first published on Mar 6, 2014 in Inside Counsel
Today’s global economy has generated multinational companies of all sizes, with offices spread across continents and jurisdictions, rendering the “copy and ship” approach to discovery a potential disaster. But can the use of mobile technology and cloud computing mitigate these challenges?
This article will look at these challenges and outline what your company should be aware of and what precautions you can take to avoid any disasters. This three-part series has consisted of the following topics: Available resources (vendors, consultants) outside of the U.S., the effects of cultural differences and data privacy regulations, and innovative use of technology.
E-discovery on the go
As mentioned in part 1 of this series, it can be extremely difficult to find experienced litigation support and e-discovery resources outside of the United States. One might expect to be able to make a quick call to any number of locations in Europe or Asia, but there simply are not any local vendors or consultants there and, if there are, their qualifications are questionable. However, the evolution of computer hardware, operating systems and e-discovery software has enabled innovative U.S. service providers to develop portable e-discovery solutions which can be utilized at virtually any location in the world, becoming an experienced “local resource” wherever and whenever needed.
Portable e-discovery workstations can be self-contained or “work grouped” to provide on-site, near-site or off-site e-discovery solutions which include data collection, early data assessment, data processing, and document review services to suit the specific requirements of a given matter.
These high performance workstations provide a cost-effective alternative to the typical industry approach of “copy and ship” data to an off-site facility for downstream processing. While shipping data back to the United States might be suitable for some projects, it can prove challenging when dealing with matter having cross-border privacy concerns, tight deadlines, trade secrets or a lack of appropriate resources. Furthermore, portable e-discovery solutions do not only alleviate these challenges of shipping data, but often can do so at competitive price points which are comparable to using a local vendor in the United States.
Cloudy with a chance of innovation
Since its initial beginnings, e-discovery has been transformed drastically, now having an exciting array of technology options for managing data which is exponentially different in variety, scale, source and complexity. This is further complicated by today’s trend toward the globalization of many industries, the proliferation of multi-national companies and the complexities of cross border litigation.
Cloud computing, defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction,” has made cross-border e-discovery significantly easier, with providers such as Amazon Web Services providing virtually unlimited on-demand capacity from secure data centers in Brazil, China, Ireland, Japan, Singapore and the United States. As a significant additional benefit to this capacity and footprint, a group of cloud servers can provide the same processing and storage capabilities as a single high-end server for a fraction of the price.
Innovative solutions have come online which leverage a cloud infrastructure to provide superior performance, reliability, security and functionality at ultra-competitive price points. These innovative e-discovery platforms have escaped from the legacy architecture of massive servers, storage devices and data centers to the freedom of on-demand cloud computing, which can strategically store evidentiary data within regional centers for secure review by legal teams around the word.
The use of mobile technology and cloud computing can certainly mitigate the challenges of cross-border litigation by reducing the complexities of multinational companies with offices spread across continents and jurisdictions. Mobile technology and cloud computing simply render the “copy and ship” approach to discovery as a distant option for cross-border discovery.