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eDiscovery is the process of collecting, managing, and preparing electronically stored information (ESI) for use in court. Law firms and legal teams are facing a rising challenge with eDiscovery because it can be highly resource-intensive, requiring multiple staff members and heavy information technology investments. As such, a growing number of firms and corporations are choosing to leverage cloud-based, fully managed eDiscovery technologies that streamline the process end-to-end.
With this in mind, keep reading to learn more about what eDiscovery entails, why it’s important, and the benefits of using a managed services model.
Why Is eDiscovery Important?
Law firms and legal departments don’t have a choice when it comes to eDiscovery compliance. Now, it’s a federal requirement that most state and local courts also mandate, by following federal models.
Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) lay the groundwork for the modern eDiscovery system. Amendments to these rules first came out in 2006, with two subsequent updates since then.
In short, the initial FRCP amendments reclassify discoverable material to include electronically stored information. What’s more, the amendments also set new rules governing how legal teams can access, provide, and preserve ESI during court cases.
The Stages of eDiscovery
Most organizations and courts now follow the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), which includes the following steps.
1. Information Governance
This involves forming a strategy for managing data end to end in order to protect information and control costs.
At the identification stage, teams locate potential sources of ESI. It’s also necessary to determine the overall volume of information and name custodians.
Here, all parties need to take measures to prevent anyone from destroying or compromising ESI during litigation.
Next, teams must collect information in a way that avoids tampering with digital evidence.
At this point, teams need to then convert ESI into an acceptable format for analysis.
During the review stage, attorneys sort through ESI and determine what they want to use in court.
At this point, teams need to analyze the documents for relevant content, people, and topics.
In the production stage, every stakeholder that is a party to the litigation suit receives the ESI.
The last stage involves presenting information at a deposition or in court to either aid in a case or refute an accusation.
As you can see, this is a long process. But in the digital age, where more and more data emerges every day, it’s an increasingly critical one.
The Benefits of eDiscovery Managed Services
Organizations may not have a choice about eDiscovery compliance. That said, they do have a choice when it comes to eDiscovery strategy.
A growing number of organizations are now leveraging managed eDiscovery services and deploying platforms and services that vendors fully host and administer in the cloud.
Here are the benefits that come with using eDiscovery managed services.
Companies that leverage managed eDiscovery solutions don’t have to worry about deploying software to distributed end users in remote or hybrid environments. Services are easily administered through the cloud. This, in turn, allows for rapid and seamless deployments to end users.
Most law firms and legal teams are operating on tight budgets these days. To this end, many are seeking flexible and cost-effective technologies to streamline daily processes. By using managed eDiscovery solutions, teams can license what they need, when they need it—without any binding license agreements.
Another thing to think about is the availability of the software itself. The eDiscovery process moves very quickly. Legal teams are under enormous pressure to meet deadlines and keep cases moving forward.
As such, there is no time for unplanned eDiscovery system downtime. Simply put, performance issues can lead to costly delays. Additionally, court officials typically have little patience for IT failures when requesting information during a case.
Using a managed service provider comes with service-level agreement guarantees for maximum uptime and reliability. This gives legal professionals peace of mind and lets them focus more on the case itself.
Law firms and legal departments often contain troves of sensitive and highly valuable information. As such, this makes them top targets for cybercriminals. However, combating cybercrime is a full-time job, and most teams lack the resources to ensure proper data protection.
Outsourcing to a managed services provider can provide enhanced security measures, resulting in airtight protection through identity access management and encrypted data transfers. Further, centralizing data onto a secure platform can limit information sprawl and prevent data from leaking into the wrong hands.
Since most IT teams today have staffing shortages and tight budgets, teams across the board are looking for ways to improve operational performance and output without adding more back-end labor.
The managed services model doesn’t require any maintenance, as all workloads live on hosted infrastructure that’s stored off-site in vendor-owned or partner facilities. This means companies get the full benefits of the software without having to do any maintenance, patching, or system upgrades. So when something goes wrong, the provider will fix it.
One of the greatest benefits of using a managed services model is that it comes with full cloud scalability. Companies can scale up or down as needed as more end users and clients come on board.
This is very helpful when working with large cases, involving massive datasets. For example, a class-action lawsuit or high-profile case may involve hundreds of thousands or even millions of records that teams need to collect and store during the eDiscovery process.
That being the case, it helps to have a cloud storage system that can accommodate rapid growth and cost-effective data management.
How eDiscovery Managed Services Help Companies
Here are some of the processes that managed services can help improve.
Using a powerful managed eDiscovery platform centralizes the eDiscovery process, eliminating data silos while improving accessibility through self-service. This can improve organization. Also, it can create a single source of truth, leading to faster workflows and rapid information response times.
Attracting and Retaining Talent
The best eDiscovery professionals want to work for firms and legal departments that offer the latest systems and technologies on the market. Offering a service that’s easy to use and fully managed makes it easier to attract and retain top talent.
Outsourcing to a managed services provider comes with far fewer capital and operational expenditures. It involves subscribing to a platform—which sure beats sourcing, installing, and maintaining IT equipment.
How to Choose an eDiscovery Managed Services Provider
At the end of the day, there are many vendors offering eDiscovery solutions. As such, it can be difficult to pick a vendor.
Here are some questions to ask vendors when vetting providers.
Make sure the vendor is available around the clock for customer support and is willing to step in and address service issues when they arise.
AI-Powered Assisted Review
Additionally, you’ll also want to look for an AI-powered review process, with auto-collection for tiered reviews. This service should span across email thread views, mobile data, and social network diagrams.
The vendor you choose should be able to process over 10 TB of data per day. This is the gold standard for eDiscovery processing, and it’s especially important as organizations generate more and more data.
Venio: The Global Leader in eDiscovery Managed Services
Venio offers the fully-managed VenioOne eDiscovery platform, a purpose-built solution for legal ESI management.
Quite simply, Venio can help streamline and automate documentation, giving your team maximum efficiency and security throughout the eDiscovery process. VenioOne also provides product-specific eDiscovery certification for professionals who want to break into the industry and become eDiscovery consultants or specialists.
To experience the power of Venio, request a free demo today.
This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.