With fewer costs, easier scalability and just as much security, the cloud is the way of the future for eDiscovery.
The debate over on-premise versus cloud-based hosting exists in nearly every industry, and eDiscovery is no exception. While modern-day cloud hosting is only about 10 years young, it has quickly become the preferred choice for businesses for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which being the cost difference compared to on-premise infrastructure. Services that used to demand a large, upfront investment, continuing maintenance and upgrade fees, in addition to time and energy, are now accessible in the cloud within a matter of minutes for a fraction of the price. In the next decade, we anticipate a complete transition of all eDiscovery solutions to the cloud. Here’s why:
The High Cost of On-Premise Storage
On-premise infrastructure is a huge undertaking from both a cost and time perspective. The costs associated with the physical infrastructure and setup are compounded by the human capital required to maintain the operation of an on-premise solution. Skilled teams are required to continually monitor and administer the environment. For corporations that rarely see litigation, the costs of maintaining an on-premise solution are often unjustifiably burdensome. Large law firms traditionally have the staff, capital, and on-site resources necessary to maintain this type of commitment. Over the years, some of the largest firms in the country have made significant investments in infrastructure to support a mix of enterprise solutions for their clients. Even in those instances, many organizations are moving to a hybrid of on-premise and cloud solutions rather than selecting only one or the other.
Infinite Scalability in the Cloud
Compared to on-premise, cloud-based storage is easier and less expensive to maintain. Setting it up requires very little installation or upfront investment – all that’s required is to select a plan and agree to terms. Monthly subscription costs are relatively low and there are generous discounts associated with long-term commitments.
Human capital costs are reduced drastically by moving to a cloud-based infrastructure. A single engineer can easily manage the environment, as opposed to the numerous employees it would take to maintain that same environment for an on-premise solution. Plus, it also provides the ability to scale resources as needed and mitigates costs by only paying for resources actively being used. Scaling an on-premise environment often requires huge investments in hardware – in the cloud, it’s as easy as increasing a subscription plan for a set amount of time.
Cross Border eDiscovery
eDiscovery in the cloud eliminates the physical barriers that exist when it comes to doing business overseas. This allows companies to expand and become global players rather than leaving them confined to where they’re geographically located. Maintaining physical environments in multiple countries can become very expensive and cause issues for most businesses that are simply not worth the headache. Plus, overcoming bureaucracies around data regulation in certain countries, such as countries within the EU, is significantly reduced when dealing with international cloud resources rather than physical infrastructure.
The Truth About Cloud Security
One of the biggest roadblocks to companies adopting cloud-based solutions is the perceived lack of security. Many companies feel that the ability to manage their own on-site environments means they also have complete control over their security, making them more secure. However, that’s simply not true. The confusion comes, in part, in the difference between private and public cloud services.
Anything hosted on infrastructure outside of a physical location is considered cloud-based. There are both private and public clouds available that have differences in cost and management requirements. Dedicated cloud providers – particularly Amazon VPC – have been pouring money into security with the understanding that the more secure the data, the more customers they’ll be able to attract and retain, therefore creating a competitive edge.
ONE Discovery has always recommended a private cloud to ensure sensitive eDiscovery data is protected. However, in light of recent high-profile and far-reaching ransomware attacks, it’s even more evident that the effort to move to the cloud is well worth the added security benefits. While no solution is completely impenetrable, most private cloud-based storage providers have made security a priority, by staffing their security teams with extremely talented experts in an effort to thwart potential breaches and ransomware attacks.
The cloud is gaining momentum and that trend is expected to continue at a rapid pace. According to Forbes, worldwide spending on cloud services is predicted to increase by 20% to $141 billion between 2015 and 2019. While companies of all sizes are utilizing the benefits of the cloud, the majority of law firms adopting cloud-based resources are smaller in size, considering their available budgets.
Cost benefits, flexibility, scalability and popularity are all factors that play a role in the current trends of migrating to cloud environments. As the industry grows and develops, eventually all data will be stored on the cloud – so getting on board now can only help to prepare for the future.
Find out more about cloud-based options for eDiscovery here.