The corporate ediscovery landscape largely depends on outsourcing work to service providers and outside counsel. In the early days of ediscovery, legal professionals would routinely purchase managed seats for review from service providers because of the expertise and infrastructure required to collect, process, and host data. In the past, many buyers purchased ediscovery software in a one-off fashion, waiting until an emergency forced them to buy the tools they often needed at the last minute from a service provider. However, this “one-off” approach typically leads to waste and inefficient processes, which makes the idea of bringing ediscovery in-house an appealing option.
Though on-premises software used to dominate the market, the corporate ediscovery landscape now has many cloud players with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, enabling more organizations to shift ediscovery operations in-house. There are now cloud-based solutions (which automatically processes and spins up review instances) that have solved many past pain points with service providers and on-premises software. There are various reasons why corporate legal departments should consider bringing ediscovery in-house with a cloud solution.
1. Greater Efficiency
First, shifting ediscovery in-house, or keeping as much in-house as possible, enables companies to handle matters immediately and with greater efficiency. Bringing ediscovery in-house creates efficient processes by enabling re-use of work product, building a team of institutionalized experts, and mitigating redundant, obsolete, and trivial data (i.e., R.O.T.).
2. Better Cost Control
In addition to greater efficiency, bringing ediscovery in-house with a cloud-based software helps control costs by reducing or cutting unnecessary spending. Organizations pay a fraction of the price for data hosting without having to pay additional fees for processing. In other words, organizations no longer need to pay third-parties for processing on top of hosting fees since the subscription fee covers it already.
3. Decreased Risks
Shifting to a cloud-based in-house ediscovery solution allows users to maintain data control and reduces security risks. When leveraging a third party vendor, organizations must first copy the data and then give it to the third party. By copying the data, it exists in multiple different places and adds risk to exposing this sensitive information. As a result, the risk of a security breach is higher when an organization does not fully control the data. Therefore, bringing a cloud-based ediscovery solution in-house must be a priority for organizations looking to operate in the most secure fashion in a distributed environment.
4. Improved Collaboration
In-house legal teams frequently work cross-functionally with internal and external teams, so collaboration is very fundamental to their success. Leveraging an in-house cloud ediscovery solution ensures that you’re making the most of your team’s time in every case since teams can get on the same page and better align with one another. A consolidated platform centralizes communications, saving teams hours of lost productivity and reducing the risk of mishandled data. Innovative cloud ediscovery tools enable teams to share and communicate directly in the platform to promote secure, seamless collaboration.
5. Adjacent Use Cases
Ediscovery software is often associated with litigation, but there are various other things that legal professionals can do with it. Alternative use cases for ediscovery software include internal investigations, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, data privacy compliance, and many more. The #MeToo movement gave rise to employees coming forward with workplace harassment claims, thereby leading to companies conducting more internal investigations into allegations.
In turn, many organizations started spinning up a lot of small matters for these internal investigations. Additionally, government agencies are increasingly leveraging ediscovery software to better manage FOIA requests. Recent data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA have added Data Subject Access Rights requests (DSARs) to the mix of adjacent use cases as well.
Bringing ediscovery in-house with a cloud solution clearly has many benefits ranging from efficiency, cost savings, decreased security risks, collaboration, and adjacent use cases, amongst many more. So, as you consider bringing ediscovery in-house moving forward: would your organization benefit from adopting an in-house ediscovery model? If so, how do you justify this organizational change?