Regulatory Compliance Services for an Ever-Evolving World
Ensuring secure, compliant and efficient information governance.
Information is, in many ways, as much a currency of the modern world as capital itself, especially in the legal arena. Law firms and corporate legal departments that work with Epiq know they must always be able to share it at a moment's notice, even when clients are operating on an enterprise scale across multiple regions, nations or even continents. That wealth of information, and its transferability, does come with a price: It must be kept safe at all costs, particularly in light of the growing prevalency of data breaches and cyberattacks.
There's a tight line here that must be walked: Many records have to be protected not only for the sake of comprehensiveness and posterity but also to meet any relevant compliance requirements. Yet the sheer volume of enterprise-scale data sometimes means deletion is necessary to make room for new data. Epiq boasts 85+ years of combined experience, unparalleled ingenuity and cutting-edge technologies to provide regulatory compliance services that appropriately address the governance, compliance and security challenges faced by today's law firms and corporate legal teams.
Records and Information Management
Epiq's subject matter experts in records and information management offer essential oversight and administrative services that help our clients remain compliant with any applicable regulations pertaining to data retention and governance. But to truly understand what our Certified Records Managers (CRMs), Information Governance Professionals (IGPs) and project managers do, it's important to first understand the bigger picture.
Private-sector organizations have fairly broad discretion over some of the data they store (both on-premise and in the cloud). They can retain or delete it as they see fit. But many of their records are subject to certain requirements that stipulate what information must be retained and for how long: Common examples include the W-2 (which must be stored for at least four years), personal health information under the umbrella of HIPAA (six years) and Form I-9 (three years post-hire or one year post-retention, whichever is later).
Records and information management is arguably more important in the legal realm than within any other area of operations: Corporate law teams never know when a contract document from decades past might have relevance to an active class-action lawsuit. Along similar lines, a law firm specializing in the representation of class-action defendants might never know that a case from 20 years ago might have relevance as precedent — in a way that could significantly bolster the defense strategy — if they were not especially judicious with the retention of archival files.
Epiq helps legal firms and departments navigate the unprecedented challenges surrounding the creation, use, storage and security of highly sensitive client and firm information. Through close collaboration with our clients, we devise strategic plans for records and information management with compliance specifically in mind, to mitigate any penalty risk while also protecting highly sensitive data and streamlining it (through transitions to electronic document management systems and other methods). Our compliance-focused oversight of our customers' records can also help reduce costs and improve their client services. Records management strategies from Epiq encompass everything from thorough contract analysis to thorough document review when required in conjunction with a voluntary remediation program.
Compliance must also be kept top of mind by any organization attempting to implement an information governance plan. Unlike data governance, which is generally the sole responsibility of the IT department, information governance must be cross-disciplinary if the organization's data is to be managed in a truly comprehensive and unified fashion.
Consider this: If a firm's legal and accounting departments use entirely different tools to manage their data and one is using a less up-to-date database than the other, there's a significant chance that records required to meet a given federal regulation could be accidentally lost or destroyed, potentially leading to costly fines or other penalties. By contrast, if Epiq were to assist the firm in administering a robust information governance system and encouraged all units of the business to buy in, everyone would benefit from having more efficiently managed data.
Our governance experts will help you thread the needle of information governance in a way that simultaneously ensures cost-efficient information management and strict compliance with all pertinent laws and standards. By employing cutting-edge proprietary software solutions including eGovern and eNotify, Epiq's IGPs aid legal firms and other organizations in key aspects of information governance:
- Content audit and assessment
- Defensible deletion and disposition
- Selective data migration
- Litigation readiness and legal hold
- Data classification
- Assessment of Microsoft Teams data
- eDiscovery for migration to cloud-based Microsoft 365
Data Compliance, Privacy and Security
Compliance, privacy and security have always been important factors to consider when working to ensure effective data management. But in an era during which cybersecurity incidents have become increasingly common and consumers' concern regarding the privacy of their data (or lack thereof) has skyrocketed, those three considerations became absolutely critical — and that trend is unlikely to reverse itself anytime soon, if at all.
In 2019, private- and public-sector organizations in the U.S. alone experienced more than 1,500 data breaches that led to the exposure of more than 164 million records, much of them containing personally identifiable information. New regulations intended to mitigate the damage done by such breaches through increased protection of personal data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), could well become the norm — but even if they don't, all organizations that handle confidential legal data and don't labor to keep it as secure as possible put their clients at major risk as well as their reputation.
Epiq will work closely alongside your firm to enact a comprehensive data security solution that is in full compliance with the GDPR, CCPA and any other privacy laws that may apply to your data. Key functions include:
- Technology assessment of software and hardware to determine the likelihood of compliance within the GDPR regulatory environment
- Use of eGovern and eNotify to bolster data classification and legal hold operations
- Compliance-focused deployment of Microsoft 365
- Distribution and implementation of proprietary and third-party software to improve eDiscovery capabilities (EMC Kazeon, Exterro Fusion, Veritas Clearwell and others)
- Managed services and support
Data Breach Response
While it is not guaranteed that every organization will experience a data breach of some kind at a certain point, the odds are high enough to necessitate significant precautions. This planning must include contingencies for notifying anyone affected by a breach of your business: The GDPR requires organizations to inform potential breach victims no more than 72 hours after learning of such incidents, and numerous U.S. states are deliberating similar requirements.
Turning to Epiq for your data breach response needs means partnering with the industry leader in swift notification — less than five days guaranteed, with rush service available for situations requiring it (i.e., breaches of GDPR-protected information). We take a managed-services approach to data breach notification, serving as a one-stop-shop for all tasks essential to the consumer-alert process: data acquisition and research, forms, noticing and contact center setup and support.
Even when individuals affected by breaches are promptly informed, a hack can nonetheless result in a negotiated settlement to preclude the judgment of a class-action lawsuit. Epiq can shoulder this administrative burden as well with legal noticing, claims processing and disbursement of any appropriate remedy or compensation.
In cybersecurity, the best cure is prevention — and Epiq's records management and compliance experts are fully on board with working preemptively to minimize the likelihood of a breach. We vet our own security processes according to industry-leading standards, stage mock-breach scenarios to give an impression of the actual experience and build templates and project plans so that clients are forewarned and forearmed to protect their essential records.