Industry Insights: The impact of the cloud on Ediscovery

Advances in cloud technology are creating new opportunities and challenges for ediscovery. There are a plethora of new applications based on mobile technologies that are fundamentally changing the way we create, share and interact with data. Adding to even greater volumes of data that are being stored in more places, is the economy of cloud computing which drives down the cost and increases the distribution of data storage. This trend makes traditional approaches to ediscovery unsustainable. As the corporate world increasingly adapts to the shift of more and more data residing in or passing through the cloud, corporations need a better way to capture the opportunities the cloud presents for reducing the risk and cost associated with ediscovery.

The impact of the cloud on Ediscovery

Growth of cloud computing

Today, cloud computing is in the mainstream of IT and its predicted to continue to grow.

Gartner predicts continued strong growth in public cloud services, with a compound annual growth rate of 16.8% from 2011 through 2017. End-user spending on public cloud services is expected to grow 18.4% in 2013 to $129 billion. By 2017, the public cloud services market will exceed $237 billion.

Source: “Forecast: Public Cloud Services, Worldwide, 2011-2017, 1Q13 Update

Corporations around the globe have found it attractive because its easy to provision, offers organizational agility, and it provides flexible scaling of computing power at an affordable cost. According to IDC, companies see a 72% savings deploying solutions on AWS vs. on-premise solutions. Cloud computing has also grown because it has overcome early security concerns and has earned a reputation for being as secure, if not more secure, than on-premise infrastructure.

The Changing IT Landscape

Corporate America and the government are adopting cloud technology to reduce infrastructure, yet be able to scale quickly to adapt to shifting needs and opportunities. IT teams are looking to standardize their software and offer mobile and global accessibility to their workforce. Finally, IT of today is looking to standardize training and make the IT budget predictable. From a legal perspective, the cloud is seen as both a headache and an innovation. The cloud has certainly complicated things with the expanding data volumes and myriad storage locations. At the surface it seems to make ediscovery more complicated and costly. This is true if we continue to use the outdated approaches to ediscovery where we collect everything and sort it out later. However, the cloud is bringing benefits to legal teams, with new ediscovery solutions that level the playing field and empower in-house legal departments so they can maximize the value of their outside counsel on strategy instead of data culling.

The cloud is poised to be every lawyer’s new best friend when it comes to ediscovery.

Craig Ball, Forensic Technologist and Special Master

The Cloud and Ediscovery

Ultimately, the cloud is simply another data source that is discoverable. Corporations that are implementing cloud initiatives should involve leaders from many departments including IT, Legal, Records, and HR among others so that corporations can limit the risk associated with the data and maximize the benefit of the power of the cloud. For example, corporations need to ensure that the people involved in the initiative fully understand the scope of the project, how the project will work, what data will flow through it, where the data is, what the technology is, and how the data will be managed. Additionally, they’ll need to identify any new processes or tools needed to manage ediscovery with cloud data sources. In conclusion, the cloud presents a great opportunity for corporations to do more with less cost and to apply much more speed and agility in their business operations.