For mobile data collections, product business leader ‘eagerly waits for the needle to move forward’

Ari Kaplan recently spoke with Monica Harris, Product Manager at Cellebrite, a digital intelligence software company that provides tools to collect, examine, analyze and manage digital data for law enforcement, businesses and service providers.

Ari Kaplan: Tell us about your background and your role at Cellebrite.

Monica Harris: I’ve been in eDiscovery, right side of EDRM, with a technical proficiency in litigation technology, but with a left side orientation, like in collections, processing and governance of information, over the past 15 years. At Cellebrite over the past year, I have had the good fortune to support the innovations the company is developing in mobile and modern data management.

Ari Kaplan: Cellebrite will publish a new report reflecting the perspectives of a cross-section of e-discovery leaders called Changes, Challenges, and Choices in Managing Modern Mobile Collections, Leveraging New Technologies to Improve eDiscovery, on which I had the privilege of collaborating. Can you share some highlights from this report?

Monica Harris: It was great to collect these broad insights from the legal industry. Mobile data collections, for example, are considered by the industry to be complex, requiring people who have years of experience and training. Additionally, for those who receive the collections, there is a need for education to help them interpret the information they receive or what they might request. Technologies are evolving to keep pace with modern data collection, with demands for production or data collection from cloud-based workplace applications, enterprise collection tools or devices mobiles. The review tools themselves are also evolving to transparently present the data collected. Research indicates that modern data collections can be complex, and examining new types of information is just as complex. Finally, employee privacy was at the heart of the analysis, with a particular focus on mobile data collection, the information employees share during on-call interviews and the rules governing collection from personal devices, especially as we have started to see trends in news related to individuals. retain ownership of data outside of traditional sources.

Ari Kaplan: What new developments in remote mobile collections should legal managers be prepared for in 2023?

Monica Harris is a product manager at Cellebrite, a digital intelligence software company.

Monica Harris: Privacy concerns are not going away, and there has been a shift from collecting a wide range of information from traditional data sources to identifying only relevant data. Whether teams are collecting from common sources of employee data, such as Slack or text data on mobile phones, it is now possible to perform targeted collections. Heads of legal departments need to be aware of this in the context of privacy and understand the tools available to perform these tasks effectively. There is also technology increasingly used for early data assessment. At Cellebrite, we seek the tipping point in mobile collections and have specific digital techniques to understand, sample and find relevant details in the process of early data assessment.

Ari Kaplan: How do you see the emergence of the pandemic impacting e-discovery?

Monica Harris: Hybrid work is here to stay. Many companies are operating or planning to implement a permanent hybrid working model. The danger is that if employees or custodians are not in the office, their endpoint data could be anywhere, which could complicate any necessary collection process. This may be easier when searching data sources administered by a company’s IT department, but for mobile devices the impression is that the physical device is needed to find the data; and given that we’ve seen a change in the way we communicate, more information than ever in chat collaboration and cloud-based work apps. Therefore, ensuring that we can access all sources of data, not just the recognized or common ones, is critical to moving forward.

Ari Kaplan: Did anything about this new research surprise you?

Monica Harris: We have seen greater complexity in data collection and review, but research participants are trying to simplify these processes, whether by streamlining some of the complexities of data review or by taking advantage of technology that allows them easily access data anywhere while respecting employee privacy. Also, from top to bottom, leaders expressed similar challenges in mobile data collection.

Ari Kaplan: What specific data management challenges do you think internal professionals will continue to face, and how can they overcome them?

Monica Harris: It’s just a matter of understanding all critical data sources and your approach to information governance, and then ensuring that your collection toolkit can support those sources, such as the ability to collect from mobile devices; from standard sources like Office 365; and work apps, such as Slack and Teams before bringing that data together in a review tool.

Ari Kaplan: What does this research reflect on how professionals are leveraging cutting-edge technology to handle increasingly complex litigation and investigations?

Monica Harris: The research highlighted that the use of some technologies has not yet reached a tipping point due to existing complexities. The technology exists and has simplified the process, but there is a lack of experience in using emerging tools to streamline a team’s efforts. We look forward to the needle advancing in modern data collection over the coming year.


Editor’s note: Cellebrite has engaged advisors to Ari Kaplan to conduct independent research on its behalf into trends in data collection on mobile devices.


Listen to the full interview on Reinventing Professionals.

Ari Kaplan regularly interviews leaders in the legal industry and the broader professional services community to share their insights, highlight transformative changes, and introduce new technologies on his blog and on iTunes.


This column reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of the ABA Journal or the American Bar Association.