Charles Weeden, Managing Partner,As the regulatory environment continues to change faster than ever, elevated business complexity and focus on accountability have led enterprises to step up their compliance initiatives across the organization. Compliance teams are monitoring corporate activities and attempting to find legal, HR, or regulatory issues before they become either an external enforcement matter or legal matter. To do that, departments are implementing creative and proactive approaches to anticipate potential risks or problem areas. At a time when risks are interdependent, and controls are shared, these initiatives are often unorganized and uncoordinated in the wake of departmental silos. Organizations need to go beyond this silo mentality and break down these barriers to communicate a unified vision for compliance processes, audits, internal investigations, regulatory investigations, and legal eDiscovery.
Even though an organization may have collected the right information for compliance regulations, in many cases, legal departments want to re-collect content to bring into their eDiscovery system. To justify the re-collection, legal departments may claim the metadata associated with the compliance archive is not sufficient or lacks an effective ‘chain of custody’ for archived information. An effective discussion between compliance, legal, and IT teams during the implementation of an archival system will find solutions for these issues and greatly simplify and reduce the cost of eDiscovery collection. In order to streamline compliance efforts, companies require the right archival platform and capture technologies to enable easier access to monitoring tools and cost-effective analysis for early case assessments.
Enter 17a-4 LLC. An NY-based legal and compliance consulting company, 17a- 4 specializes in compliance software and services with a sharp focus on building integrated systems to meet the regulatory and eDiscovery requirements of financial and healthcare institutions and to state and local governments. The company assists these organizations in ensuring an information infrastructure that adheres to SEC and other financial and privacy regulations and to eDiscovery industry best practices. 17a-4 bridges compliance, legal and IT teams with its comprehensive compliance solutions and services, guiding them to adopt best practices in the way they archive regulated content—including email, instant messaging, data streams, trading platforms, websites, social media and databases—and help create effective retention, review, supervision and disposition policies. “We help organizations build ‘defensibility’ for matters with a regulator or an opposing party. Missing emails or metadata in a production undermines your evidence in the court. We follow a methodology to bring legal, compliance, and IT teams together so that there is a plan in place, enabling the IT team to capture the content and the legal team to produce the content if called upon,” says Charles Weeden, Managing Partner, 17a-4 LLC.
17a-4’s history of helping financial institutions respond quickly and cost-effectively to the regulatory inquiry has built a set of software and ‘best practices’ for any organization needing to proactively address compliance matters.
We provide the expertise and methodologies to bring legal, compliance and IT teams together so that there is a plan enabling the IT team to capture the content and the legal team to produce the necessary evidence if called upon
In doing so, as a part of its legal and compliance services, 17a-4 looks at the types of messaging and collaboration content that the clients use, and ensures that all messaging and collaborative content is archived and easily searchable by compliance or legal officer. It is critical to identify the platforms—be they Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Symphony, Cisco WebEx, Slack, Quip or others—and capture and monitor that content. Meanwhile, the company also ensures that the client knows in and out about the metadata content and required ‘chain of custody’ necessary in the archiving process to be used as evidence in a legal matter. The end product is a master document applying to all types of compliance content. 17a-4 also helps the client decide on the select group of management that can capture, change, or access this master document.
From the software standpoint, 17a-4 has developed the DataParser—a middleware solution for messaging compliance— for clients who need to capture compliance content. DataParser captures and formats content from both the compliance and collaboration platforms, such as Bloomberg, Cisco Jabber, SharePoint, and more and formats and manages the data ingestion into the institutional archive, Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google’s G Suite. With a modular design that supports and collects various forms of regulated content for compliance with U.S., EU and other regulations, DataParser has around 40 interfaces for capturing content. Designed to integrate easily with any existing infrastructure, DataParser can run multiple configurations for more complex environments. Working with legal teams, 17a-4 successfully archives all the information that a legal team requires for responding to any litigation by providing the necessary ‘chain of custody’ information. Additionally, 17a-4’s DataParser tools that can confirm the integrity of a particular document to the opposing counsel. In a nutshell, DataParser acts as a single point in which e-messaging and collaborative content can be managed for legal and regulatory holds, retention policy, and eDiscovery productions.
“In the past 5 years,” informs Mr. Weeden, “we have seen the emergence of archiving and eDiscovery platforms that truly now provide an institution with the capabilities to integrate the compliance and legal teams and to bring a new level of efficiency to both compliance functionality land eDiscovery.”