COLBY: So let us get started here. Thank you all for joining us. Today our panelists include Daniel Garrie. He is the General Counsel and managing partner at FSRDG. He is also managing partner at Alternative Resolution Centers and is an eDiscovery Special Master. Welcome, Daniel.
I would also like to welcome David Whitehead, the Director at Baker Robbins. David manages a variety of cases for large city and federal government offices starting to develop online delivery solutions that include media, security and artificial intelligence. And I am Colby Dyess, Director of Product Management. I will play host and moderator for today's discussion. So, thank you all.
Let's get started. We have a pretty straightforward agenda. We want to talk a little bit about SaaS (software as a service)—based eDiscovery, its potential benefits and, of course, tips for evaluating SaaS and ensuring that you can be successful in using SaaS-based eDiscovery solutions. Now to really get ourselves started, we should probably get everyone on the same page because SaaS is relatively new and we think of SaaS as software as a service. One way to look at SaaS is to consider it as a way of providing applications, business applications and resources to a web or centralized location. This is very different from the way that services had been provided over the past 15 years or so, where that model within a company might include an IT department that is delivering business applications or service to the users, or knowledge workers in that company. But more and more, things have been moving to a “cloud” or software as a service model where this centralized service provider allows many users to access the software business application on-demand and at scale over secure networks. So it turns out that many of us are really familiar with software as a service. And so today's discussion is about eDiscovery in the cloud.
DANIEL: I just wanted to add that one key thing is not only are businesses adopting it, but they're certainly migrating their core business functions, for example Google enterprise docs or Microsoft Office 365, forward to the cloud. It’s more than just using a more discreet process. We're seeing them move massive, business critical and key pieces to the cloud. I think that's an important part when we're discussing cloud-based and software as a service as a whole. David, is there anything that you wanted to add to that?
DAVID: Well, yes. Certainly software as a service, strictly speaking, includes all of these end service applications. But there are the other portions such as lower-level services, database services, virtualized servers and other functions that can be capitalized and used in a more flexible way. It's not just the hosting of Word, but hosting the record management component of it, where the documents are stored, or the indexing of those documents. That's also interesting and useful. think that these things have a lot of variety, and that services will market well because, based on whatever is in, whatever your corporate culture is, your odds are likely you will be able to find a service that will fit with what you need either wholesale or pieces in time.
COLBY: So, it's interesting, because businesses have adopted more of those services, and they take each of the individual pieces, as David was just mentioning. You don't have to take everything, but you can pick and choose which would be the right services for your business. I think it really plays out very well in eDiscovery. You can take a look at the major pieces for eDiscovery, just based on EDRM. I think that all of these pieces fit in the cloud. There’s a role for them and a distinct capability that is provided in the cloud for each of these.
So, for information management, you are talking about how clients are moving their data out into the cloud. This presents a new challenge for them to manage their data out in the cloud.
DANIEL: I think that's a great point. Not only does it present a challenge for managing the data, but also for how you effectively drive, access and implement eDiscovery when it’s operating in a cloud environment. eDiscovery itself can also be done in the cloud, or different pieces of it can be done in the cloud, based on a multitude of underlying drivers. David, do you have any points to throw in around that?
DAVID: Sure. Somehow I always have a point throw in.
DANIEL: It's always valuable.
DAVID: Hopefully. The thing that's interesting to me is taking that to a logical extension. Let's say that you have your data stored in the cloud, and across three different services. And now you're going to perform eDiscovery via cloud service. How are those pieces going to interact? I think there are probably advantages and disadvantages. And, it speaks to me that there is so much there. It's exciting, it's new and it really warrants attention to trying things in detail-oriented approaches, where you really know exactly what you're working with and know how those things interact. But there is constant evolution, it seems. So you're going to definitely be able to get information management in there straight through to presentation. The trick is getting them to actually coordinate.
DANIEL: I think that is a great and very compelling point for everybody to be mindful of. As these technologies become more and more interesting and widely adopted, you need to make sure that it can be delivered and integrated in a uniform fashion. That is certainly something that should be kept in the forefront of your mind when evaluating what is appropriate for your business.
DAVID: And clients don’t have to consider adopting all parts of eDiscovery in the cloud, or in fact all business services in the cloud, right? So, there may be almost a hybrid approach here.
DANIEL: I tell everybody a very firm philosophy should be that you should only adopt and integrate what makes sense for your business both operationally and functionally. The companies that are operating globally have data privacy concerns and other things that impact how eDiscovery plays-out versus the company that is based in one or two states, versus companies that are all over the country. And it's balancing those needs and the functional needs of a specific legal matter, and applying those things in an effective fashion that will deliver value to your business specifically.
DAVID: I think that's exactly right. There are business cases that we have to fulfill here. It's all towards what is furthering the success of the business. If you don't have a compelling case, then you need to consider whether or not you should be doing it. But further, you're talking about hybrid solutions. You have hybrid, or simultaneous, solutions based on the scenario. You could have your day-to-day work be accessible using a standard local word processor, but your remote people, or certain offices, use the hosted version of the SaaS version. And similarly, for eDiscovery, you can have a tool in-house that is in the cloud. It really needs to depend on what is the best way to get the job done in that particular case; knowing your scenarios; knowing what you go through, that you do things this way, this way, and this way.
In the first case, you do it internally. In the second case, you are going to do it using the cloud and in the third case, you could do a little of both.
COLBY: And it sounds like it could get really complicated. But it seems like there are people in an organization that would know what the business is doing.
DANIEL: I think there are things that go both ways, both from the in-house legal and also from a law firm perspective, knowing what your client's needs are and knowing what your in-house litigation support capabilities are, and figuring out the appropriate mix. Because at the end of the day, the whole point of eDiscovery is not to become the core point of the case, but rather allow you to just do discovery. You need to figure out the capabilities of your clients from the outside counsel, working as I work with frequently, and figuring out the appropriate mix and match that will deliver those needs in an effective fashion. This is really important because they certainly vary based on your internal litigation support capabilities.
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