Hybrid Working – Should Businesses Be Wary Of Losing Important Evidence/Corporate Communication Records?

Providenciales, The Turks and Caicos Islands – In the recent IR Global, ACC [Associate of Corporate Counsel] publication, Exploring a Hybrid Future: Adapting business models to succeed in the new normal, GrahamThompson Partner Tony Gruchot and Practice Manager, Legal Services Claire McAvinchey, answer a few key questions. In this excerpt they address how hybrid working has raised concerns about losing evidence/corporate communication records.

Should businesses be wary of losing important evidence/corporate communication records in a shift to hybrid working? What steps can they take to protect themselves? 

Should Businesses be Wary?

It is imperative in the legal field that all possible steps are taken to ensure evidence of all kinds is not lost. This is particularly important in corporate litigation in which the evidence is invariably document heavy.

Corporate client disclosure obligations in litigation are wide-reaching and loss of information could be catastrophic to a client’s case. The disclosure obligation extends to all evidence/corporate communications that are or were in a client’s possession, power or control. Disclosure is a time-consuming step in litigation matters and both clients and their representatives need to ensure the system of document retention/recording of communications is maintained during the shift to hybrid working.

If not maintained in a central/easily accessible location, a party may fall foul of these extensive obligations.

Further, from the point of view of assessing the strength/weakness of any case it is important for the corporate client and its advisors to have access to all relevant documents/communications.

Hybrid working is susceptible to security concerns when staff are operating outside of the entity’s networks. Cyber-security risks and exposure to the hacking of sensitive data is increasing and moving away from a central location to a more hybrid work environment increases the risk that key information will be lost along the way. That loss can amount to either a total loss of the information i.e. it is irretrievable or an intellectual loss in that confidential information gets into the hand of persons not entitled to the same.

Download a pdf copy of their full article here Exploring a Hybrid Future, Disputes – Turks and Caicos Islands.

What Steps can Businesses Take to Protect Themselves?

Steps that can be taken to mitigate these risks include ensuring all physical documentation is backed up electronically. An implementation of an organised document management system which can be accessed remotely, will help identify and potential breach.

Corporations should ensure adequate server security with sufficient malware protection and ensure all staff members are regularly trained in the remote working protocols and that they adhere to security policies.

We would encourage corporations to seek advice on how best to manage documents, particularly when matters are becoming or have the potential to become contentious.

In the publication Tony and Claire also address two other critical questions:

  1. What are the most common working from home/hybrid working pitfalls businesses need to be aware of when involved in our exploring disputes today?
  2. Is hybrid working likely to increase employment disputes in the future, and what should businesses do now to prepare for this?

A pdf copy of their full article may be downloaded here Exploring a Hybrid Future, Disputes – Turks and Caicos Islands.

The publication explores hybrid working questions and issues in a number of practice areas in addition to Disputes. The publication includes chapters on Employment, Commercial, Accountancy & Corporate Services, Insolvency and Transactional. Covering perspectives from several countries and jurisdictions around the world. You may follow this link Exploring a Hybrid Future: Adapting business models to succeed in the new normal to download a pdf copy of the complete publication.

Tony Gruchot is a Partner in the firm’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group. Claire McAvinchey is an Irish qualified solicitor and Practice Manager, Legal Services. Both attorneys are based in the firm’s Turks and Caicos Islands office.