Cloud eDiscovery: A Definition and an Outlook on the Future

  • Will Pfeifer
  • May 3, 2021

These days, most forward-thinking organizations and legal firms are going through digital transformation. Manual workflows and legacy computing solutions are steadily giving way to modern cloud-based systems and processes that are agile, cost-effective, and secure. 

One major workflow that’s changing in the legal industry is discovery. The process of collecting and preparing information for use in court used to happen manually, with legal aides using paper and spreadsheets to track and manage information. This approach was painstakingly slow, risky, and expensive—especially for large court cases involving large quantities of information. 

In the digital age, organizations have more electronic information at their disposal than ever before. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that more and more legal teams are modernizing their eDiscovery platforms and switching to cloud eDiscovery solutions. 

Keep reading to learn more about how cloud eDiscovery works, what it entails, and how it can transform your organization. 

What Is Cloud eDiscovery?

Cloud eDiscovery involves using cloud-based technologies to streamline the legal eDiscovery process. 

Companies are increasingly using cloud-based platforms to collect, process, analyze, store, manage, and export digital eDiscovery data. The process involves merging multiple disparate workflows into one robust, end-to-end portal delivered through the cloud. 

How Does Cloud eDiscovery Work?

As the name suggests, cloud eDiscovery involves using software through the cloud—or a network of hosted servers that power all aspects of the software. This requires partnering with a third-party cloud eDiscovery vendor, who then deploys, manages, and optimizes the eDiscovery software for you. 

As a result, companies and law firms don’t need to use any on-site computing or filing resources for legal eDiscovery other than their own computers and mobile devices. 

Discovery vs. Cloud eDiscovery 

Chances are you’re wondering how discovery differs from cloud eDiscovery. 

Legal discovery primarily refers to the collection and management of physical data, like paper documents and other tangible files. On the other hand, eDiscovery is the process of collecting and preparing digital information for use in court. As such, cloud eDiscovery involves storing and managing legal data in a cloud repository instead of using local resources. 

As more and more digital data comes into existence, the writing is on the wall: Cloud eDiscovery will take on an increasingly important role as we move further into the future.

Pros and Cons of Cloud eDiscovery

Now that you have a better idea of what cloud eDiscovery is and why it will become even more important in the coming years, let’s turn our attention to some of the advantages and disadvantages of using cloud eDiscovery software.

Advantages 

Seamless Deployments 

Cloud eDiscovery software can be seamlessly rolled out to global end users, eliminating the need for on-site installs and updates. This is ideal for legal departments operating in remote or hybrid environments. And it’s also great for those that are looking to implement a new solution quickly.

Maximum Efficiency

Legal teams can also increase their operational efficiency with cloud eDiscovery software. Using cloud eDiscovery software can centralize information, making it easier for team members to access and share data. This, in turn, boosts productivity and enables your team to accomplish more in less time. 

Lower Costs

Companies can save money by using cloud eDiscovery software, avoiding the hefty capital and operational expenditures that come with managing on-site legacy solutions. 

Zero Maintenance 

Since the cloud eDiscovery provider handles all aspects of software management, maintenance, and upgrades, a huge burden is taken off of IT’s plate.

Disadvantages

Less Control

Moving forward with an eDiscovery provider requires surrendering a certain amount of control over platform and data management.

To be sure, companies still have visibility and transparency. But it can take some getting used to for companies that keep most operations in-house. 

Vendor Trust 

Relying on a cloud eDiscovery model requires placing a significant amount of trust in the vendor. After all, you’re trusting this organization to manage a ton of your critical data.

As such, it’s crucial to thoroughly vet the vendor. Make sure they are reputable and customer-centric before entering into any long-term agreements.

Security 

Many companies are still warming up to the idea of trusting third-party vendors to manage their sensitive data. Therefore, it’s vital to look at the cloud provider’s security posture and assess whether they demonstrate a strong commitment to data and platform security. 

How to Select an eDiscovery Vendor

Companies and law firms should not rush into the cloud eDiscovery market. Instead, they should do their due diligence and really assess their options. It’s important to try different vendors, demo products, and learn about available solutions. Vendors tend to vary drastically in their offerings and models. 

With this in mind, here are some considerations to keep in mind when selecting a cloud eDiscovery vendor. 

Data Storage 

Data is extremely valuable, especially legal data involving high-profile court cases. Simply put, companies and law firms can’t take any chances regarding security. 

The vendor should provide direct visibility into where and how they store data. Assuming yours is a firm based in the US, watch out for vendors who store data outside of the US or in potentially non-secure locations. 

Pricing Structure 

Sourcing an eDiscovery platform is a bit more complicated than a regular SaaS solution. Dig deep into the vendor’s pricing model and gain insight into the eDiscovery vendor’s costs.

For example, some vendors charge excessive data management costs. If you have a ton of data under your control, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.

Updates

The eDiscovery field is constantly evolving as new types of digital technologies come to market. 

As such, a cloud eDiscovery vendor should display a commitment to updating their platform and providing customers with the latest insights and processing capabilities. At the same time, vendors that rarely update their platforms should be avoided.

Support 

Even the best platforms on the market can act up from time to time, requiring assistance from the support team. 

Unfortunately, vendors tend to offer varying levels of customer support. It’s critical to partner with a vendor that offers a robust client portal, email access, and around-the-clock service. 

Platform Quality 

A cloud eDiscovery platform plays a big part in the overall eDiscovery process. All data will run through the platform, and end users should expect to spend a fair amount of time using it. 

For this reason, it’s vital to source a platform that’s user-friendly and easy to access and navigate. Teams are highly encouraged to demo eDiscovery products and test them out on small user groups to collect feedback before moving forward and buying a solution.

Let Venio Take You Into the Cloud 

Venio is a leading eDiscovery provider that offers VenioOne, a robust end-to-end cloud platform. VenioOne is the product of a team with decades of experience in the legal technology eDiscovery space. That being the case, Venio knows firsthand what legal aides and attorneys require for success. With VenioOne, you get a platform that can ingest, process, review, analyze, produce, and prepare data for early case assessment (ECA). 

The system is also highly agile and scalable—and great for small or large teams. It features a powerful, centralized database and specialty software for culling large data sets. What’s more, VenioOne can process data up to 10 times faster, at a rate of up to 10 Tb of data per day—reducing the eDiscovery processing time from several weeks to just days. It can also simultaneously process multiple media and job types, making it ideal for busy firms juggling multiple cases. 

Speed is critical when preparing for court. Good news: VenioOne has what it takes to keep legal pipelines moving. This, in turn, sets the table for more court victories through automation, strong security, and unparalleled efficiency.

To learn more about how you can transform your organization’s eDiscovery capabilities, contact Venio 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.