Ari Kaplan recently spoke with Monica Harris, a product business manager for Cellebrite, a digital intelligence software company that provides tools to collect, review, analyze and manage digital data for law enforcement agencies, enterprises and providers of services.
Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your background and your role at Cellebrite.
Monica Harris: I have been in e-discovery, on the right side of the EDRM, with technical proficiency in litigation technology, but with a left-side focus, such as in collections, processing and information governance, for the past 15 years. At Cellebrite in the past year, I have been very fortunate to support the innovations that the company is developing in managing mobile and modern data.
Ari Kaplan: Cellebrite will be releasing a new report reflecting the perspectives of a cross-section of leaders in e-discovery called Changes, Challenges and Choices in Managing Modern Mobile Collections, Harnessing New Technology to Enhance e-Discovery, on which I was privileged to collaborate. Can you share some highlights from this report?
Monica Harris: It was great to gather these broad insights from the legal industry. Mobile data collections, for example, are viewed by the industry as complex, needing individuals who have years of experience and education to complete. Also, for those who are receiving the collections, there is a need for education to help them interpret the information they receive or what they might request. Technologies are evolving to keep pace with modern data collection, with requests to produce or collect data from cloud-based workplace apps, enterprise collection tools or mobile devices. The review tools themselves are also evolving to seamlessly present the data that’s being collected. The research indicates that modern data collections can be complex, and reviewing new types of information is similarly complex. Finally, employee privacy was central to the analysis, with a particular emphasis on collecting mobile data, the information that employees share custodial interviews, and the rules governing collection from personal devices, especially since we have begun to see trends in the news related to individuals maintaining possession of data outside of traditional sources.
Ari Kaplan: What new developments in remote mobile collections should law department leaders be prepared to address in 2023?
Monica Harris: Privacy concerns are not going away, and there has been a shift from collecting a broad range of information from traditional sources of data to identifying relevant data only. Whether teams are collecting from common sources of employee data, such as Slack or text data on mobile phones, there is now an ability to conduct targeted collections. Law department leaders should be aware of that in the context of privacy protection and understand the tools available to perform these tasks effectively. There is also technology that is increasing used for early data assessment. At Cellebrite, we are looking for the tipping point in mobile collections and have specific digital techniques to understand, sample and find relevant details in the early data assessment process.
Ari Kaplan: How do you see an emergence from the pandemic impacting e-discovery?
Monica Harris: Hybrid work is here to stay. Many companies are operating under or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model. The danger is that if employees or custodians are not in the office, their endpoint data can be anywhere, which could complicate any necessary collection process. It may be more straightforward when searching data sources that a company’s IT department administers, but for mobile devices, the impression is that the physical device is necessary to find the data; and given that we have seen a shift in how we communicate, more information than ever is in chat collaboration and cloud workplace applications. Therefore, making sure that we can access all sources of data, not just those that are recognized or common, is critical moving forward.
Ari Kaplan: Did anything about this new research surprise you?
Monica Harris: We have seen greater complexity in collection and review, but the research participants are trying to simplify those processes, whether by streamlining some complexities of data review or leveraging technology that allows them to easily access data anywhere in a matter that respects employee privacy. Also, from the top-down, leaders expressed similar challenges in collecting mobile data.
Ari Kaplan: What specific data management challenges do you anticipate in-house professionals continuing to face, and how can they overcome them?
Monica Harris: It is just a matter of understanding all of the critical sources of data and your approach to information governance and then making sure your toolkit for collection can accommodate those sources, such as the ability to collect from mobile devices; from standard sources like Office 365; and from workplace apps, such as Slack and Teams before bringing that data together in a review tool.
Ari Kaplan: What does this research reflect about how professionals are leveraging advanced technology to address increasingly complex litigation and investigation matters?
Monica Harris: The research highlighted that the use of certain technologies has not hit a tipping point just yet because of the existing complexities. The technology exists and has simplified the process, but there is a lack of experience in using the emerging tools to streamline a team’s efforts. We are looking forward to the needle moving forward on modern data collection in the coming year.
Editor’s Note: Cellebrite engaged Ari Kaplan Advisors to conduct independent research related to trends in mobile device data collection on its behalf.
Listen to the complete interview at Reinventing Professionals.
Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and in the broader professional services community to share perspective, highlight transformative change and introduce new technology at his blog and on iTunes.
This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal—or the American Bar Association.