"Federal guidelines on the gathering of evidence by attorneys were amended in 2006 to account for the explosion of electronically stored information (ESI). But, Hathaway said, many companies have been slow to change their internal policies accordingly.
He said that according to one poll, one-third of executives said their company didn’t have a policy on ESI. Twenty percent didn’t know if their company had a policy or not.
Companies regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission need to keep electronic data such as e-mails for three years. Other companies can establish policies of their choosing.
Ziff said companies need to track and access all their ESI, a process which has become much more complicated in recent years. Data can be stored on employees’ home computers, office desktops, laptops, PDAs, BlackBerries, memory sticks and other devices."