The cloud. There’s no escaping its future as the king of data storage. But, what about lingering concerns over security, especially in the traditionally risk averse world of ediscovery?
With the rapidly accelerating race to introduce faster, more cost-effective, and flexible technology to the ediscovery market, some industry leaders are taking to the cloud as a scalable, virtual, and affordable way to deliver an expanded set of services. Many leading consumers of ediscovery solutions recognize the benefits of cloud-based services and are going all in. Others have not been as quick to embrace the new technologies and are reticent to depart from the traditional approach to ediscovery.
Why the concern? Security. Whether it be a fear of unauthorized access to their data, or of compromised data integrity, or just a general unfamiliarity with what is required, for some, security (or a perceived lack of it) is a deal-breaker. But, security does not have to be a roadblock to progress. In fact, the following breakdown shows how security can be a valuable leverage point for actually justifying a move to the cloud.
Understanding what a public cloud and private cloud are is a good first step towards addressing security concerns
Simply put, the cloud is a model for storing data somewhere other than on your own local computer system and accessing that data via the internet. But, to be sure, the data is not floating around in cyberspace. It is just stored somewhere other than at your facilities.
With a public cloud platform, the data resides at a storage provider’s purpose-built facility that hosts data from a variety of clients, for different purposes, and across different industries. A private cloud platform is a dedicated infrastructure built and designed to service the needs of one organization. Most ediscovery providers like Lighthouse utilize private clouds that are designed to host data for their own clients. Clients should at all times have complete access to and control over the manner in which data is stored and maintained.
But, whether it be public or private, the advantage of a cloud platform is that you do not need to purchase, deploy, and support your own system to store the data. Further, cloud hosting offers rapid scalability (up or down in size), effective disaster recovery, and lower costs.
Be sure the cloud platform you select complies with industry standards
The best cloud platforms strive to meet and maintain stringent standards established by a variety of independent certification bodies. You should expect to see compliance with standards such as SOC 2, Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), ISO 27001, HIPAA, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). ISO 27001 enumerates the risks to the integrity of the system and details controls that address each of these risks. Moreover, as new rules and regulations emerge, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), storage providers must comply with these, as well.
And, while public cloud providers make their living by providing secure data storage, additional security may be gained by using a private cloud platform. A smaller data storage facility, such as is available from some ediscovery solution vendors, can layer the added security of a limited-access environment. Only their clients are authorized to access the data, and their own staff have a more complete presence in every aspect of the services provided. But, a private cloud platform provider should also be held to the very same standards and credentialing requirements as the largest public cloud platform providers.
There is safety in numbers
This is a start, but lawyers are risk-averse, and they are always focused on further reducing risk. Cloud storage is new, and case law, court guidelines, and statutes are still developing. But, there is safety in numbers, and the numbers show that more and more businesses are migrating their data, including entire business information and communication systems, to the cloud. And, this trend will only continue. Microsoft Office 365 currently has over 120,000,000 commercial monthly active users and countingi. Similarly, ediscovery consumers are inevitably moving to the cloud. By 2022, the estimated global spend on cloud-based ediscovery solutions will be $3.42B, with the US market buying $2.4B worth aloneii.
The upshot is that the ediscovery industry, and the clients it supports, are all moving towards the cloud. And with that, ediscovery practice will adapt to and account for cloud storage as a standard, and even a best practice.
The cloud makes sense
The features of cloud hosting that were attractive in the earliest days of the “cloud” revolution are still attractive today. Cloud hosting speeds up ediscovery and cuts costs. More data can be stored, and it can be retrieved faster. The benefits of the cloud outweigh the risks, and the risks that exist are manageable with sound counsel and careful management.
In the end, security might actually be the best argument for moving into the cloud. Engaging a good cloud platform provider, public or private, to bring their core competencies of data storage, and security management to bear, allows ediscovery counsel, technicians, and clients, to focus their core competencies on the matter at hand.
If you have any questions, or would like to further discuss how cloud-hosted ediscovery solutions may benefit you, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
i Foley, Mary Jo. “Microsoft Office 365 Now Hass 120 Million Business Users”. ZDNet. Web. 26 Oct. 2017.
ii Complex Discovery; web; https://complexdiscovery.com/2017/12/22/an-ediscovery-market-size-mashup-2017-2022-worldwide-software-and-services-overview/