When we talk about Holds, we are normally talking about things from a legal standpoint. The most common function of a Hold is to capture and preserve data for an ongoing legal investigation. The two main requirements of a Hold are as follows:1) All relevant information is locked down and cannot be altered by any party

2) Record Disposition cycles are suspended for relevant information until the Hold is complete

Collabware CLM’s Hold feature has always fulfilled these two main requirements in a very strict way. An item on Hold is completely suspended from Disposition, even if it was previously ready for destruction or it is currently undergoing Disposition Approval. This suspension does not lift until the Hold has been completely released, or it has been removed on that specific item. Likewise, an item on Hold cannot be modified in any way. Leveraging our Immutable Record feature, we place a lock, which cannot be bypassed by any user, on items on Hold (including non-records).

These two factors make the Hold feature very powerful and help establish  the ever-important information reliability, security and trustworthiness. However, there were limitations on how far Collabware CLM’s original Hold feature could be applied. Specifically, it was difficult to capture items to a Hold. The options were limited to either manually going to an item in SharePoint and placing it on Hold, or running a very basic search to find items that might fit the legal discovery criteria. While it was effective, it was also cumbersome and highly manual.

In version 2.8 of Collabware CLM, vast improvements were made to Holds, including two noteworthy features: 1. Holds Security 2. Holds Queries and Holds Enhanced Search

1. Holds Security

Holds Security can be easily explained. In older versions of Collabware CLM, an item that was on Hold would include a note in Lifecycle Details displaying both the name and description of the Hold. This was, rightly so, pointed out as a potential security risk, especially with internal investigations. Using our Access Control Level feature, we have included the ability to secure a Hold, limiting it to only those users who are part of any applied Access Control Levels. What this means is that basic users will not be able to see any information regarding the Hold. Of course, they will still notice that they can no longer edit the item, but since we use our Record Immutable feature to lock down the item, they will be used to seeing items locked down.

In the screenshot below, you can see that an Access Control Level dedicated to the Legal Team has been applied to this internal investigation. Multiple Access Control Levels can be added, but once one is added, everyone who is not part of that Access Control Level can no longer see the Hold.

Hold setup
Hold setup

2.Holds Queries and Holds Enhanced Search

Hold Queries use the same enhanced search feature that is available at any time, but with the added benefit of being able to save a Hold Query to continuously run. This is a huge step towards the automation of Holds. Essentially, a Query is defined, saved to the Hold, and will then be automatically run nightly to determine if any items match the Query. If they do, then they are automatically added to the Hold.

As you can see in the screenshot below, this specific Query has been designed to capture any items, both Active and Potential Records, that were touched by the person being investigated. We’ve also narrowed down the Query to only capture those items that have the word “Report” in the title, as this is a relevant piece of information to the investigation.

Query Setup
Query Setup

The Query that has been defined leverages Collabware CLM’s Global Content Query, a feature that is able to search for specific values in specific fields, making it a more precise tool for locating content. This is important especially for Holds, since everything that is captured during a discovery process must be put on Hold and locked down until items have been reviewed for relevance to the case. As mentioned above, this is the same tool that is now available for general searching and placing items on Hold, but it has been extended to capture items that will fulfill the criteria in the future, as well as the present.

The example above is especially relevant because we are not only creating a Query that can capture everything a specific user touched, but also everything that they will touch as well. This solves one of the major issues of the discovery process: ensuring that things are being constantly captured throughout the life of the case.

Hold Items
Hold Items

Here is a sample of some documents that have been automatically captured by the Hold Query. The interface displays when the items were added, as well as who added them. For most of these items, it was the Query, called “Created By”, that added them.

Along with the idea of an automated Hold Query is the concept of marking an item exempt from a Hold. Because the Query runs every night, simply removing an item from that Hold would be ineffective; the Query would add it back on, because it still fulfills the criteria. So for items added to a Hold by a Query, you must mark them exempt from the Hold. This is a common practice for any discovery process. Normally, a wide net is cast when attempting to find information relevant to a case, but in most cases, once the item has been reviewed, there is no relevance and it can be removed from the Hold. The exempt status is designed to facilitate this process. An item will remain on the Hold list as a reviewed item, but is unlocked so users can continue to work on it and disposition can be completed if necessary.

These new features are designed to give the Information Management team more power and control over the Discovery and Holds process. We are especially excited about the prospect of ongoing Hold Queries, which should change the way that you can approach your discovery process.

We hope that this explanation of the new Holds features was helpful. We continue to review and update our central features to provide the best Records and Information Management experience in SharePoint.