Attorneys and service providers that use specialized tools to quickly collect and compile tens of thousands of social media records for e-discovery will eventually be storing -- and searching -- these records in the cloud.
It makes sense. The original records -- the tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Pinterest pictures, and other social media permanent records of potential interest to either or both parties -- already swirl around the cloud. And, with solutions like X1 Discovery capturing an unlimited number of social media data, it's easy to see why firms' IT departments wouldn't want to pay for more and more on-site storage devices (and the related management, backup, and security associated with them).
Cloud also means e-discovery professionals will increasingly need to search cloud-based data for busy law firms, according to Nextpoint's DiscoveryCloud blog:
Because more data lives entirely on cloud servers, corporations continue to embrace social media, and companies continue to move to cloud-based email and Google Docs, eDiscovery will increasingly be a cloud-based affair.
When it comes to storage for e-discovery, scalability is crucial, according to eDiscovery Journal. Experts in this field never know how much data they'll unearth; it's vital, then, to have a storage system that can grow (or shrink) quickly. I can't think of anything that does that better or more affordably than a hosted model.
That's not to say the path to e-discovery in the cloud will be far from tumultuous. There have been some headline-making side trips: In June 2011, the city of Los Angeles revised its contract with Google to migrate the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to its cloud applications after the LAPD was dissatisfied with the software's ability to deal with e-discovery.
It's also vital that cloud management is centralized, not only for IT and cost-savings, but also for the legal team that has to defend (or possibly attack for) your company. As writers James Berriman, CEO of Evidox, and Jack Notarangelo, director of information management at RSM McGladrey, describe in a website for their book, eDiscovery in the Cloud: A Nightmare Scenario, the ability of departments or teams to wander off and ink their own cloud deals could be catastrophic if a company is sued and e-discovery begins.
And all too often, at least according to a 2011 Forbes report, organizations implement cloud without considering e-discovery at all -- or thinking about it it far too late in the implementation for them to do anything about it. Now, 2011 may as well be 1989 in technology years, so I'm sure a lot of enterprises have wised up already. But unfortunately, many more probably haven't.
On the other hand, lawsuits continue. So does cloud adoption. And so does e-discovery. And that's why it's critical that all departments are involved before a cloud implementation, and that organizations figure out how they're going to deal with this issue before they start moving more information into the cloud.