Only time will tell if BP is prepared from an e-discovery and litigation standpoint and its settlement efforts regarding the oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico— and, we are not implying any relationship to or from observations of BP’s readiness to handle a deep water oil spill incident to be a forecast for BP’s ability to meet the e-discovery related requirement’s expressed in a recent article written by Christy Burke, and posted on the Legal IT Professionals website.

However, in citing this article, our team is also offered an opportunity to address the topic of e-discovery, the potential risk it presents especially to small and mid-sized entities, and why it is a topic discussed at all by this website.

Many of our readers have followed past postings of articles about e-discovery on this website, and, some have thanked us for raising this topic as a potential risk for their organizations.  Others have asked the question, “…Why is this a risk, and why should my organization be concerned about it?”

These are great questions and we would like to present our view of answers to those questions.  We also hope that our response to those questions will help our readers better understand how we are trying to support the purpose of this website, i.e. to be “Your Business Continuity Lifeline”.

First of all we believe that the definition of the term “business continuity” has been and continues to be greatly debated in the business community, but, more importantly, has been less recognized as a critical board room agenda item – primarily in the small to mid-sized business categories – than it should be.  So we do try to raise the awareness level of business continuity among our readership.

In an attempt to perhaps over-simplify the issue(s) surrounding the subject of “business continuity” and link the purpose of our website to supporting ongoing business continuity and compliance-related objectives, we present a simple definition of business continuity for your consideration.  That definition can be expressed as, “keeping the “doors of your business” open to satisfy your customers and create value for your shareholders”. 

With those thoughts and that definition in mind, we then assume that any activity or event that potentially or actually threatens the ability for your business to fulfill those goals is an element of risk which must be evaluated, understood in the context of your business, and acted upon to prevent any negative impact or potential disruption of that business. We believe that regulatory requirements surrounding e-discovery, if not fully understood, can be such a potential risk.

From an e-discovery and litigation readiness standpoint, responding to requirements can potentially escalate your organization into an activity that may drain its assets and resources to the point of forcing the “closing of doors” for that business.

We want to assist organizations and give them information that will help them raise their awareness of such risks so that they are ready to mitigate those risks faster, better and cheaper than their competitors.

 We are not trying to create undo concern over this e-discovery issue; however, we do want to raise just enough of a red flag so that organizations keep current on the news and relevancy issues regarding e-discovery and what risks it may or may not present to that organization.

Bringing us back to the title and topic of this article, it seems all but certain that BP is a potential target from an e-discovery and litigation standpoint, and we would hope that BP is fully aware of and prepared to mitigate this risk.

Read more about how e-discovery can become an integral part of the dynamics of the oil spill disaster and recovery efforts by BP, and please share your thoughts and comments, and experiences with e-discovery in order that we may share that with the readership of this website.

Also, please pass this information on to those business continuity and risk assessment team members in your organization.

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