eDiscovery is one of those tasks nearly everyone is happy to hand off to someone – anyone – else. “It’s too complicated,” they say. “Too expensive! And too time-consuming!”
Granted, all that used to be true. But if you haven’t looked at eDiscovery lately, you may have missed how it’s evolved. You can use these software tools not only to make document production decisions (and justify your choices to a judge) but also to do early case assessment or to prepare for regulatory responses and internal investigations. It’s how smart companies tame the explosion of corporate data.
That word “explosion” isn’t hyperbole. In today’s cyber-connected world, we all create a digital trail everywhere we go and with everything we do, and that trail of evidence doubles about every 18 months. It’s not just email, either. All your digital files contain a history of who altered them, when and how.
Everyone – regulators, potential litigants, disgruntled clients – knows that digital trail exists. And they know how to use it against you. Every time an incident occurs, a request for information is sure to follow, for anything from an internal investigation or audit to a civil or criminal court proceeding. As soon as you know any controversy exists, you have a legal duty to preserve every sliver of information about it, even without a formal legal hold letter in hand.
But how much does it cost to analyze all this data? You might be surprised at how the current generation of eDiscovery tools can help you not only make your business decisions better, but budget-friendly, too.
For example, doing a high-level review of your own data can reduce your legal bill dramatically. Johannes Scholtes, professor of text mining at Maastricht University and CSO at ZyLAB, estimates that reviewing a gigabyte of data typically costs about $30,000 in legal fees. However, performing a first-level culling in-house can reduce the volume of data to be analyzed to 1-4% of its original size. Give your outside counsel a smaller data set to review, and you’ll get a much smaller legal bill.
These first-level reviews also let you prioritize what your lawyers examine, increasing their efficiency and decreasing your legal bill even further. John Payton, a former eDiscovery specialist at Philips and Rabobank, estimates that every dollar spent in early case assessment could save $10-$20 in eventual legal fees.
And if there’s a smoking gun or gaps amongst all that data, wouldn’t it be better to find those sooner rather than later? That’ll give you and your counsel time to formulate the best settlement strategy possible.
Plus, sorting out what's relevant to an incident early on buys you more time to deal with complex production and privacy standards in whatever context you're working in, whether it's regulatory, litigation, due diligence, etc.
And it isn't as expensive or complex as you might think. No longer does eDiscovery require purchasing your own hardware and software and dedicating an IT resource to it. Now, modern SaaS eDiscovery tools like ZyLAB can have you up and running in less than a day and for as little as $5,000 in initial cost. Train a handful of your existing IT and legal department employees in just a few hours, and you'll have a highly responsive team that can spring into action the next time a controversy arises.
SaaS eDiscovery solutions let you pay only for the capacity you use but still respond quickly to situations that demand immediate data analysis and production. The next time an eDiscovery emergency happens, you’re prepared.
Getting eDiscovery processes and costs under control has never been easier. Want proof? Hear how companies like FirstBank, Philips Electronics and Akzo Nobel use small, highly-responsive in-house teams to cut costs and stay on top of eDiscovery with ZyLAB. Listen to Johannes Scholtes and John Payton in the recording of ZyLAB’s webinar “Be Prepared: Prevent High Costs of eDiscovery and Investigations”.