What factors are driving change in your corporate investigation processes?

Significant increases in the quantity and complexity of information, along with growing compliance and regulatory challenges, are contributing to the need for a faster and more effective approach to managing and conducting investigations.

Let’s take a look at what the new Compliance Week and OpenText™ survey findings, which garnered 200 responses from compliance, legal, internal audit and other professionals around the world, reveal about current investigation activities and what is needed to drive better outcomes.

Investigations and enforcement actions on the rise

Survey respondents indicated that investigations are expected to rise, most notably around employment and HR issues, cybersecurity and data privacy, and regulatory compliance. This is not surprising and is consistent with trends we have been following:

  • Accelerated by the pandemic, the transition to remote work has significantly disrupted traditional working patterns, resulting in a weaker lens into employee data-handling activities and behavior. Cyber attacks have also increased dramatically as the number of endpoints have skyrocketed and remote access vulnerabilities are part of the reality of the new modern workplace.
  • Data privacy reform has also had a large impact. Since the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect, many of the world’s largest countries enacted similar privacy laws. The potential financial and reputational damage associated with violations looms large, especially when security safeguards are inadequate to prevent data loss or breach. As a result, a top investigatory challenge is complying with data-breach notification requirements in which proper incident response is critical to meet stringent deadlines.
  • We are also entering a period of heightened scrutiny by regulators to investigate fraud, false claims and other investigations around misconduct and corruption. Whistleblowers are being encouraged, protected and incentivized more than ever, with some agency programs issuing awards at unprecedented levels.

Data complexity and the use of technology

The benchmarking survey further reveals that:

  • Data collection from new electronically stored information (ESI) sources and collecting data remotely (38% and 39% respectively) are major pain points in managing and conducting investigations.
  • Technology is important in supporting various investigatory functions. Data collection was deemed very important by 74%, followed by eDiscovery (60%), legal hold (58%) and forensic analysis (57%).
  • Despite the need for improved efficiencies and outcomes, less than one-third are using more efficient and accurate techniques, including technology-assisted review (31%) and advanced analytics (30%)–with a vast majority (76%) employing manual review to identify key documents in an investigation.

Leveraging expertise: why outsource?

The survey also indicates that to address the challenges of managing investigations internally, legal and compliance teams are incorporating outside experts to support investigations, with the top area of spend cited as support from professional services/consulting and legal service providers (64%).

Tactics to manage the volume of ESI include leveraging technology-driven analytics and machine learning, combined with the use of an experienced strike team and cross collaboration to capitalize on the value each business function brings to the investigation. By incorporating a strike team that has expertise in unstructured data analytics and a strong understanding of the technology, organizations can quickly and efficiently draw connections to deliver results and insights into the data that reduce time and cost, and help drive case strategy.

How we can help

OpenText helps organizations to grow compliance confidence – providing the legal and compliance community with a diverse and broad range of services and solutions for investigations, including end-to-end eDiscovery solutions, investigations support and data privacy management.

For the full results of the survey, please click here to access the e-book.

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