Thought Leadership and Industry Trends
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Is it right for me?
By Peter Florian, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, CDS.
As eDiscovery tools become more powerful and data storage costs become less expensive, the value of outsourcing to a cloud provider has risen significantly. A managed services model allows elements of the eDiscovery process, such as infrastructure, hosting, processing, and project management, to be outsourced to a service provider, providing important benefits to corporations and law firms.
However, managed services is not a one size fits all model. That’s where IaaS comes in. In the right situation, it can provide total control of eDiscovery without the need for building an expensive infrastructure.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is defined as “a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet. In an IaaS model, a third-party provider hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of its users.” For some companies and firms, it offers a great solution for their needs, but it’s not right for everyone. There are several key questions to consider before making the decision to use IaaS, including the following:
- Do we have the internal resources to manage eDiscovery? While IaaS provides the infrastructure, the client manages its own data, including uploading, processing, review, and production. Clients should have a full understanding of what is entailed in handling such work. Do they have the appropriate protocols, procedures, and knowledge internally to take on this burden?
- Should we invest in adding the staff and software needed to manage an eDiscovery hub? Clients who decide to handle eDiscovery internally will need to add staff to serve as project managers and technicians. EDiscovery service providers have proprietary technology including dashboards, data visualization, and tools like early case assessment (ECA) to enhance eDiscovery without incurring capital expense. In addition, they have experienced staff familiar with all aspects of the eDiscovery process. For those who choose IaaS, on-demand support and training is still available from the service provider, however, the point of IaaS is for the client to manage the work on its own.
- Can we find a service provider who has the necessary capacity, sophistication, and security to meet our infrastructure needs? With an IaaS model, the client and eDiscovery service provider determine the client’s requirements and contract for the necessary hardware, software, processing power, storage, and capacity. The service provider’s flexibility is key. The client should have the option to contract for all or part of what they may need to accomplish their eDiscovery processes. Another essential part of the arrangement should be security, especially since the client’s data will be stored in the cloud. It is crucial for the infrastructure provider to maintain security at the highest level.
IaaS is best for companies and firms who have robust internal teams for managing eDiscovery. For others, there are still many options for using managed services to improve and enhance eDiscovery.