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Ediscovery Moves to Cloud Computing: From “Fad” to “Future”

[This is Part Three of a three-part series. Read Part One here, and Part Two here.]

A year ago, in a blog post predicting what would happen in ediscovery in 2016, @Legal Discovery predicted, “Use of the Cloud will challenge eDiscovery technology providers to offer End-to-End Cloud-ready solutions.” As kCura moves toward integrating with Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform with the release of RelativityOne, it seems that @Legal Discovery can safely move that prediction under the “Accurate” column.

In Part One of this series, we went over why there is a strong push in moving ediscovery to cloud computing. Today, we’re going to share numbers you can’t ignore as a service provider or law firm, and we’ll share advice on how to incorporate the cloud into your future plans.

Cloud traffic is predicted to rise 3.7-fold by 2020, increasing 3.9 zettabytes per year, and database, analytics, and Internet of Things workloads will account for 22% of business workloads. Currently, 31% of American lawyers utilize cloud computing or SaaS (Software as a Service) in their practice. In a survey of 420 law firms, 51% of them planned to increase their adoption of a cloud-based solution in the upcoming year, with 72% of the biggest law firms (700 or more attorneys) expressing the most enthusiasm about moving to the cloud. It’s not just the large firms, 41% of firms with under 50 attorneys had plans to move to cloud computing, as well. With these cloud adoption numbers in mind, it’s clear why cloud-based ediscovery is swiftly moving from “fad” to “future.” IT departments are saving on application and operating costs, overall company productivity and organization efficiency have gone up, and employee mobility and innovation are on the rise (see further reading below). And when four out of five cloud adopters are reporting significant improvements within the first six months, you start planning for change.  

Ricoh, the company known for printers and copiers, moved its ediscovery to cloud computing and has seen that sector grow 20% a year, in addition to reducing its hardware costs by more than 30% when it switched to the Azure cloud platform. David Greetham, Ricoh USA’s Vice President of eDiscovery Operations says, “The faster a legal team can access the data and use analytics to bring the document review pile down to a more manageable size, the faster they can find that ‘needle in the haystack’ that may be pivotal to their case.” Thanks to moving ediscovery to the cloud, retrieving terabytes of data takes a matter of minutes, not weeks, Greetham added. Ricoh can immediately hand over review documents to clients who are in time-sensitive situations, giving them immediate access to the crucial evidence they need. This fast turnaround time is what law firms need to stay on top.

In Part Two of this series, we warned service providers – the middlemen of storing data – about the upcoming effect of losing hosting privileges as they get bypassed for cloud hosting. To help soften this financial blow, they should focus on other offerings, such as:

- Taking advantage of ediscovery platforms offering cloud and on-premises options so law firms have a gentle transition

- Providing project managers to help with the technology

- Offering forensics, managing advanced review and analysis, and consulting

- Equipping their platform with ediscovery tools like Chat eDiscovery by Forexus, our auto-redaction tool Blackout, or Audio Discovery by Nexidia

For law firms looking to dip their toes into cloud computing, articles seem to be coming out daily on what to do and how to do it (see further reading below). Here’s a roundup of the best advice we’ve found:

- Do your research before making a decision – document and define areas of potential cost savings, then evaluate the ediscovery platform first, cloud options second

- Run a pilot on a small project before moving to larger, mission-critical matters

- Check out The New Information Governance Playbook by the Coalition of Technology Resources for Lawyers that kCura shares, and read up on an information governance program

- Check if the cloud service provider has adequate controls and certifications in place to ensure security, disaster recovery, and privacy of your data

- Review the SLAs between you and the cloud service provider to ensure that it contains provisions relating to legal hold, e-discovery, collection, privilege protection, and access to metadata.

However, none of that advice will help if you’re still not convinced of the cloud. So, Milyli’s advice?

- Stop ignoring it

- Start planning your business’s move to (or acceptance of) cloud computing

When it comes to turnaround times on cases, the world is already quickly leaving behind those law firms that are still wary of using legaltech ediscovery tools; it’s going to be impossible to keep up with the firms instantly pulling terabytes of data from the cloud. As it becomes more and more evident that cloud computing isn’t just a fad, but the future of ediscovery, it’s time to make sure your organization – whether you’re a service provider, law firm, or corporation – is prepared.

Further Reading

Advice for moving your ediscovery to the cloud:


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