eDiscoveryDaily

Document Review in a Remote World

COVID-19 has transformed the document review process. Traditionally, document review was conducted in person by experts at review centers. As COVID-19 rates increased, fears for individual health and safety mandated the transition to remote review. Though remote review became a sudden necessity, it’s not a new concept. The transition began long before the pandemic at a slow but steady pace. More and more organizations transitioned their discovery to the cloud after recognizing the financial and security benefits. Even without the pandemic-induced acceleration, the trend would have accumulated more momentum with time. Nonetheless, organization that were unprepared or on the fence were suddenly faced with new challenges and security demands. No one knows if remote review will be the new “normal.” It’s too soon to judge the permanency of the change. For now, organizations should recognize the benefits of the opportunity and adjust their review procedures accordingly.

The Benefits of Remote Review

  • Through remote operation, document review has become more flexible than ever. Talented experts from various states can provide their expertise. Organizations with remote review are not restrained by geographical limitations when seeking qualified providers. The geographic freedom also eliminates the need to pay for a provider’s travel and lodging.
  • Providers have shown increased morale and productivity due to greater flexibility with their hours and breaks. They are also spared from commute expenses. Through happier employees, organizations can raise the efficiency of their review process.
  • Through remote review, organizations gain cloud scalability. Resources and storage space can be altered to quickly meet changing demands.
  • By reducing the production of discoverable copies, remote review can offer some security advantages. Organizations can also strengthen their  security by using multifactor authentication tools. [1]
  • Remote review minimizes the risks associated with employee movement. The workforce is like a revolving door; new employees constantly join and leave their jobs. Though this cycle is normal, it often leads to the accidental corruption or destruction of valuable data. Since remote review is convenient and flexible, it often improves employee retention. [2]

Tips on Handling Document Review

  • Optimize communication among counsel, reviewers, and clients through collaboration tools and teleconferences.
  • Collaborate with your team to create a comprehensive plan tailored to your security and operation needs. This plan should address topics such as staffing, training, and oversight measures.
  • Before establishing a review plan, ask your providers about the quality of their review space and security measures. [3]
  • Consult with your clients and partners as you draft your remote review policies.
  • Keep your data secure through a VPN, multifactor authentication tool, and/or an access program. [4]

 

[1] David Greetham, “Remote eDiscovery: Pandemic Accommodation or Improvement,” Above The Law, May 29, 2020.

[2] Antonio Rega, “Understanding the E-Discovery Implications of Employee Status Changes,” Today’s General Counsel, April 7, 2014.

[3] Jonathan Hurtarte, “Insight: Covid-19 and E-Discovery Challenges With Remote Document Review,” Bloomberg Law, May 11, 2020.

[4]  SKJ Juris, “Impact of Covid-19 on Remote Document Review,” SKJ Juris, 2020.

How to Maintain eDiscovery Data Integrity

Emails, text messages, legal documents, written letters, faxes, and more: your eDiscovery team sorts, reviews, and analyzes all of these documents and more during the span of a legal case. When handling these confidential documents, it is important to keep these documents safe and secure. 

As a vital part of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), any data collected is done so with the intent to capture it exactly as intended or as it was actively being used. This ensures the searchability and traceability of your data so it can be properly collected, indexed, and documented for use in litigation.

To simplify this for eDiscovery, data integrity means ensuring the legal data you collect is accurate and consistent throughout its lifecycle. Maintaining eDiscovery data integrity is not only vital for the privacy and protection of your clients, but also for the integrity of your legal investigation.

At CloudNine, we take data integrity very seriously. Read on to learn about our recommended best practices for maintaining data integrity during your eDiscovery process or learn how we put those best practices into play with CloudNine Explore here.

Protecting the Quality of Your eDiscovery Data

Data types are constantly evolving. By 2025, the number of IoT devices deployed globally will surpass 25 billion. 

The variety, velocity, and complexity of electronic evidence multiply with each new generation and innovation of data technology. While email, spreadsheets, and documents are still the primary form of data collected, social media, streaming data, and data products continue to rise in prevalence. 

This rise in data types means your vigilance must increase with the introduction of each new technology or update with the average U.S. civil case collecting 130 GBs of data the average U.S. civil case collecting 130 GBs of data

To protect your clients and your firm, know the factors which can affect your eDiscovery data integrity:

  1. Mistakes due to human error: Your eDiscovery data integrity can become jeopardized any time human involvement is required. Data can be input incorrectly, duplicated, or deleted. Protocols, methods, or procedures can be ignored or designed incorrectly.   
  2. Transfer errors: If your eDiscovery data isn’t transferred properly from one database to another or if one is damaged or compromised, your file could become fragmented or corrupted. 
  3. Viruses or malware: Any outside software that can infiltrate your network has the potential to alter, erase or steal critical data.
  4. Compromised hardware: Any time your network experiences a significant failure like a computer or server crash, your hardware can become compromised. This could cause your eDiscovery data to be corrupted or inaccessible.

To ensure the quality of your eDiscovery data, you need to adopt a proven data collection solution that can operate efficiently, securely, and in a forensically sound manner. This means there’s no question concerning the quality of your data or any copies made. It also needs to be able to:

  • Work with modern data types
  • Work with a variety of data types
  • Pull many different fields of data

When you are able to easily and securely perform eDiscovery data collection, your legal team will be able to take on more cases and increase margins for your LSP. Learn more about this in our eBook: 4 Ways Legal Service Providers Can Build Value and Boost Margins.

Best Practices for Ensuring eDiscovery Data Integrity

To ensure eDiscovery data integrity for your clients, implement the following best practices:

  1. Understand Your eDiscovery Solution: Knowing the capabilities and limitations of your data collection software allows you to use it in the most efficient manner possible.
  2. Validate the Data: Confirm the data you collect is correct before you upload it to your server. 
  3. Implement Access Controls: Only necessary personnel should have access to the data so there’s less chance of data being compromised or corrupted.
  4. Maintain an Audit Trail: Any change to the data can have an impact on your litigation, so you need to know who touched what files when they accessed them, and what they did to them. 
  5. Backup Your Data: Regularly scheduled and reliable data backups are essential in the event of data loss. 
  6. Deploy Cybersecurity Measures: From timely software patches to limiting physical access to computers and servers, all known security vulnerabilities should be monitored and secured to prevent outside interference.
  7. Workforce Training: Every member of your team that has access to the data should be trained to follow data integrity guidelines to ensure the reliability of the data.

How CloudNine Explore Helps You Ensure eDiscovery Data Integrity

Data integrity is the foundational element to your eDiscovery processWith CloudNine Explore, you can ensure you get it right through our innovative approach to eDiscovery data collection:

  • Navigate through data to determine risk, scope, and cost up-front
  • Review new data with automated and in-person processes
  • Securely upload, process, and preserve data critical to your investigation or litigation
  • Step-by-step and advanced user workflows
  • Data, domain, file type, and additional filtering
  • Search term testing and reporting
  • File copies are created when exported
  • Provide information as required for legal production or continued investigation

Make your cases defensible and your firm profitable with eDiscovery solutions from CloudNine. With easy-to-deploy solutions that protect your eDiscovery data integrity, CloudNine is flexible and adaptable to meet any eDiscovery needs you have. Schedule a free demo today. 

How Automation Complements the Human Side of eDiscovery Review

If there’s one constant throughout human history, it’s that change is inevitable. In the legal world, some law firms and legal service providers often keep the status quo hoping they won’t be affected by the changes around them. For the rest, they adapt and integrate new eDiscovery technologies to include features like automation to find successful ways to overcome these changes. 

Adopting new technology is never an easy transition and it does come with concerns. But, we’re still not at a place where the software can litigate your case and accurately assign classifications for each document without human input. The need for human reviewers will always have incredible value to your firm but, automating the common challenges of eDiscovery document review will help your team work faster and more effectively. 

Learn how automation and eDiscovery come together to accelerate your legal document review process here.

Differences in Opinions: eDiscovery Solutions

Legal document reviewers are usually specially trained associates who need to analyze complex information quickly and make decisions based on:

  • Relevance
  • Privilege
  • Responsiveness
  • Confidentiality

Unfortunately, there’s often a difference of opinion within these teams which can lead to inaccuracy and inconsistencies in the classification of documents. In fact, in a study released by Autonomy, Inc., experts from seven professional review teams were asked to review a selected set of 28,000 documents. In the end, the experts unanimously agreed on the classification of only 43% of the documents

This means more than half of your documents could potentially be misclassified making your eDiscovery more challenging. 

Removing the Guesswork in Legal Document Review

Legal document reviewers are often presented with a broad overview of the matter along with a binder of protocols and example documents. This training includes little eDiscovery data and a lot of guesswork as to what is being sought after in the documents.

A few days – or sometimes weeks – after the eDiscovery review has begun, a quality control team reviews the progress to identify discrepancies in classification and specific reviewers with low accuracy.  At this point, the reviewing team is retrained with more specific protocols based on the errors uncovered. 

Having more accurate protocols from the onset of your legal document review supports productivity and avoids wasted time and effort.  

With improved efficiency, your legal team is one step closer to optimizing your eDiscovery review process. Learn how to accelerate your eDiscovery even more in our eBook: Optimize eDiscovery Cost Recovery .

Flawed Legal Document Review Protocols

When legal review protocols are established, they’re usually created by subject matter experts, well-versed in the matter. Despite their credentials, the initial review protocols can suffer from two primary flaws:

Flaw 1: Lack of Knowledge: When the expert creates the review protocols, they usually do so before they’ve had a chance to review the documents in context to better account for variations in the review set.

Flaw 2: Lack of Understanding: Once the protocols are written, the reviewers have to fully understand them or efforts to accurately classify documents becomes much more difficult and error-prone. 

Improving eDiscovery Review with Better Protocols and More Accurate Classifications

Errors and inefficiency in document review is often linked to insufficient training.  Review teams will struggle to understand exactly what they’re looking for if protocols are too vague and don’t account for unforeseen variations.  This results in too many discrepancies in your document classification. 

The solution lies in leveraging automation to support human expertise and equip them with sound training of the review protocols and classifications.

Establishing Stronger Protocols for Legal Document Review 

First, select a diverse collection of documents through early sampling so your expert can review an ample variety of documents, concepts and classifications.  As you create the review protocols, allow your review team to interact with these documents for more hands-on experience with the document set. 

Next, ask each reviewer to classify the same small batch of documents so you can provide immediate feedback on their classifications. If they classified a document incorrectly, you now have an opportunity to question their decision-making to determine why they did it and if the protocols were unclear or misleading.

Get More Accurate eDiscovery Classifications

Once training is complete, you can review the results to check the accuracy of each reviewer. This helps you identify individuals on your review team who need additional training. In addition, you can create a threshold accuracy score each reviewer is required to meet before they’re allowed to begin reviewing actual documents from the data set. 

This level of review evaluation helps:

  • Identify poorly performing reviewers
  • Informs your decision-making on review assignments
  • Improves the overall quality of the early stages of the review

All of these lead to more accurate and cost-effective reviews.

Using CloudNine Review Automation to Improve eDiscovery Review

CloudNine Review offers an automated eDiscovery solution that’s fast, affordable, and easy to use. By utilizing the automation in our solution, you’ll be able to improve your training based on your reviewers’ accuracy and speed. This allows you to:

  • Create immediate feedback and critique for your reviewers.
  • Establish a more thorough understanding of classification protocols.
  • Improve review efficiency making it faster and more accurate.

Plus, you’ll be able to improve your initial review protocols by tracking which were misunderstood by your reviewers so you can determine why they were misunderstood and what you can do to make them more understandable. 

It’s time for you to check out CloudNine and see what it can do to improve your document review. Request a free demo and let us show you how CloudNine Review uses automation to improve the human element of your eDiscovery review.

Assessing the Proportionality of Modern Data Types

The Costs of eDiscovery

As time passes, the definition of electronically stored information (ESI) must expand to accommodate emerging data types. As discussed in our recent article, (Don’t Get Spooked by Communication Applications!), these changes can be intimidating and uncomfortable for some legal teams. Since modern data types are unavoidable in eDiscovery, litigators must adapt and address any subsequent challenges. Financing the production of newer ESI types is a looming concern for many firms. From a financial perspective, each gigabyte of reviewed data costs about $18,000. [1] Meanwhile, 300 million photos are posted to social media every day, and 16 million texts are sent every minute. [2] In addition to paying for production, responding parties must  have adequate access and resources to manage the information. If responding parties cannot juggle these duties, they should speak with the judge and requesting party about the proportionality of the evidence.

Proportionality and Amendments to Rule 26(b)(1)

Before requesting the production of digital evidence in a legal trial, the proportionality of said evidence must be evaluated. In other words, the costs and benefits of production must be weighed. Proportionality is far from a new concept in eDiscovery. Most of its factors and considerations were first added to Rule 26(b)(1) of the FRCP in 1983. On December 1, 2015, the rule was amended slightly to require that the scope of discovery be “proportional to the needs of the case.” [3] Six factors should be considered when evaluating the proportionality of ESI:

  • The importance of the issues at stake in the action – This guideline measures the importance of the non-monetary losses or gains that a party might acquire due to a case (i.e. time, resources).
  • The amount of controversy – This guideline focuses on the money that a party may gain or lose.
  • The parties’ access to relevant information – The need for a formal discovery is determined based on a party’s access (or lack thereof) to relevant information.
  • The parties’ resources – A party’s technological, administrative, and human resources are assessed to determine if they are capable of handling the discovery process.
  • The importance of the discovery in resolving the issues – This guideline relates to the discovery’s importance in resolving the case.
  • Whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit – The burdens and benefits of discovery are compared. There is no fixed ratio to determine the proportionality. [4]

Proportionality Best Practices

  • Parties should engage in discovery planning early on. Discussions on the relevance and proportionality of the request should be held as soon as possible.
  • Prior to Rule 26(f), meet in person (or over the phone) to develop a discovery management plan.
  • Ask the judge to hold Rule 16(b) case-management conferences.
  • If you anticipate proportionality disputes or the production of voluminous data, start the discovery process by producing the most accessible and relevant information . [4]

 

[1] Patrick E. Gaas and Tiffany Harrod, “How to Proactively Control E-discovery Costs,” Tech Brief, AGC of America.

[2] Bernard Marr, “How Much Data Do We Create Every Day? The Mind-blowing Stats Everyone Should Read,” Forbes, May 21, 2018.

[3]Rule 26. Duty to Disclose; General Provisions Governing Discovery,” Legal Information Institute, Cornell Law School,

[4] Bolch Judicial Institute, “Guidelines and Best Practices for Implementing the 2015 Discovery Amendments Concerning Proportionality,” Third Edition, 2021.

Investing in the Future: Release Highlights for CloudNine LAW & Explore 7.6

As a dedicated eDiscovery provider, CloudNine is committed to providing our network partners and legal clients with efficient software solutions. Advancements to our innovative technologies are largely due to client feedback and support.

After hearing your feedback on the need to expedite document conversion while also reducing cost and dependency on 3rd party applications, we are eager to announce the latest updates to CloudNine LAW and Explore 7.6.  With more than 200 feature updates and enhancements, the leading applications for early case assessment and processing are equipped to process today’s prodigious volumes of data and accelerate your review and production speeds.

By utilizing a robust ingestion engine, LAW and Explore maximize the processing power of a single computer.

As the primary highlight of LAW 7.6, the new Turbo Imager produces static images of native files up to eight times faster than the traditional imaging module.  By reducing client dependency on native applications, Turbo Imager provides on-demand scalability and workflow efficiency. If available, the tool will utilize multiple processing cores to expedite document conversion time. Turbo Imager will be offered together with Turbo Import licenses. For each license of Turbo Import, CloudNine clients will also receive a license of Turbo Imager or vice versa.

Improved reporting capabilities in  Explore 7.6 provide greater visibility into case metrics, such as original source file counts and sizes, as well as filtered file counts and sizes.. Rather than creating additional copies of data during ingestion, Explore reads and extracts metadata and text from the source, leaving it in place.  After searching and culling, clients may create copies when they are ready to export the information for review. This improvement reduces security risks by minimizing the number of identical files that need to be managed. The reduction in data volumes also decreases review time and expenses by as much as 70%. Additionally, Explore’s Import Library has improved its analysis abilities by recognizing more file types and email components.

To learn more and see a live demonstration, register to view the webinar:  Investing in the Future:  LAW and Explore ver. 7.6 Release or click to request a demonstration.

 

eDiscovery in a Pandemic: How to Adapt to Turbulent Times

There’s no question COVID-19 continues to have a huge impact on the way we live and work. With the new Delta variant surging among the vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, the number of infections is rising once again. Unprecedented challenges are impacting law firms and legal document reviewers as well. 

From March 2020 to January 2021, New York City held only nine criminal jury trials.

For the first time in history, court trials dropped 99%  from the previous year in the country’s largest criminal jurisdictions. This is not an isolated occurrence as courts closed or severely reduced their caseloads to help stop the spread of the virus. This meant cases that should have closed were left open indefinitely, forcing law firms to keep their eDiscovery accounts open for longer than expected. 

Making matters worse, law firm clients found themselves unable to pay their invoices as the unemployment rate topped 14.8% in April 2020. While the economy has begun to recover, the unemployment rate still remained high at 5.8% in May 2021. This loss in client income had a predictable downstream effect on legal cases

Another consequence brought about by the lockdowns was the disruption of electronic discovery data collection. Law firms and their clients began shipping hard drives all over the country. New strategies had to be developed around data collection as document review service providers had to order hard drives, copy relevant ESI onto the hard drives, and then deliver them to the client. 

All of these challenges had a direct impact on revenue and forced expense cuts by collections, attending conferences, and certainly inviting clients to onsite meetings.

Ultimately, law firms will have to adopt new solutions or rethink old ones in order to thrive in this new, post-COVID world. The best way to do this? Adopt an agile, remote review process as part of your eDiscovery solution; learn how CloudNine Explore can help you adapt to the everchanging times here.

Be Prepared to Move Your eDiscovery Operations Remote 

When federal, state, and local governments began shutting down courthouses, law firms followed suit and sent their people home to work remotely. While every firm was different, size played a big part in how easy or difficult the transition was. 

For smaller firms, it didn’t take much – just a few tweaks to their infrastructure to allow remote access. Larger firms faced a bigger challenge as they had a lot more pieces to move to give everyone remote access to the shared drives and files they needed to do their jobs. 

In order to prepare for another shutdown or even a natural disaster preventing you from opening your office, CloudNine can help you convert from your standard in-office eDiscovery environment to a remote eDiscovery environment working easily and quickly. 

For firms already accustomed to interacting with the on-prem eDiscovery environment, they’ll automatically have full remote access to CloudNine Explore. They just need to have their network turned on and accessible. 

Some legal teams may not have the on-prem infrastructure in place to support that many users in one project at once, especially those teams that are large and spread. 

For these situations, we offer CloudNine Explore via our cloud so you can allow more users to access your data using our infrastructure at no additional infrastructure cost to them. With internet connectivity, you can access your CloudNine projects from any device, anywhere in the world. 

Add More Value to Your eDiscovery Retainer

Retainers are a good way to ensure clients are capable of meeting their financial obligations to your law firm. While most retainers are based on a specific dollar amount, some are established to run month-to-month or even year-to-year. These multi-year agreements help you establish a consistent revenue stream. To capture the best retainers, you need to have a reputation for being hard-working, committed, fair, and, most important, effective. 

Effective eDiscovery solutions bring value to your services beyond what other law firms have to offer. Highly efficient and secure, CloudNine Explore can eliminate duplicate or irrelevant files so you can focus on the documents that matter. With filtering tools that allow you to reduce the cost of processing by reducing the file size, you offer better value by providing more services for the price of your client’s retainer.

Improve Your ROI Through Your eDiscovery Solution

To help improve your services and increase value to your clients, you’ll want to understand how to maximize efficiency in your eDiscovery. CloudNine models out the cost of the solution versus the return you’ll get on your investment in the form of:

  • Data security
  • Cost reductions
  • Control over your data
  • Processing speed 

Plus, CloudNine partners with you to better understand your goals in order to offer a realistic solution so you know if you commit to X, Y, and Z today, you’re more likely to experience a higher return on your investment tomorrow. 

CloudNine also helps you level the playing field between larger law firms with astronomical budgets and smaller, more cost-conscience firms. By leveraging the solutions offered, you can access the same level of technology and services as larger law firms without investing in the infrastructure to host it. 

Learn how CloudNine Explore can help your firm be prepared for turbulent times, giving you added value to offer your clients, the ability to work remotely more effectively, and the confidence you need to invest in new solutions to get better ROI. Schedule a free demo with CloudNine today.

Investing in the Future: Release Highlights for CloudNine LAW & Explore 7.6
Investing in the Future: Release Highlights for CloudNine LAW & Explore 7.6 150 150 CloudNine Marketing

How COVID-19 Has Reinforced the Need for Comprehensive BYOD Policies

Even before the pandemic started, working from home was on the rise. The trend allowed employees to be both productive and comfortable. Like any change, the transition to remote work was met with some skepticism. Many worried that limited in-person interaction would negatively impact work relations and company culture. Another concern was that employees wouldn’t get their work done at home. Though the research is mixed, several studies suggest that working from home greatly improves productivity. Amid the controversy, remote work skyrocketed as quarantine guidelines were set in the United States. This shift boosted the popularity of BYOD policies in the workplace. BYOD is shorthand for “bring your own device,” a practice in which businesses allow employees to conduct work activities on personal devices.

From both the employer and employee perspectives, BYOD policies come with a list of pros and cons. Employees typically enjoy the change, grateful that they don’t have to carry two phones everywhere. BYOD allows them to conveniently handle business and personal affairs from the same device. Through this system, an employee can work from anywhere at any time. From the employer’s standpoint, BYOD practices can be a money saver. Companies that supply and maintain work phones are expected to foot the bill. BYOD, however, eliminates those business expenditures.[1] In terms of ediscovery, BYOD poses significant privacy and security concerns. Now more than ever, companies should reevaluate their BYOD policies, ensuring that sensitive data is well-protected.

Questions to Consider

Before drafting or revising BYOD policies, there are several questions that a company should ask itself. Below is a list of sample questions to get the ball rolling:

BYOD Recommendations

  • Ask new employees about the BYOD policies at their former jobs. If the employee previously used their personal device for business matters, their device could still contain competitor data. Detecting and eliminating competitor data early on reduces the risk of lawsuits. [2]
  • Pay particular attention to securing data from your legal department. Legal departments, specifically, are a popular target for hackers because they manage large amounts of sensitive information.
  • Consider setting time limits on employee access to highly sensitive material.
  • Consider an employee’s position in the company before allowing them to operate through a personal device. If their position requires consistent interaction with confidential information, it’s safer to supply them with a work phone. [3]
  • Outline any software and applications that employees should not use.
  • Establish protocols for litigation holds and employee departure. [1]
References

[1] Russell Beets, “BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Policies and Best Practices,” LitSmart E-Discovery, November 17, 2017.
[2] Will Kelly, “BYOD and the danger of litigation” TechRepublic, November 3, 2015.
[3] Frank Ready, “When Should Companies Refresh BYOD Policies? With COVID-19, It’s Now” Legaltech News, July 16, 2020.

The Hybrid eDiscovery Solution: The Best Of Both Worlds

When deciding on the most efficient processes to run eDiscovery in your organization, the options are nearly limitless with hundreds of products and service providers vying for your attention.

Not all document review solutions are the same. Before you commit to your eDiscovery solution, you need to determine whether you would like to perform eDiscovery in-house, outsource it or do a bit of both.

Regardless of which path you take, CloudNine can provide you with a solution that is perfectly right-sized for you, learn more about CloudNine’s review solutions here.

What is eDiscovery Insourcing?

Insourcing is the delegation of a task or operation to a specialized unit within your organization rather than a third party. For legal service providers and large law firms, this includes both the technology used to perform legal data collection and people assigned to collect and review electronic discovery documents.

Insourcing is the traditional method for eDiscovery. Ten years ago, cloud solutions weren’t widely used for eDiscovery due to cost and the fact that most professionals were not aware or comfortable with it yet. Larger law firms invested heavily in developing an in-house infrastructure and software to process and review electronic documents.

Today, the organizations with the infrastructure already in place continue to insource their eDiscovery because it allows them to control both the cost and the data. Typically, these organizations are large law firms.

Benefits of insourcing your eDiscovery:

  • No data hosting or processing fees
  • Complete control over data collection
  • Protection from cybersecurity attacks on external parties

100% control means 100% responsibility. With this responsibility comes the cost of maintaining your eDiscovery environment which includes hiring IT professionals and updating the infrastructure regularly.

If your organization chooses to insource your eDiscovery process, you will need to hire a software company to develop your new software or hosting platform. Of course, you can avoid this if you already have a software engineer on the payroll.

In addition, your new eDiscovery software will need a robust infrastructure to support it. This requires a large investment of capital. If you already have the infrastructure in place, you may have to expand it before you are ready if your organization scales quicker than you’re prepared for.

Lastly, an insourced eDiscovery solution requires trained professionals to make it operational. Not only will you need a team of dedicated attorneys to review the documents, but you’ll need IT staff to maintain the network, software, and hosting platform.

Interested in learning more about the pros and cons of corporate legal insourcing? Check out our blog, Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Your eDiscovery Review Process.

What is eDiscovery Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the transfer of day-to-day operations of a business function or task to an external service provider. For eDiscovery, this means an outside organization is responsible for providing the technology and personnel to collect and review electronic discovery documents.

Because of the high expense associated with maintaining an in-house infrastructure, many legal organizations contract legal service providers or legal technology companies to host and process their eDiscovery documents.

This also means you do not need to keep IT staff or review attorneys on payroll full-time. Instead, your expenses are tied to a few laptops and a reliable connection to the internet.

With less investment in infrastructure, accounting becomes much easier because you’re not looking to make money back on an expensive investment. Your books and budget are simplified, only paying predictable monthly hosting and processing fees.

Other benefits to outsourcing include:

  • Up-to-date software patches to protect you from cybersecurity threats
  • Hosting and processing fees are based strictly on volume
  • Data can be culled to reduce the number of documents processed

Outsourcing means you have to frequently communicate with your legal service provider. The more you outsource, the more management you need to ensure communication is being relayed correctly and different pathways mean the odds of miscommunication increases.

Data transfer time could pose a problem if one party is suffering from a connection issue or if a hard drive has to be physically shipped to the service provider for processing.

Also, you’re dependent on the service provider’s availability. If they have a system outage or are the victim of a natural disaster, you’ll potentially lose access to your data.

A Hybrid eDiscovery Solution

For some organizations, one solution- insourcing or outsourcing- may not be suitable. Different challenges require different solutions and those that find themselves in this position can always consider adopting a hybrid eDiscovery solution.

A hybrid eDiscovery solution finds the best balance between your internal and external resources to perform specific business functions or tasks like eDiscovery collection, processing, and review.

For example, you could use insourcing to cull the data before advancing it to your outsourced processing. Or you could reserve your insourced platform to handle smaller data collections while sending larger data loads to your external service provider.

Tasks to consider for your hybrid approach include:

To determine which solution is best suited to perform each task, you need to consider these challenges for each:

  • ROI – How much will the solution cost and is it cost-effective?
  • Time – How quickly will the solution allow you to perform your eDiscovery tasks?
  • Complexity – How complex is your eDiscovery process and what risks are involved with the solution?

By recognizing your specific needs and comparing them to the benefits and drawbacks of each solution, you can determine which solution – insource, outsource, hybrid – works best for your organization.

Regardless of your decision, CloudNine can help guide you to discovering the right eDiscovery solution for you. We offer an all-in-one processing and hosting solution that you can use on-prem or through our cloud-based eDiscovery platform, giving you the option for insourcing, outsource, or hybrid.

To learn more, request a free demo and see how CloudNine can make your eDiscovery solutions more efficient and affordable.

Don’t Get Spooked by Communication Applications!

Since Halloween is approaching, it’s time to reflect on a scary part of the discovery process: handling communication applications. As a newer form of digital evidence, communication apps can be a legal team’s worst nightmare. Ephemeral messaging apps like Wickr and Signal make conversations disappear like ghosts in the night. Slack and Microsoft Teams have sunk their teeth into the communications of most corporations. Social media apps have entranced us with a spell, prompting our fingers to type a new DM or tweet every other hour. It’s easy to view these applications as monsters in the discovery process. They have revolutionized the world of e-discovery, expanding it to more than just emails and electronic files.  Whether you love them or hate them, communication apps aren’t going anywhere. In fact, their popularity is only rising. Approximately 2.5 billion people use at least one messaging app on their mobile devices. This number is expected to reach 3 billion by the end of next year.[1] Here’s another chilling statistic: in 2020, 41 million application messages were sent every minute. The volume of communication app data is frighteningly large, but its relevance is undeniable. Regardless of case type, (criminal, personal injury, defamation, etc.) litigants should consider its production. Within each channel and group chat lies a plethora of information that could make or break a case. Still afraid? Here’s a list of challenges and solutions for managing communication applications.

Understanding the missing context:

Messages sent on communication applications are often short and sent with little context. Bits and pieces of conversations might be spread out across multiple platforms and group chats. When handling a case, legal teams should identify all relevant communication platforms to connect the missing dots. Litigants should also consider deriving context from atypical sources such as emojis, liked messages, images, and GIFS.[2] These humorous icons and features can reflect the sender’s tone, a difficult thing to gather over text. Remember, images and emojis aren’t supported in all native file types, so it’s important to find an eDiscovery provider that will reconstruct the conversations.[3]

Managing large volumes of data:

Producing and reviewing voluminous data is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. By creating comprehensive retention policies, businesses can proactively determine which data types and channels should be preserved. Within the policies, companies should outline the procedures for labeling, storing, and deleting records.[4] The deletion of unneeded data lowers the risk of massive data accumulation.

Remembering each application’s retention policies:

Applications like Slack and Microsoft Teams will retain all messages unless configured otherwise. Similarly, Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger store data until the account has been deleted.[5] If the account owner deletes or unsends a message, the data will still show on the recipient’s phone. Some of these platforms contain “Recently Deleted” features that make recovery much easier. The policies for collaboration and social media applications are rather straightforward. Ephemeral messaging apps are a bit different; however, the auto-deletion features can be adjusted to the user’s discretion. Auto-deletion settings should be turned off during or in anticipation of litigation.

 

[1] Damjan Jugovic Spajic, “Text, Don’t Call: Messaging Apps Statistics for 2020,” Komando Tech, December 11, 2019, https://kommandotech.com/statistics/messaging-apps-statistics/

[2] Erin Tomine, “Chat Messages and eDiscovery: How to Ease the Burden and Get the Full Picture,” Conduent, July 7, 2021, https://insights.conduent.com/conduent-blog/chat-messages-and-ediscovery-how-to-ease-the-burden-and-get-the-full-picture

[3] Matthew Verga, “Discovery from Slack: It’s Complicated,” Xact Data Discovery, June 19, 2020, https://xactdatadiscovery.com/articles/discovery-from-slack-its-complicated/

[4] Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh, “Electronic Discovery and Data Retention Policies,” Internet Lawyer Blog, May 18, 2020, https://www.internetlawyer-blog.com/electronic-discovery-and-data-retention-policies/

[5] “Data Policy,” Instagram Help Center, https://help.instagram.com/519522125107875