What Is eDiscovery In Security And Compliance In Office 365?

The Security and Compliance area of Office 365 does a bunch of things around securing, managing and auditing the data your organisation has in Office 365, but one area that caught my interest was the eDiscovery options.

eDiscovery is just like email – an electronic version of something that used to be done manually. If you’ve watched shows like Suits, they will show people going through a discovery process by having a room full of boxes, and having to read through all the documents by hand to find whatever smoking gun they’re after.

The ‘e’ in eDiscovery just means that all the data is digitalised (either originally because it’s digital content such as emails or files from computers, or has been scanned to convert the contents from analog to digital) and more importantly, indexed and quickly searchable.

If you were searching for ‘murder’ in an eDiscovery system, you’d put the keyword you want (murder) and point it to the set of data to search against –  just like Windows PCs can index their local data for searching the contents quickly. All documents that contain the word ‘murder’ are presented and can be read through by someone, which makes the manual process of going through a room full of boxes a bit laughable.

This is exactly what Microsoft’s eDiscovery does, with the benefit of already having your existing Office 365 data indexed. This includes all your Exchange Online mailboxes, SharePoint Online sites and OneDrive for Business content.

Microsoft Mechanics have a great demo video on how this works for a keyword search:

Of course the functionality of eDisccovery goes way beyond legal reasons, and the whole Security and Compliance solutions go far beyond the eDiscovery component.

You may also have content you want to search that’s not in Office 365 currently. PSTs can be uploaded then searched against in Exchange Online, or you can upload files to a library (SharePoint or OneDrive for Business) and search against them.

The space and compute power is something you don’t have to worry about (as long as you’ve got enough space in Office 365, which you can buy more of if needed) with this too.

There is a huge amount of documentation online about eDiscovery which will cover a lot of questions and scenarios you may have, but I think it’s best to find some test data and start playing around with it.

I’m learning the basics about eDiscovery myself, but if you’re looking to do a keyword search on a large amount of data, this is worth looking at – and assuming you have Office 365 already, shouldn’t cost you anything to use!