The following is a brief overview of an article by Gilbert S. Keteltas and James A. Sherer, “Key COVID-19 Considerations for U.S. Discovery and Information Governance,” posted in Information Governance

Many businesses have remote work and bring-your-own-device policies that address access to company systems and information from personal devices. These policies may also state expectations or requirements for the management and security of company information. But these policies likely do not account for the rapid transition to virtual offices and remote work accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other challenges:

  • Segments of the workforce may be first-time teleworkers.
  • Remote workers may not know or understand applicable policies and practices, and advanced training may be impractical.
  • The rapid move to remote work may rely on a greater variety of devices, including home devices. And in many cases, employee-owned or even company-issued devices may be shared with multiple users in the home (for example, students taking classes online).
  • Furloughs and workforce reductions in quarantine times may complicate onboarding and off-boarding where legal holds are in place or triggered during the pandemic.

Please read the entire blog, where they provide some concise guidance to help you think through the information governance and discovery challenges of unexpected large-scale remote access. 

Keep in mind that achieving perfection is neither possible nor required. And when things inevitably fall through the cracks, document those issues. The involved parties and courts will understand, either at the outset or in the face of good advocacy, that “reasonable” information governance activities and discovery responses in the time of COVID-19 differ from what passed for reasonable efforts in the pre-pandemic world.

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