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SharePoint Blog

January 22
5 Notable Improvements to eDiscovery in SharePoint 2013

​One of the most improved areas of SharePoint 2013 lies within the eDiscovery capabilities. The SharePoint 2013 eDiscovery capabilities are a great leap forward from SharePoint 2010, which greatly benefited from the addition of FAST Search Capabilities to provide SharePoint with its first real eDiscovery capabilities. With SharePoint 2010, you could place legal holds on entire SharePoint sites, copy eDiscovery search results to a separate repository and of course an API to develop your own eDiscovery capabilities. However, SharePoint 2010 was still fairly limited in that discovery and/or holds were mostly limited to SharePoint and holds were not transparent (i.e. people could see the holds and also could not modify the content).

In SharePoint 2013, these limitations have been addressed as well as other useful tools for using eDiscovery have been included.

1.  New eDiscovery Site Template – In SharePoint 2013 Microsoft introduces a new site template for use by eDiscovery teams. Creating a new case creates a new team site using the eDiscovery site template. Each new site or ‘case’ includes various lists and libraries that can be used by a team performing an investigation.

2.  eDiscovery Search Queries – Because SharePoint 2013 eDiscovery utilizes the much improved enterprise search capabilities of the SharePoint you can expect faster and more accurate queries for review and export.

3.  In-Place Holds – In SharePoint 2013 you can place SharePoint documents, list items and pages on legal hold. You can also place Exchange 2013 mailboxes on legal hold. Unlike SharePoint 2010, this can be done without users becoming aware and allows them to keep working on the content while it is in legal hold status. You can place items on hold at the site/mailbox level as well as locate specific documents in a search query.

4.  Export – In SharePoint 2013 you can export the results from search queries in order to provide the results to external users (which is often required when dealing with litigation). Similar to in-place exported content can be from SharePoint documents, lists, pages and Exchange objects.

5.  Preservation Hold Library – In SharePoint 2013 when a site has an in-place hold applied to it any modified or deleted content will be placed in the Preservation Hold Library. This was implemented to prevent having always export content (and consume unnecessary disk space) when placing a legal hold on a document.

In conclusion, while this is certainly not a ‘best of breed’ eDiscovery solution, Microsoft has made significant improvements to how organizations can locate, place on legal hold and export content in SharePoint 2013 and Exchange 2013. The most notable feature gap remains the ability to search past versions of documents. However, as is the case with many of the capabilities of SharePoint, functionality gaps like this that can be addressed by custom programming using the API or via 3rd Party tools.

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