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Orange County, CA Sheriff-Coroner and Mimosa Systems form unique partnership

Written by PSIT Staff

The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department is a large, multi-faceted law enforcement agency composed of approximately 4,000 staff members and more than 800 reserve personnel. The department consists of five organizational functions separated into 20 divisions. The core services provided by the department are: public protection, jail operations, technical services, and administrative and support services. In addition to patrolling the unincorporated areas of Orange County, the department has contracts with 12 cities in Orange County for it to serve as those cities’ police departments. It also provides security services for many agencies in Orange County, including the Orange County Superior Court, John Wayne Airport, Orange County Transportation Authority, Social Services Agency and Health Care Agency.

As a very active sheriff’s department for one of the most populous counties in California, the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department must process numerous requests for electronic information in support of internal affairs, court cases, and public and internal investigations. Because much of the department’s communications are performed via e-mail, these eDiscovery requests were putting an increasing strain on the IT administrators who support the department’s Exchange e-mail environment.

Without an e-mail archiving solution in place, the sheriff’s department was performing all of its e-mail discovery manually. A typical request could take as many as 100 man-hours to complete, as researchers would comb through e-mails, line by line, searching for specific words, phrases or content to meet the discovery request. In an effort to eliminate hours of lost productivity, the Orange County department began to evaluate e-mail archiving solutions that would solve the eDiscovery needs of its 4,000-mailbox environment.

“We were using an Outlook search tool that could find e-mails based on a phrase or word, but looking through our server data as well as searching through each employee’s local PST file, custodian by custodian, was taking an exorbitant amount of time,” noted Doug Blackburn, systems programmer analyst, Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department. “Now the eDiscovery search process is reduced substantially. The system looks through multiple accounts at the same time and flags items of interest—all with less IT resources.”

Mimosa Systems™’ NearPoint™ Solution

The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department was introduced to Mimosa NearPoint™ at a local Microsoft® event. The IT staff was impressed by NearPoint’s ease of use and architecture that wouldn’t impact the performance of its Exchange servers.

“The determining factor in our selection of Mimosa Systems™ is that it perfectly helps to simplify our Exchange environment,” Blackburn said. “It doesn’t place any load on the Exchange server, and we only need to back up the archive. This enables us to perform online backups of Exchange without any interruptions, which makes our overall e-mail environment much more efficient and easier to manage.”

Yet what was equally impressive to the sheriff department’s IT team was NearPoint’s ability to automate time-consuming eDiscovery processes while assuring that all critical e-mail data was captured and searchable from the archive. This clearly positioned NearPoint as the ideal solution for the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department as it would instantly improve productivity and eDiscovery accuracy.

Results

As a result of its new e-mail archiving solution, the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department reduced its eDiscovery response time by 70 percent. Also important was the ability for Mimosa NearPoint to meet the department’s eDiscovery needs without adding any impact to the performance of its Exchange server. Because NearPoint doesn’t put any load on the Exchange server, its overall e-mail environment is much healthier.

Key Mimosa NearPoint features of value to the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department include:

Next-generation architecture: Mimosa NearPoint’s unique architecture does not require journaling or any agents on either the Exchange Server or user desktops. This ensures that there is no effect on the sheriff department’s production Exchange Server performance.

Efficient eDiscovery: Mimosa NearPoint has several features that expedite the eDiscovery process by leveraging complete content capture. These features include individual item-level legal holds, conversation and proximity analysis, and an intuitive search within a search—while demonstrating chain of custody as archived content moves through the eDiscovery workflow.

Continuous capture and smart extraction of exchange data: When an eDiscovery or disclosure request is made, Mimosa NearPoint quickly identifies relevant content, including all metadata, e-mails, folders, deletions, calendars, contacts, notes and tasks.

“After finding and implementing the comprehensive e-mail archiving solution from Mimosa, now the eDiscovery search process is reduced substantially. The system looks through multiple accounts at the same time and flags items of interest—all with less manpower,” Blackburn stated.

Published in Public Safety IT, Mar/Apr 2010

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