Lateral Data Grows MSP Channel For e-Discovery Software

Lateral Data, which provides e-discovery software, plans to double the size of its managed services provider channel this year. The company’s Viewpoint software spans the main components of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, which provides guidelines and standards that aim to boost the quality and reduce the cost of e-discovery. Here are the details...

Lateral Data, based in Houston, has been rolling out its channel strategy over the past 18 months. Over that time, the company has developed a relationship with audit, tax and consulting firm Grant Thornton. Grant Thornton’s U.S. member firm signed on with Viewpoint in 2010. In April, Grant Thornton’s Canadian affiliate selected Lateral Data’s software to deliver e-discovery services across Canada.

Next stop? Europe. Matt Berry, president of Lateral Data, said Grant Thornton in the United Kingdom will soon use the software as well.

In addition to working with large consultancies, Lateral Data also counts regional service providers among its channel partners. Berry said the company has about 20 partners at present and expects to have upwards of 40 service providers on hand by the end of 2011.

While Lateral Data works heavily with the channel, the company takes a few customers direct. But in many of those cases the company and a service provider have a joint relationship with the customer, Berry noted.

E-discovery as a managed service appears to be gaining ground as law firms and corporate legal departments grapple with the expense and complexity of collecting and analyzing electronic evidence.

Deployment

Berry said Lateral Data focuses on software as opposed to other e-discovery vendors that sell appliances. The company provides a recommended specification for minimum hardware requirements and maintains relationships with hardware vendors, so machines are ready to ship by the time customers need them.

The software approach, Berry said, provides for better scalability than an appliance. Customers, provided they have the correct licenses, can distribute Lateral Data’s software “across hardware and machines, wherever they want to go with it,” Berry noted. “They don’t have to call us for another box.”

Berry said a deployment typically consists of a SQL box, a file server, and worker application machines. The worker applications handle heavy-lifting chores such as data extraction and TIFF conversion, Berry said. The company recommends having at least 5 worker machines and Berry said service providers tend to have 5 to 15 such devices.

Service providers may deploy the software and servers in their own facilities or in a colocation center. They may also go with a hybrid approach that combines on-premise gear and colo. Providers can also off load certain processing tasks to the Amazon EC2 or Microsoft Azure clouds, Berry said.

Providers also virtualize different components of Lateral Data’s system, using technologies such as VMware, according to Berry.

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