Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers to process and manage data. It is replacing the use of local servers for storage on computers. Many big companies have transitioned to cloud-based delivery models. This is a high-profile trend that is also impacting every segment of the legal world.
Legal discovery has evolved into e-discovery as law firms embrace electronically-stored information (ESI). Cloud computing encompasses many different cloud-provision services. The most familiar one is cloud storage. Storage provision through the Internet is scalable to any size and accessible from anywhere.
Cloud computing also refers to the provision of processing power, memory space, and many other server components that are cumulatively referred to as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS applications are delivered exclusively through the cloud, offering the full functionality of the local desktop server-based products and more.
Cloud Computing in Legal Firms and Federal Government Agencies
When it comes to e-discovery, cloud computing is rapidly changing the software landscape. The cloud's scalability and elimination of the need for advanced hardware commitment cuts on costs. With such cutting edge e-discovery technology, simplicity, collaborative case building, and analytics are all achievable. In simple terms, cloud computing takes the most powerful tools and makes them accessible to any litigant, be it a complex multi-district litigation or a small-scale investigation.
With such a high profile trend, cloud computing comes with a big risk--trusting a third party with your data. Cloud computing increases the capabilities of practitioners to ensure they satisfy e-discovery obligations. Such expanded capabilities ensure that law firms and federal government agencies achieve more with fewer budgetary resources. Legal technology practitioners can leverage the processing power and elastic computing capabilities of the cloud to fuel traditional productivity applications such as presentation development and word processing.
Additionally, sophisticated business applications including but not limited to data mining and sales automation are also made possible. Cloud computing, as pertaining to e-discovery, has considerable cost and time-saving advantages. Even Federal government agencies that have been known to maintain a conservative approach for decades are seeking ways to leverage the power of cloud computing. Federal government agencies understand that the degree of risk that comes with cloud computing cannot be underestimated. The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) is standardizing the security assessment of cloud products across government entities to eliminate duplication.
There is no doubt that the adoption of cloud computing for e-discovery is expanding in every part of the legal landscape. Cloud computing is becoming a widely accepted solution in the legal world. Since it is a virtual resource, it's cost efficiency proves invaluable when it comes to long-term economic benefits. Law firms can now easily handle peaks and valleys of demand without the need for large capacity of outlays to access data. Cloud computing offers capacity and processing power legal technology practitioners need for all their demands.
Risks Associated with Incorporating Cloud Computing in e-Discovery
Cloud computing is a high-profile trend that comes with high-profile risks. First off, transferring a firm's e-discovery functions to the cloud is a complex process. Such a tedious undertaking is bound to be time-consuming and costly. Moving ESI from on-premise storage facilities to the cloud raises concerns about data integrity during the migration. Other concerns with introducing cloud computing to e-discovery include security of the firm, compliance, and business continuity. Not to mention exposing clients to unforeseen liabilities.
Such a degree of risk should not be underestimated, and everyone responsible for oversight and management should be knowledgeable and vigilant. There are countless hidden issues that could create problems in the future for the firm and its clients. The identification and security of electronic data is part of a legal action that exposes law firms and clients to peak vulnerability. This is because it encompasses cross-border legality, security, compliance, and business continuity.
E-Discovery obligations remain the same regardless of the data management method used. Accessing information from an off-site location and satisfying these obligations at the same time presents a challenge. These challenges relate to those that arise with traditional e-discovery;
• Presentation and legal holds- law firms need records management protocols to ensure the life cycle of data is accounted for.
• Collection- gathering electronically stored information from cloud providers raises the question of credibility in the court of law.
• Identification of data source- This is usually an issue even when information has been collected from a known and traceable source in the case of traditional e-discovery.
Law firms should address all these issues in the contract to ensure U.S e-delivery obligations are taken into account.
Addressing Security Concerns in the Cloud
Protecting data, infrastructure, and applications in the cloud environment prevent unauthorized data exposure and leaks. Seamlessly integrating security solutions on cloud workloads allows you to maintain preventative protection.
Since the cloud is a dynamic environment where things are always changing, you should always be aware of your current state of security. Encryption of data protects your system from corruption while it's at rest or in transit.
Filtering traffic and taking advantage of authentication access ensures your cloud environment is secured from Advanced Persistent Threats. Keeping the cloud safe and secure is a joint responsibility between solution providers and business owners. Choose a cloud solution that specializes in e-discovery that not only keeps your system safe but also improve overall performance.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing for e-Discovery
1. Scalability and Elasticity
The main advantage of using cloud computing for e-discovery is the on-demand scalability and elasticity. The convenient virtual storage can be scaled up or down based on the demand of any law firm.
Scalability is a valuable predominant feature as it provides businesses with flexibility and elasticity because even after scaling up, a business can easily move back to its original configuration.
Businesses can accommodate large workloads without investing in new hardware or software. The virtual storage solution ensures there is no disruption on existing infrastructure during transitions.
2. Easy Access to Information
ESI stored in the cloud is easily available to legal technology practitioners. Data can be sent anywhere in the world and accessed by authorized persons. This eliminates the need for physical copies of documents practitioners might need for different cases. Electronically Stored Information changes the discovery process for the better by greatly reducing the workload in law firms.
3. Improved Performance
The efficiency of cloud computing frees up the IT team to deal with specialized e-discovery network and infrastructure needs. Automated and less error-prone e-discovery processes can be supported to allow law firms to fulfill e-discovery obligations. Besides, e-discovery stakeholders can now easily reduce data center footprints. E-discovery in the cloud streamlines analysis and review of the workflow. Decentralized software for productivity and collaboration allows for regular software updates. This, together with end-to-end file encryption, eliminates unauthorized access and data loss.
Law firms and organizations involved also reduce capital expenditure costs. With fewer budgetary resources, legal technology practitioners have the expanded capacity to achieve for the firm and the clients as well.
Do More With Anvesa
Anvesa is a fully integrated search and analytics tool that helps attorneys reduce search time. The top-down approach challenges today's status quo of legal e-discovery. This tool is purposely designed to litigate attorneys and improve a firm's operational efficiency. Anvesa shortens the initial review process as attorneys can now find the document they require faster.
Attorneys can focus their time on assisting clients since the combined multiple search method makes the initial review process a piece of cake. Besides, lawyers can save file and documents with one click of a button. Since the search history is secured as you log off, you can always come back to confirm facts. Since Anvesa's storage is limitless, you can store as many searches as you need to.
Cloud computing for e-discovery has introduced advantages as well as challenges to the legal world. This robust technology allows legal practitioners to access the information they need to serve their clients easily. Each law firm should ensure that cloud computing does not prevent them from fulfilling e-discovery obligations.