A legal hold, also referred to as a litigation hold, is the process by which companies instruct their employees to preserve specific data for potential litigation.
Neither an internal employee nor another relevant individual, both referred to as a custodian, can delete, modify, or destroy the data.
The type of data that needs to be preserved generally includes electronically stored information (ESI) as well as printed papers, logbooks, and reports.
Broadly speaking, there are two ways to store data. The first is where data is stored in a primary location, where it can be interacted with by users, processes, and systems. The second is where the primary location is archived, backed up, or replicated to a secondary location in near real time.
The primary location can be thought of as the current working version of the data, showing the data in a "how it is right now" state. The secondary archive location can be thought of as the historical record of the data, showing all the previous versions and copies of all the data; a child site using Archive Only Mode might be used as a secondary archive location. A legal hold can be placed in either the primary or the secondary location.
To apply a legal hold, the target folders should have their Permissions modified so that users cannot delete or modify the contained files and subfolders, and any File Expiration settings should be disabled. If the target folder is being used as the source of a Remote Sync, then the remote sync should be modified so that the After copying action is set to Keep a copy on this site. If the target folder is being used as the source for an Automation that moves files or deletes files, then the Automation should be disabled.
Applying the legal hold to a primary location could be noticed by users, processes, and systems that interact with the data. Applying the legal hold to an archive location is far less likely to be noticed by users, processes, and systems that interact with the primary data.
The legal hold process will typically target both the electronically stored information (ESI) as well as any audit trail logs that show access details.
The files and folders (ESI) in legal hold can be downloaded manually, using the Files.com web interface or any FTP/SFTP client, or programmatically, using the Files.com Command Line (CLI) App, SDKs, or APIs.
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