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How to Prevent Over-Preservation of Data

In an era of seemingly limitless cloud storage and complex legal preservation requirements, organizations do not face the same incentives to defensively delete data as when file cabinets were overflowing with paper. UnitedLex helps organizations analyze and disposition legacy data sources where it can be unclear which documents still need to be preserved for legal.

It’s easy for data to pile up

Technology has made it easy for companies to accumulate and store large volumes of data, resulting in the risk of over-preservation. To clean-up one set of legacy data, a leading financial organization engaged UnitedLex to analyze data from 29 hard drives stored in facilities across the world.  These drives had over 5.8 million files, and the contents were unknown due to poor cataloging and labeling.  Without robust tracking or budget for a manual review, the client was seeking a defensible way to understand what data was contained on these drives and compare it to active legal hold information.

Tailored solutions to reduce data burdens

Starting with the drive metadata in one hand and active legal hold notices in another, UnitedLex performed a Prevent Over-Preservation (POP) analysis to determine which records were potentially related to active legal holds and should be preserved, and which were otherwise eligible for deletion.

Our custom methodology included carefully crafted search strings, which we analyzed across the drive metadata, to determine relevance to active legal holds. This iterative approach, in collaboration with internal counsel, concluded that only 11% of the data should be preserved and classified the rest as eligible for deletion.

Impact measured across the business

From our report and recommendations, the client was empowered to reduce its IT storage costs, lower the legal risk of over-preserving data, and had a defensible framework to avoid
future data pile ups.


Preserving too much data can be as harmful as preserving too little. Storing data indefinitely can lead to unnecessary costs and legal liability.


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