Next major legal tech trend? E-Discovery in the cloud

The term “cloud” is being thrown around a lot lately. In fact, some would argue it’s become the phrase du jour for the tech world. There’s Apple’s iCloud, Google’s cloud computing services, and Amazon CloudDrive, just to name a few. With the amount of new services popping up that utilize the cloud, it’s quickly becoming a hot topic for the movers and shakers of the tech world.

Cloud Computing Companies1 resized 600What is the cloud? 

Think of it this way: Almost everyone who uses a computer knows what a USB flash/stick/thumb drive is. The tiny little drives store gigabytes of information and can be accessed at any time on different devices as long as they’re quipped with USB ports.

The cloud operates the same way – except it’s a virtual drive. For example, with Apple’s iCloud, a user can store music, pictures, movies and documents, and just about anything on Apple’s servers can be accessed on any Apple device. So, use an Apple Macbook to write up that business proposal, store it to the Apple’s cloud servers, and then access it later at work on an iPad or an iPhone.

Apple isn’t the only game in town, though. Dropbox.com has offered free online storage services for some time now, even before the cloud became the “next big thing.”

Not just a fad

There are plenty of fads that come and go in the tech world but count on cloud computing to become a fixture in the daily life of businesses and people. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), customers are expected to $42 billion on cloud computing alone.

IDC also projects that “by 2020, a significant portion of the Digital Universe will be centrally hosted, managed, or stored in” cloud services. “And even if a single byte in the Digital Universe does not ‘live in the cloud’ permanently, it will, in all likelihood, pass through the cloud at some point in its life.”

What This Means for Ediscovery?

Though more and more businesses and organizations are considering switching over to the cloud for their data storage and archiving needs, it’s becoming increasingly clear that most of these groups simply have no electronic discovery (ediscovery) plan set for cloud computing.

According to a Forbes survey, “The Cloud and eDiscovery,” ediscovery plans were uncommon among respondents, with only about 16 percent of those using cloud-based services creating one before migrating to a cloud-based form of data storage.

A whopping 58 percent simply didn’t know if they had a plan or not. When facing litigation, those organizations will be left struggling in a high-pressure situation to gather necessary cloud-based data. Inevitably this will lead to high costs and difficulty making quick, sound legal decisions.

Solution: Ediscovery plans are essential for any organization using the cloud for information storage. These plans should cover each cloud-based service being used, and they should spell out how the information is to be accessed, service-level agreements for how quickly it’s retrieved, who own custody of the data, and any other advanced services that are to be included.

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