In today’s digital world, e-discovery is more important than ever before. The process of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information is integral to the modern concept of litigation. It can also be an expensive process, requiring complex technologies. Removing these processes to the cloud reduces expenses and may even produce significant process efficiencies.
Components of e-discovery impacted by cloud technology
As more of our lives take place in digital realms, the importance of clear e-discovery processes grows. Law firms that adopt cloud technologies are better positioned to solve the complex issues involved in the process, compared to those that rely on more traditional processes. The cloud allows law firms to expand their efforts, gaining efficiencies and improving productivity.
But it’s not all about speed. Cloud technology can augment each distinct component of the e-discovery process. First, let’s consider what concepts come under the purview of e-discovery. As noted by the American Bar Association, e-discovery incorporates the following processes:
- Information governance – Policies surrounding the life cycle of electronically stored data.
- Identification – Determining which pieces of data are relevant.
- Preservation – Protecting said data from deletion.
- Collection – Gathering digital evidence for review.
- Processing – Preparing the data for analysis by an attorney.
- Review – Using software such as Computer Assisted Review or Technology Assisted Review to determine which pieces of information are relevant to the case.
- Analysis – Evaluating the digital information for content and context.
- Production – Producing relevant information, in adherence to standard procedures and rules.
- Presentation – Displaying the data during a trial or deposition.
Cloud computing technology is useful because individuals and organizations produce massive volumes of data on a regular basis. All of that information, including relevant metadata, would be a monumental task for anyone. A manual process would grind proceedings to a halt. Cloud technology produces more efficiency while remaining secure.
Advantages of the cloud
Looking at the above list, it’s easy to see that varied processes of e-discovery are neither straightforward nor simple. Even with the help of a computer, an incredible amount of work is necessary to produce reliable results. That’s the first thing cloud computing solves.
Let’s say you were attempting an e-discovery task at your personal computer. Due to the limited amount of RAM, CPU power and storage space, this task would take a long time to complete, eating into your resources. By switching to a cloud solution, you immediately gain access to additional memory and computing power. Best of all, you don’t have to install any bulky hardware at your offices. Considering how fast technology evolves these days, you would have to constantly maintain and upgrade on-site server infrastructure. Not so with the cloud. A cloud provider will scale with you, forever. That way, your team can focus on important work without getting bogged down in technical difficulties.
Another benefit of cloud services is added protection against failed hard drives. Mechanical storage devices have a finite lifespan, and even solid-state drives will break down after thousands of uses. However, if you utilize a cloud solution, you’ll know your data is always preserved. The redundancies inherent in cloud technology mean your information will always be available from any authorized device.
Saving on costs with the cloud
Not only does the cloud offer amazing e-discovery benefits, but it can also be more affordable than an on-site data center. Installing hardware on premises will inevitably lead to costs. Buying hardware and hiring staff to install and maintain it isn’t cheap. In fact, the American Bar Association recently published an analysis explaining the cost differences of utilizing the cloud, compared to on-site servers.
According to ABA, the upfront costs of system installation, which includes the cost of servers, storage and backups, is roughly $372,000. Other ongoing costs, such as the data center location, necessary real estate, IT support staff and e-discovery staff total roughly $1,715,040 over a three-year period. Over that same time, ABA estimated that a cloud service would cost about 36 percent less than an in-house solution.
On top of these savings, law firms can see a number of other intangible benefits, such as the robust technical experience and knowledge that cloud service providers can bring to the table.
Afinety has been helping law firms succeed for many years. The Afinety Cloud Platform utilizes Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s most used and adaptable cloud systems. Visit Afinety.com today to learn more.