Email Discovery as Electronic Evidence


In today’s legal discovery world, electronically stored information requires special attention in litigation. The recent emphasis on producing electronically stored information requires an e-discovery team to apply legal principles to information technology. But electronically stored information in some cases drive them out of business, especially in companies as they are unaware to find electronically stored information, especially Email and associated attachments. Most email discovery efforts relate to the collection and review of Email as they remain one of the highest risk areas.

Email is most popularly used by all the people for communication of personal or business related matters. Currently more than 1000 million Email accounts are in use Worldwide, with an average of more than 4 Email accounts per person. With the Email accounts, all your incoming, saved, and sent mail is stored on a mail server with in IMAP folders. As we know we all rely on Email to operate our businesses in our personal lives, it is important to take preventive measures to avoid the ultimate disaster of unrecoverable Email.

The message index in the Email s lists the messages and is stored as entries in a database associated with the file structure. When you delete mail messages the attachments of the deleted file are also deleted as well. How ever you can restore them as they are only moved to a special deleted message folder called Trash folder, like the files in Recycle bin. These deleted Email s still remain on a computer hard drive, servers or retained on back-up tapes.

After deleting the Email from the folder, it reduces the size of the database file by eliminating this vacant space. Once they get deleted they restore it in the trash folder, which can be easily retrieved. These files are not removed from an index of the files, they just move to the trash directory and the space is considered to be available for writing new data.

But if an Email in the trash folder is deleted again then it is no longer indexed and no longer readily accessible. But these files are not truly deleted; they still exist on your hard drive. These deleted files have not been erased, but in most of the cases they can be easily retrieved. To retrieve the data from the trash files, forensic examination is required to locate and retrieve them. In some circumstances, these mails may be impossible to retrieve from the server, hard drive or pc because they have been overwritten by other files.

Even if your Email is completely lost, then these mail recovery tools are used to scan the entire hard disk, locate and recovers the deleted Email and also repairs the database if it is corrupted.

Imagine your Email database deleted or the file system corrupted. If that happens, you would need an undelete tool to get the files back. Though the database becomes corrupted, the data content may still exist, but the structure of the file may be wrong such that the mail cannot list the messages. Then you need to use email discovery tools typically to scan your hard disk and list a whole bunch of files with damaged, crippled file names.

As different mail programs store data in different formats like word, Excel, csv, pdfs etc, you must use a data recovery tool that supports the mail software you are using. For Outlook Express or Windows Mail, Mail Recovery is effective and easy to use, For Microsoft outlook files to recover, you need Outlook recovery, and for Mozilla thunderbird mail folders you can recover by using a text editor as they are plain text files.

To avoid severe legal sanctions, you need an easy way to search for relevant Email in order to quickly meet legal discovery requests. In fact, an effective Email discovery solution can help mitigate these legal risks. www.Datatriage.com is one of the leading experts in the field of email discovery, which restores electronically stored information in Email and associated attachments.

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