City of Saint Cloud - A NetGovern Case Study
Mailbox Archiving & eDiscovery by NetGovern
The City of St. Cloud, Minnesota, is the largest population center in the state's central region, making it Minnesota's tenth largest city. St. Cloud was named after the city of Saint-Cloud, France, which derived its name from the 6th-century French monk Clodoald. The City of St. Cloud recently moved its on-premise Exchange system to Office 365, deploying SharePoint and migrating from Skype to Teams. Their new Office 365 collaboration system is the primary source of communication for its 600 city employees. The City of St. Cloud first approached NetGovern in 2009 to help with an email migration project from Novell GroupWise to Microsoft Exchange and find a cost-effective solution that would enable the city to facilitate the archiving and discovery of email so that the city would be able to respond to public records requests. The City of St. Cloud has been a dedicated NetGovern client ever since 2009.
Rod Dusek, the Network Engineer at the City of St. Cloud, says the city regularly receives public records requests. After the move to Office 365, Dusek used to respond to public records requests by performing eDiscovery searches using the functionality included with his Office Enterprise E3 license. According to Dusek, “I think Microsoft has an advanced eDiscovery solution but it’s an add-on to my E3 license and very expensive, so I was just using the basic functionality included with my license.” Explaining the process of responding to these requests, Dusek says that once the city receives a request, they perform a preliminary search to ensure there isn’t any risk by responding to the request. If there isn’t a risk, then they determine the costs by looking at the scope of the search, the time required to fulfill the request, and the cost of the media. If the requestor agrees to the price, then the city performs the search and then transfers the data onto media and gives it to the requestor.
Find a solution to help the city respond rapidly to public records requests.
Work with a knowledgeable Support Team who reply to support calls in a timely and efficient manner.
Keep data in a vendor-neutral, immutable format so the city has access to information as needed.
Since implementing NetGovern, the city has seen the time investment in responding to public records requests decrease significantly. Says Dusek, “I like the NetGovern solution a lot. I can perform searches fairly quickly and it’s efficient. When I used the Microsoft solution for eDiscovery, it took me twice as long and sometimes it would produce the report, but sometimes not. It was very challenging. The time to complete the search using the Microsoft tools took much longer than it does with NetGovern.” In addition to using NetGovern eDiscovery, the city also uses NetGovern Archive to perform mailbox archiving to keep their remaining on-premise email manageable. Prior to migrating to Office 365 when the majority of the city’s mail was on-premise, they had a policy that would delete Sent Items after 90 days, so if someone wanted to find a Sent Item they would have to go in the archives to find it. Says Dusek, “We implemented that policy because our data stores were so huge, especially with so many large email attachments.”
The City of St. Cloud also has long-term goals using NetGovern, and intend on taking advantage of the HR and legal training sessions offered by NetGovern. With training, the city plans to empower the legal team to perform searches themselves. Dusek and his team will still create the queries, but then they will pass it off to the legal team to perform the review and audit. From there, the legal team will be able to create their own datasets required to fulfill the public records requests.
Partnership with the League of Minnesota Cities
While the City of St. Cloud handles all public records requests, civil disputes are another matter. Cynthia Kirchoff, the former city attorney, reviews those cases personally, before engaging with the League of Minnesota Cities who handle any requests pertaining to civil disputes, such as lawsuits, on behalf of the City of St. Cloud. Says Cynthia, “If the City of St. Cloud is facing a lawsuit, then I’ll review the data and send it to the League. After receiving the data collection, thanks to NetGovern’s integration with Relativity, the League hands it over to an outside eDiscovery firm to quickly process the data in Relativity. Depending on the caseload and case type, the League will then send the data out to inside or outside counsel for review. The process is seamless.”