Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2017-12-13 19:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

For several years I have monitored the slow recognition and rise of mobile device content in civil discovery. I have run annual surveys, market reports and even put on mobile eDiscovery boot camps. Although it has taken longer than I expected back, I am now encountering substantial vendor charges to acquire, process and review text messages, chat conversations and other ‘business communications’ from Android and iOS phones during my annual ‘eDiscovery Cost/ROI Savings’ reports for long term clients. They are often surprised at how clever providers low ball the collection fees down to $250-400/device while burying exorbitant forensic tech time charges in the processing fees. My clients thought they understood the cost to agreeing to add phones to the accessible ESI source list, only to get sticker shock when I add up all the subsequent forensic time and data processing charges for an average $2,500+ per device total cost just to get it into Relativity. I encourage clients and peers to think through and demand estimates for the total cost associated with what I call 3rd generation ESI data sources before acquiescing to the typical overly broad discovery request. If you embrace the classic, “preserve broadly and review narrowly” model, you may consider investing in basic software and training to enable your corporate legal support or data security teams image unlocked mobile devices when the content is potentially relevant. So how much will that cost?

As it happens, I just helped a client identify several appropriate desktop acquisition software and training packages based on published list pricing. I figured that I might as well share that with my readers as you are putting in your 2018 budget requests. As always, get your own quotes and I bet you can beat the published prices. In this case, the client’s litigation profile did not justify the expense of a dedicated acquisition appliance such as the Cellebrite UFED or Logicube CellXtract. So I narrowed the substantial list of mobile eDiscovery products down to the three below based on my own hands on experience and ability to easily perform basic collections/extractions from unlocked iPhones and Android phones. Although my friend Craig Ball made a good case for using the free backup options for preservation, the relatively low cost of software/training have kept that off my best practice list. So a rough budget of $4,000-6,000 per users/desktop should enable your in-house teams to image custodian devices for typical civil litigation preservations. I highly recommend that your hold protocol include written counsel confirmation that the matter does not involve PIN cracking, potential criminal charges, fraud or bad actors. These red flags may justify using an external provider, even if your in-house investigators have advanced training and certifications. Plausible deniability is priceless when you run into a rooted phone with corrupted content or malware that has to be turned over to a regulator or law enforcement.




List Price

SMS Annual





EnCase Forensic





4 day virtual course, basic forensic acquisitions and processing with EnCase


E3: DS





DS Basic Training – online – $159
Mobile Basics Training Course Online – $995 (not DS, just overall mobile device forensics)
E3:MFT Mobile Fast Track – on site $1,595 – PLUS travel


MPE+ nField





MPE+ nField – $1,995
MPE+ with 2 year SMS – $1,777.49 MPE+ training – live online – 3 days – http://www.accessdata.com/training


The bottom line is that mobile device content is increasingly relevant and requested in discovery. It is not cost effective to bring in providers for every mew legal hold. Corporations need basic preservation capabilities for every new mobile or cloud ESI source that employees are using to conduct business.


Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients. His active research topics include analytics, mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365/2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. Greg is no longer a journalists and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? eDJ Group is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations.

Below the fold:

Looking back at 2017, it has been a whirlwind year in my personal and business life. I hope that 2017 treated you right. I look ahead at 2018 in the hope for a bit more stability and time to resume creative endeavors/hobbies. We all need a life outside of eDiscovery. Here are a couple pics from our annual dive trip to remind you of that. Happy holidays!


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