eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Trends: Cloud Computing – A Lot of Benefit for the Cost


An interesting article in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel provides some useful, well-described benefits of cloud computing for eDiscovery (Cloud Computing And E-Discovery: Maximum Gain, Minimum Cost, written by Miró Cassetta).  The author provides some good analogies to explain the different cloud service models, differences between private and public clouds and the benefits of using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application.  Let’s take a look.

As the author notes, the cloud uses three service models:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Provides virtualized physical hardware (computers, processing, storage and servers) accessible through the web (e.g., Amazon Web Services providing access to different types of virtualized servers).
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS): In addition to the infrastructure, it provides a virtual toolkit to allow developers to create software (e.g., Facebook, which enables developers to create apps specific to the its site).
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS): On demand access to a specific application within the infrastructure and platform (e.g., OnDemand®, which happens to be CloudNine Discovery’s linear review application).  The SaaS model is the most common for organizations managing eDiscovery related data in the cloud.

The author uses the “concept of tenancy” to differentiate private clouds (single-tenant, typically used for a company’s internal work) and public clouds (multiple tenants (or clients) sharing space, like an apartment building).  If you’re using an outside provider for cloud services that has other clients, you’re likely using a public cloud.  With regard to security, the author notes the importance of ensuring that your SaaS provider has certain security measures in place and provides a list of questions at the end to ask the provider to understand more.  One of the questions, “How much of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) spectrum does the system encompass?”, should bear further investigation as those who claim end-to-end eDiscovery solutions may not necessarily provide it seamlessly.  On the other hand, if you’re looking for specific EDRM coverage (e.g., a collection or review tool), coverage of those specific components may be all you need.

The author also lists several benefits of the SaaS model, including:

  • Access Anytime, Anywhere: One of the biggest benefits is the ability to access whenever and share with whomever you want.  This supports outside counsel teams in multiple locations, or even sharing with co-counsel firms or experts.
  • Efficient Resource Use: Pooling of resources (storage, memory and network) for multiple clients by the cloud provider yields economies of scale that makes it more affordable and more scalable for all.
  • Accommodation at a Moment’s Notice: SaaS providers are always supporting needs for clients to add data or users, so the process is (or at least should be) seamless.
  • Quick Start-Up: Imagine not having to purchase hardware or software or other infrastructure to get a software application up and running.  SaaS providers already have that in place, they just need to sign you up and get going.  Have you ever set up a Facebook account or used SalesForce.com?  It’s that easy.
  • Transparent Billing: Because SaaS services are billed monthly, the costs are more predictable than the costs associated with in-house solutions.  It’s also a true “pay as you go” model, which means you only pay for what you need, for as long as you need it.
  • Team of Experts: Expertise is expensive.  Just like hardware and software resources, expertise provided by the SaaS provider (necessary to provide great client service and support both day-to-day operations and periodic software and hardware updates) can be pooled among its clients, making it more economical for all.

A link to the article appears at the top of this post.

So, what do you think?  Do you use any SaaS solutions for eDiscovery?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.