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Cloud technology is helping litigation leads take a critical stance toward eDiscovery spend. Organizations facing or pursuing litigation must spend considerable resources crafting a defensible legal argument. These arguments frequently rely on documentation drawn from the organization's past activities – archived contracts, invoices, and correspondence have a significant role in litigation.

Before an organization's legal team can provide effective counsel, it must fully understand the scope of its legal challenge. That requires gathering information relevant to the issue in preparation for trial. Unfortunately, the legal discovery process can take time and use valuable resources.

For organizations with documentation distributed across a complex cloud environment, the discovery process can become incredibly challenging. Without the appropriate set of tools available, legal teams face daunting obstacles when conducting cloud eDiscovery manually.

What is Cloud eDiscovery?

Cloud eDiscovery technology offers a scalable, accessible solution for gathering documents and data relevant to litigation. It empowers the legal team to access the information it needs without requiring a detailed series of time-consuming queries and approvals.

Cloud eDiscovery is necessary for organizations that have significant cloud technology deployments. That's because any litigation the organization participates in will almost certainly involve information within one or more cloud environments.

How eDiscovery Used to Work:

Without a cloud-native discovery solution in place, a legal team member has to manually reach out to each business unit involved in litigation and request documentation from them. They would then compile the documents they find, analyze them, and develop their case based on the results.

If a business unit needs to provide complete or accurate documentation, the legal team must request additional details. This leads to a long, complicated back-and-forth dialogue between members of the legal team and the directors and managers of different business units. Ultimately, it increases the litigation cost and the risk of delays.

This process assumes that every business unit's leader is sufficiently organized, communicative, and cooperative with the legal team, which is not always the case. Any delays in communication between business unit leaders and legal team members translate to additional costs and risks in the overall litigation process.

Before cloud infrastructure was commonplace, many organizations invested in local eDiscovery solutions. They installed on-premises solutions at the organization's physical location and hired IT specialists to support the hardware, system security, software updates, and maintenance.

How Cloud eDiscovery Works:

Organizations with cloud-native IT infrastructure can significantly improve the speed and accuracy of the legal discovery process. Cloud eDiscovery solutions provide legal team members with real-time access to the documentation they need to prepare for litigation. This reduces the number of pain points that legal professionals must address and reduces the risk of overlooking vital data.

In practice, these solutions work similarly to local eDiscovery software packages. The significant difference is that they extend discovery capabilities to the organization's entire cloud environment, enabling the benefits that cloud computing offers in complex, distributed workflows.

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Four Benefits Cloud eDiscovery Offers Organizations

  1. Cloud eDiscovery scales to meet the organization's long-term needs.

One of the primary drivers of cloud adoption is scalability. Cloud technology enables organizations to deploy sophisticated technologies throughout their environment without continually investing in expensive infrastructure and in-house staff.

eDiscovery makes it easier for organizations to respond to litigation needs without relying on manual discovery processes. It also provides legal teams with the flexibility to respond to litigation demands regardless of the project's size.

Most importantly, scalability grants organizations the capacity to maintain their litigation capacity even during periods of rapid growth. This reduces their vulnerability to litigation risks that may arise due to the organization's growth and prevents counterparties from taking advantage of those vulnerabilities.

2. Distributed teams gain remote access to necessary documentation.

Remote work has quickly established itself as a norm in many industries, and the trend continues to grow. Some estimates suggest that 22% of Americans will work remotely by 2025 – an 87% increase compared to pre-pandemic figures.

Remote work presents numerous benefits and challenges to organizations and can complicate the discovery process. In addition, it makes the traditional on-premises eDiscovery solution nearly obsolete since only a tiny fraction of the organization's work records will be available in a centralized location.

Cloud-based eDiscovery solutions are able to draw documents and information from every channel that remote employees use in an official capacity. This allows legal teams to produce email archives, text messages, and other information that may otherwise be stored only locally on user endpoints. 

3. Cloud access makes discovery costs much lower.

Discovery is an expensive process. EDiscovery can make up 20% to 50% of overall legal costs in federal civil litigation – and traditional discovery can cost even more. Moreover, these costs can quickly cause relatively minor lawsuits to balloon into "bet the company" litigation that takes years to pay off.

Even in a highly centralized on-premises environment, discovery costs can drag down the performance of legal teams conducting discovery in preparation for litigation. This is because centralized performance depends entirely on in-house technology's power and flexibility, which may only sometimes be well-balanced against current needs. 

These costs can quickly become unmanageable in distributed work environments that are not supported by an economical cloud eDiscovery solution. Cloud-enabled eDiscovery allows organizations to control litigation costs while protecting their legal rights against infringement.

4. Security policies are easier to reinforce in a cloud environment.

From a security perspective, moving around large quantities of sensitive data is always risky. Organizations that conduct manual discovery will need help ensuring that legal team members always observe all the appropriate security policies. This is especially true for organizations with complex technology deployments and internal business architecture – even the most competent legal professionals can make mistakes in these scenarios.

Organizations with centralized, in-house discovery capabilities sometimes have more robust internal security policies. Their policies can be more strict to reinforce simply because they rely on the judgment of authorized users who must obtain data on the legal team's behalf. This isn't part of their usual workflow, so there is sometimes a clear protocol to follow.

With cloud eDiscovery, security leaders can establish and enforce global policies throughout the entire network. This gives security leaders the visibility they need to develop policies in response to real-time needs – like the discovery process – and reinforces those policies throughout the organization. 

 

How to Choose Cloud eDiscovery Software for Your Organization

Finding the right cloud eDiscovery solution for your organization can be challenging. The solution you choose must be well-suited for your organization's size, complexity, and legal risk profile.

Consider the following example scenarios:

  •  A well-organized enterprise with outstanding IT performance and continuous, predictable litigation may be able to address its needs with an on-premises eDiscovery installation. However, it will have to pay to scale this deployment in response to growth, leading to inefficiencies down the line.
  • A highly distributed organization with a history of unaddressed security vulnerabilities may require a comprehensive eDiscovery solution that integrates well with industry-leading security technologies. In addition, the organization will need access to on-demand resources it can rely on.
  • A highly regulated enterprise with long-term litigation needs may have to plan for ongoing discovery costs five, ten, or even twenty years into the future. Scalability and affordability are essential when preparing resources in such a long time frame.

These are just a few situations that may impact the analysis every legal department leader must perform before deploying cloud eDiscovery software. You must consider your organization's current needs while balancing them with potentially unknown litigation risks.

Discovery cost-shifting requests are among the risks to consider. Large organizations may find themselves forced to cover discovery costs for individual counterparties – especially if they claim to be unable to cover those costs due to economic hardship. The ability to control internal discovery costs can significantly affect the sustainability of ongoing litigation.

Introducing ArcTitan Email Archiving for Cloud eDiscovery

Many legal cases rely on substantial email evidence in the pursuit of justice. Email is often the primary format that individuals, corporations, and public institutions rely on to voice their disagreements with one another. When the legal process begins, emailed communication can provide vital context into the case at hand.

TitanHQs ArcTitan email archiving software provides users with an Office 365-integrated email archive. It contains all business-critical data sent or received by email in a securely stored and easily retrievable format.

This gives organizations a secure, compliant solution for gathering and transmitting email data to legal professionals as part of the discovery process. In addition, ArcTitan ensures the underlying data is available, replicated, and secure while ensuring compliance with GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPAA legislation.

TitanHQ provides cost-effective email archiving services to small businesses, large enterprises, and public institutions. Find out how our ArcTitan email archive solution can help you streamline the eDiscovery process in a free demo.

Jennifer Marsh

Jennifer Marsh

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  • EMAIL ARCHIVING
  • COMPLIANCE

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