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Start Ups Try to Bring eDiscovery to the Cloud

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

Have you heard about The Cloud? Of course you have. For the last five years or so, cloud computing -- using remote servers, accessible via the Internet, to store, manage and process data -- has been everywhere. There's cloud-based apps, cloud-based accounting, even cloud-based operating systems of sorts.

What there hasn't been much of is cloud-based eDiscovery. Two new start ups are focused on changing that, offering electronic discovery services built from the ground up to take advantage of the scalability, processing power, and lower cost of cloud computing.

Most eDiscovery Remains on the Ground

In May, the information technology research and advising firm Gartner released an analysis of the eDiscovery market. (You can purchase a copy of the report for $1,995, a bargain at just under $77 per page, or get it for free from many of the companies it evaluates.) Of the 20 major eDiscovery companies examined, only five reviews (for CommVault, HP, Nuix, Symantec and Xerox) mentioned available cloud-based options, and then for only certain products.

Perhaps the reluctance to embrace the cloud is justified. After all, cloud-based eDiscovery can raise potential legal issues, such as where the actual documents are stored, how securely they are kept, and what laws apply once a document has been hosted on a third-party server. Those are largely solvable problems, however.

Upstarts Focused on the Cloud

If the major players aren't moving to the cloud, newer entrants into the market are. The Gartner report highlights two smaller eDiscovery companies who've yet to break into the major leagues but are still "vendors to watch." Everlaw and Zapproved have both designed eDiscovery platforms based around the cloud. 

Everlaw, a Berkeley, California, start up, has built its technological architecture around cloud computing, allowing it to offer simple pricing models based around data capacity. Its proprietary predictive coding engine, according to Gartner, is easy to learn and simple to use, gaining it a customer base made largely of federal agencies and law firms.

Zapproved, from Portland, Oregon, offers cloud-native legal-hold and discovery technology. The company's eDiscovery is focused on data preservation and cloud processing. For a cloud-first company, however, Zapproved is focused on finding ways to "leave data where it resides," collecting only what is needed and processing it on the cloud, according to VP of Products Brad Harris.

One of the greatest benefits of cloud computing is that it allows affordable, scalable and flexible storage and computing to eDiscovery, without the need to have massive computer systems in-house. Whether that will be enough to change the eDiscovery market remains to be seen, but at least these two companies believe it will.

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