The shift to the cloud is happening at a blistering pace, and in its wake lie many discontinued on-premise solutions.
Earlier this year, IPRO disclosed that it will sunset Eclipse SE, and last year, Thomson Reuters announced that they were retiring eDiscovery Point. More and more of these legacy platforms are falling by the wayside, and unfortunately, users are often left dealing with the consequences.
Legal professionals either have the option to continue using discontinued ediscovery software without any technical or live support or deal with the long and sometimes complicated process of finding a new solution.
The Implications of Sunsetting Ediscovery Software
The reasons for discontinuing ediscovery software are many, but ultimately it comes down to one thing: money. Modernizing software and committing to consistent innovation does not come cheap; for many providers, the cost does not justify the means from a business perspective.
That lack of investment can rear its ugly head when years of building on old source code make it difficult to keep up with the rest of the industry. Providers may simply decide that it is more efficient to end support altogether while urging customers to pursue a new offering.
The unfortunate part of all this is that the user ends up footing the bill. First off, the headaches associated with migrating cases to a new platform — a process that, without the right support, can be complicated, lengthy, and costly, especially for those who host terabytes of data. Secondly, training up legal teams on the intricacies of a new platform can leave little time to do actual legal work. Third, getting internal stakeholders to agree on a singular solution can prove challenging, and if there’s no consensus, legal teams can find themselves piecemealing various platforms to handle multiple use cases.
These potential issues make the prospect of using outdated software almost palatable. Almost.
The Risks of Using Unsupported Software
While it might be tempting to stick to the norm, in this case, an unsupported and out-of-date ediscovery product, numerous challenges can arise as a result.
When an ediscovery provider ends support for a product, they typically won’t issue new security updates for it, leaving users open to security threats. And speaking of security considerations, regulatory compliance can become a significant pain point and result in hefty fines as domestic and foreign governments continue to create new legislation to prioritize data security.
Additionally, there’s no guarantee that the outdated product will be compatible with future needs, which can create an unnecessarily large tech stack with mismatched, expensive, and unreliable tools. As discontinued products stop working in the same capacity they did in their heyday, users are left without any technical support, on their own to address any potential bugs.
Entrusting privileged data and multiple workflows to a discontinued ediscovery software is simply too risky of a proposition for most legal professionals.
How to Respond to a Discontinuation
Fortunately, the ediscovery industry is currently in the midst of a cloud-based revolution, so there are great alternatives available to those leaving their on-premise solutions. However, the evaluation process can leave legal professionals more confused and frustrated than they were at the start.
What to Look for When Selecting a New Ediscovery Platform
Many approach the process of selecting an ediscovery software as a means to an end, yet given ediscovery’s outsized importance (not just as a tool but as a value driver), it’s critical to see ediscovery software less as a one-off purchase and more as the start of a long-term relationship with a trusted business partner. The right solution should check all the boxes for an organization and ensure that their needs will not only be met in the present but in the future.
When vetting ediscovery software, legal should look for the following qualities:
- User-Friendly Platform. Technology users develop a standard for their expected experience, and the more consistent an experience is with these expectations, the faster users can adopt it. Consistency is especially valuable in litigation, where it can reduce the time needed for document review, decrease costs, and minimize onboarding time.
- Continuous Innovation. The legal industry is adapting rapidly to keep up with the rate of digital transformation. New sources of data are adding to massive amounts of ESI entering the discovery process, with new strategies and approaches needed to both process and review the data, and make sense of key facts across ever-growing communication channels. Ediscovery vendors that prioritize innovation help foster stronger collaboration, more efficient workflows, and better legal work.
- Commitment to Security and Compliance. The biggest proof that an ediscovery vendor can provide is validation from a respected third party. The right solution should have its own security certifications, not just simply referring to those of its vendors. Great examples of credentials may include FedRAMP authorization, SOC 2 Type II certification, and support for GDPR and HIPAA compliance.
Migrating Data to a New Ediscovery Platform
Migrating data from one platform to another can cause the biggest headaches of them all. Data migrations can be costly and complicated if not done correctly, so the key is in the planning. Designating a point person, typically a litigation support specialist or an IT manager, that can manage the process of preserving, producing, and transferring ESI is crucial.
While data migration involves moving electronic files from one location to another, the migration method is critical in terms of efficiency, accuracy, and security of the data. The right ediscovery solution delivers a seamless process by determining specific data needs and challenges from the onset and providing accurate time estimates for the migration.
Moving Past Discontinued Ediscovery Software
An on-premise ediscovery system typically requires a costly upfront investment from an organization in terms of hardware, software, and IT support. With this level of financial commitment, it’s understandable why there might be hesitation in walking away from a sunsetted ediscovery software. But, for those surveying the market, it’s becoming more and more evident that the present and future of ediscovery lives in the cloud. In a recent survey of nearly 200 legal professionals, nearly all respondents (96%) said that cloud-based ediscovery is already the norm or will become so within the next two years.
Adopting cloud-based ediscovery solutions has become more appealing as the growing sizes of data sets continue to outpace the potency of out-of-date software. Now more than ever, legal professionals must continue improving security, speed, and efficiency to navigate the constantly evolving world of ediscovery. If you are facing the prospect of a discontinued solution, you may be facing a blessing in disguise. With cloud-based ediscovery increasingly the norm, and with stark advantages conferred to those who have moved to the cloud, there’s no better time to make the transition.
Need a new solution but don’t know where to start? Check out “Ediscovery Buyer’s Checklist: Doing Your Due Diligence Before You Take the Plunge” to find out!