Leveraging Cloud-Based Delivery Capabilities for DIY E-Discovery


Leveraging Cloud-Based Delivery Capabilities for DIY E-Discovery

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By Kroll Ontrack

Today, e-discovery law and practices are in a continuous state of flux, which underscores the need for corporations and law firms to continually evolve in order to meet their ever-changing ESI obligations. IDC’s Vivian Tero recently published a white paper sponsored by Kroll Ontrack, “Leveraging Cloud-Based Delivery Capabilities for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) eDiscovery,” which highlights this very fact, and explains that there are several factors currently driving change in e-discovery.

Factors Contributing to the Changing E-Discovery Landscape

Most noticeably, there exists aggressive growth in the volume of data that litigants must preserve, collect, analyze, and review. Specifically, Tero points to an increase in the proportion of litigants with large matters that average at least 2.5TB per matter, as the figure below illustrates. Given this growth in data volume, organizations must have flexible e-discovery systems in place that allow them to easily scale up or down, according to the size of different matters, and that allow them to strike the right balance between over-preservation and defensible legal disposition.

Average ESI Volume Collected per Matter

Further, as Tero indicates, several other factors contribute to the changing legal landscape of e-discovery. For example, an increasing number of organizations are insourcing one or more aspects of e-discovery, especially in the areas of identification, preservation, collection, processing, and first-pass review. Also, the number of e-discovery court decisions is growing quickly, as the number of decisions during early 2011 increased 82% over the number of decisions from the previous year. Introduction of new technologies into the corporate infrastructure is also bringing about the necessity for decision-makers to constantly reevaluate e-discovery laws and regulations.

Approaches to Manage Change by Automating E-Discovery

IDC’s Tero underscores different approaches by which an organization can respond to changes in e-discovery by automating core e-discovery processes end to end. The first approach is the “single-vendor platform approach.” In this approach, an organization chooses which stages of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (“EDRM”) to conduct internally, depending on the nature of each matter, and employs a single provider to handle the remaining stages of the EDRM with services and/or software.  This approach streamlines e-discovery activities and reduces e-discovery costs.

The second approach is the “multivendor, multiplatform hybrid approach,” currently used by nearly 65% of organizations. An organization typically supports multiple archival and content management systems, as well as multiple geographically distributed IT organizations with complex data segregation mandates. The organization may internally conduct certain stages of the EDRM, depending on the matter, but various vendors and tools complete other stages. This approach creates a multifaceted, often inefficient, e-discovery management system.  The majority of these multivendor e-discovery architectures are the outcomes of business and IT organizational developments such as mergers and acquisitions, changes in IT strategies, and siloed and reactive purchases of ad hoc technologies.

Selecting the Appropriate E-Discovery Infrastructure

As Tero notes, given the myriad of available e-discovery options, organizations should scrutinize their options carefully – looking at e-discovery services, on-premise software, and cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. Selection of the appropriate approach is influenced by many factors, including the organization’s litigation profile, the organization’s existing IT capability, long-term IT architecture strategy, as well as the business and technical attitudes of the outside provider.

At the end of the day, organizations need to engage in a strategic assessment of their needs and resources, given this constantly evolving landscape. Organizations should consider leveraging infrastructure and processes to efficiently conduct information and document management, meet preservation requirements and discovery deadlines, and ensure data security and chain-of-custody documentation. This means possibly utilizing cloud or SaaS-based DIY e-discovery technologies in addition to service providers for e-discovery obligations. Engaging in DIY e-discovery may be new to many organizations, but this option should be fully considered by organizations amid the changing market.

This article was originally posted on Kroll Ontrack

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