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Why Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) Should Leverage the Cloud When Choosing eDiscovery Technology

Oct 26, 2022

eDiscovery touches companies of all sizes, but there’s often a large gap in how these entities can respond. Large enterprises often have the resources to staff in-house litigation support departments dedicated to eDiscovery. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), however, face the same data challenges as larger organizations but may not have the resources to support a dedicated internal staff. 

Traditionally, the solution was to outsource electronic discovery needs to law firms with internal eDiscovery capabilities and infrastructure and/or subcontract the projects to an eDiscovery service provider. Even now, according to the 2022 ACC Chief Legal Officers Survey, “four in ten CLOs expect to send more work to law firms this year, and one in four anticipates outsourcing more legal work to alternative legal service providers (ALSPs). 

While outsourcing might simplify the process for legal departments with limited staff, selecting the wrong outsourcing partner can be more detrimental at times than maintaining the status quo. Sacrificing control and flexibility in technology solutions and electronic discovery costs can result in decentralization of data and lack of transparency, introducing new risks. 

Fortunately, companies with lean legal teams have more options than ever for managing the eDiscovery process that don’t require special training or certifications. Cloud-based eDiscovery platforms are shifting the data management landscape by giving companies of all sizes on-demand access to tools that empower them to take control of their data. While going full DIY is not yet within reach for many eDiscovery teams, the right eDiscovery solution can help in-house practitioners achieve a balance between self-determination and comprehensive support. 

Here are some of the ways small and medium-sized businesses can leverage the cloud for their eDiscovery:

  • Lower costs: The single biggest hurdle for companies looking to control their eDiscovery is the cost of infrastructure and maintenance. However, cloud providers handle all aspects of hardware, server maintenance, and software upgrades to eliminate the infrastructure burden. With cloud eDiscovery solutions like RelativityOne, DISCO EDiscovery, Reveal, and more, companies can expand their capabilities without investing in new hardware, so when they need additional storage space or processing speed it is available. Similarly, they can scale back their cloud usage – and lower overall discovery costs – when matters reach completion and storage needs decrease. Cloud data governance enhancements and automation can have an immediate impact on a company’s bottom line.
  • Data security: With evolving cyber threats, remote workers and companies face greater data management and security challenges. Cloud service providers invest time and resources into the hardware/software that they provide, eliminating the security burden while meeting the required security standards. For example, RelativityOne is backed by Microsoft Azure, and DISCO is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), both best-in-class cloud service providers for maintenance, availability, speed and data security.
  • Streamlined case evaluation: The scope, complexity and expense of eDiscovery matters has expanded with increasing data volumes and new data types. More than ever, eDiscovery practitioners and stakeholders in corporations and law firms need access to real-time metrics and transparent reporting that can improve process and quality, reveal cost saving opportunities, and even drive legal strategy. An advantage of best-in-breed, cloud-based eDiscovery platforms is their ability to display, with some customization, powerful visualizations and sophisticated matter insights to drive efficient, data-centric decision making across the EDRM.
  • Instant access: When eDiscovery data resides in the cloud, it is always available and can be easily accessed from any location on any device. Users with a login and internet connection can securely access information from anywhere, which provides immediate access to the necessary tools and facilitates collaboration across teams working in-office or remotely. Managers of remote review teams can deploy advanced security technology alongside cloud-based eDiscovery solutions to create distinct data environments, protect confidential information, maintain a consistent workflow, and QC in real time.
  • Integrated AIThe volume and diversity of text-based data and the cost of reviewing that data manually has quickly accelerated the need for cutting-edge eDiscovery techniques. The newest generation of cloud-based eDiscovery tools have the AI baked in. As reviewers code documents, these systems learn, matter by matter, to distinguish relevant from non-relevant documents, to recognize similar tags and decisions, streamlining and empowering users to focus on the material that matters most to their case.
  • Flexible service delivery:  With end-to-end, cloud-hosted eDiscovery, organizations can determine how much control they want over their data at every stage of the EDRM – from legal hold and processing to review and production. Depending on the complexity and scope of the matter, and their available resources, they might move between mostly self-service eDiscovery to enabled-service capabilities, even hybrid solutions, small- to medium-sized businesses can take some – or all – of the functionality in-house to be managed by their teams. When large and complex matters arise, legal teams can turn to an eDiscovery managed services provider like CDS for consulting and project management. With a depth of experience across industries and case types, the right eDiscovery partner can streamline the process and help ensure the best outcome.

CDS offers on-demand eDiscovery via RelativityOne and DISCO, as well as 20+ industry-leading legal technologies and proprietary innovations that provide significant benefits to organizations big and small. Contact us today to learn how CDS can help you right-size your eDiscovery.

About the Author

<a href="https://cdslegal.com/team/richard-das/" target="_blank">Richard Das</a>

Richard Das

In his role as Vice President of Operations, Richard is responsible for supporting day-to-day operations of core services at CDS. He has been the solution architect behind many complex discovery matters including DOJ second requests and international matters during his tenure at the company.