Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2010-02-17 11:18:25  Thanks to the buzz over “the cloud” at LegalTech 2010, I’ve felt the need to address it in the context of eDiscovery.  In Part 1 of this little series, I went over what I view as the significant promise in the short-term of utility computing – using the cloud to achieve cost-savings for long-term storage.To level-set, remember that “the cloud” refers to several component parts (from the InfoWorld article What Cloud Computing Really Means):-       Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – delivering an application such as word processing through the browser-       Utility computing – storage and virtual server accessible on demand, e.g. Amazon S3-       Web services in the cloud – APIs that enable developers to exploit functionality over the Web-       Platform-as-a-Service – development environments delivered as a service-       Managed Service Providers (MSP) – applications delivered to IT departments rather than end-users, e.g. email virus scanning-       Service Commerce Platforms – a service hub that users interact with-       Internet integration – integration of various cloud-based servicesWhile utility computing holds much promise, there are also examples of SaaS being used effectively in the eDiscovery market. EDD processors offer a web-based interface to case data.  These interfaces provide varying levels of review functionality.  When you think about it, hosted review has long been a staple of this market and the review platforms of vendors like CaseCentral, Kroll Ontrack, and Iron Mountain / Stratify are really SaaS applications.The virtues of SaaS are often debated.  Clearly, it is simple and cost-effective to get hosted applications up and running quickly and the up-front costs are lower compared to on-premise software.  But, to be more focused, however, what are the pros and cons of SaaS as it relates to eDiscovery?Feel free to comment and add any pros and cons of your own – here’s my list:Pros–       Fast, simple deployment – in eDiscovery, short time-frames are the norm and organizations often don’t have time to conduct a full-scale software deployment.-       Low cost of startup – software requires a large up-front investment that often means going through a capital expense process.  All the red tape associated with getting budgets for software can slow down projects.  The lower initial investment in SaaS can make it easier to get budget approval and make the expense more palatable.-       Limited long-term commitment – because eDiscovery is managed matter-by-matter in many cases, organizations like the fact that they can stop paying for applications when not using the apps.  The ability to turn apps on and off as needed can e very attractive (especially in today’s economy).-       Support of distributed environments – legal professionals conducting review of information may be located in various geographies.   Being able to quickly deliver a review application without needing to deploy a rich client to a user’s desktop delivers fast value.  This is also very helpful if there are multiple law firms involved in the review of one set of data.-       Scalability and flexible performance – because SaaS applications use shared computing resources, it is possible that these apps will work faster and be more responsive than dedicated software.  There is also a perception that SaaS providers can handle larger amounts of data because doing so is their core competency.  This is true to some extent in the eDiscovery world.  The truth is that there is not a great way to judge scale other than via customer testimonials.Cons–       Security – in eDiscovery, the sensitivity of data is huge.  Many organizations are reluctant to allow access to data over the Internet via a third party provider.-       Control – it’s natural for organizations to want more control over how their tools and data function and are managed.  Organizations with large IT staffs may desire to purchase software and manage it on their own.-       Customization – the user interface of most SaaS applications is built for the masses.  While there is some level of customization allowed, some organizations want to develop packaged software to their own requirements (this is highly related to the control issue above).There are still many open questions about the cloud as it relates to eDiscovery.  Please add your comments and we can keep a dynamic list of pros and cons.  Thanks!

0 0 votes
Article Rating