regions seeing considerable increasing maturity. Arkus is predicting that the “classic” eDiscovery centres will continue to grow, and we will see other markets grow, particularly the Middle East, followed by regions such as Africa and India.

Data will also evolve to contain more risks. For example, the requirement to preserve integral metadata within individual documents will continue to be more complex, partially because the definition of a ‘document’ will continue to evolve. Consider, for example, the ease of defining what is a Microsoft Word document, against the difficulty and subjectivity of defining what is a document within a multi-year Slack group chat.

“Big data” is a term that has drifted out of current vernacular, having been a buzz word for many years. 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years and every two years this volume doubles. It is therefore often not possible to collect huge swathes of data sources using traditional forensic methods. Arkus predicts an increase of targeted collections using forensically sound methodologies to preserve the integrity and continuity of data.

Project manager Nagaraju Kshirasagar said: “collecting, searching, reviewing, redacting and producing chat data and audio files has become increasingly routine in 2023 and I see no reason for this increase to slow down in 2024”.

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