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What is Your IT Risk Profile?

How many of these questions can you answer?



1. What is metadata?

6. Does opening a file just to see what it is, change it?

2. Describe your current  computer systems architecture.

7. If you produce a printout of an email, can your opponent also require an electronic copy?

3. What is an OST file?


8. What should be done to preserve electronic data?

4. What happens to a computer file when deleted?

9. What kind of preservation letter should be written and when?

5. Is voice mail discoverable?

10. Can you agree to ignore electronic data in a case?


If you need to improve your organization's risk profile, please contact Steve O’Neill at or toll-free 888-766-3455.


  1. Simply, data about data generally hidden from casual computer users and showing some history of the electronic document.

  2. Infinite combinations: E.g., Microsoft Exchange Server for email; Windows Server 2003; Gigabit network.

  3. Microsoft email storage file type.

  4. The deletion removes the pointer to the data location in the FAT (File Allocation Table) but leaves the information in the file intact until it is overwritten.

  5. Yes.

  6. Yes.

  7. Unless agreed to in advance between counsel in litigation, providing printouts in lieu of the electronic data deprives the other side of relevant metadata.

  8. Preservation of electronic data should be started immediately after notice of a duty to preserve arises.

  9. A preservation letter may be sent by either side to a dispute informing the other side of the scope of documents and ESI (Electronically Stored Information) that must be protected from deletion, alteration, loss, overwriting or other actions (intentional or otherwise).  A letter may be sent early as part of a litigation strategy but the letter is likely to be held to trigger a duty to preserve on the part of the sender.

  10. Increasingly at your peril. Even when documents have been printed out and seem to constitute originals, well over 90% of printed documents today were created as ESI.  Prior drafts in electronic form may be relevant to the claims or defenses in a dispute.  Ignoring potentially important evidence can result in a claim of spoliation (destruction) of evidence.