81 Percent of E-Discovery Users Head for Cloud Services

John Moore

December 5, 2011

3 Min Read
81 Percent of E-Discovery Users Head for Cloud Services


Most law firms and corporate legal departments aim to bring portions of their e-discovery tasks in-house, according to a recently released Kroll Ontrack survey. But survey results also reveal some major cloud services trends tied to e-discovery.

Kroll Ontrack, in conjunction with Harris Interactive, polled attorneys working for medium-to-large law firms and Fortune 1000 companies. The survey found that 86 percent of the respondents in-sourced some aspect of e-discovery. Information management, collection/preservation, and review ranked among the most frequently in-sourced functions. Kroll Ontrack, based in Minneapolis, provides e-discovery and data recovery among other services.

Other e-discovery providers have also noted the in-house migration of work that law firms and corporate legal teams had previously outsourced to service bureaus or other law firms. Concerns over control and cost fuel this trend.

The in-house push doesn’t exclude cloud services providers and managed services providers, however. Law firms and legal departments may opt to hire a provider to manage its e-discovery software behind the firewall or host a SaaS solution.

e-Discovery and Cloud Services

The Kroll Ontrack survey points to the legal sector’s interest in the latter scenario. Michele Lange, the company’s director of discovery, said 81 percent of the respondents said they plan to leverage the cloud for e-discovery or storage purposes over the next two years.

Kroll Ontrack evidently took the survey results to heart. The company earlier this month launched a SaaS offering that it describes as a remotely hosted, do-it-yourself e-discovery platform. SaaS marks a shift for the company, which traditionally pursued the outsourcing and per-gigabyte pricing approach that customers are now moving away from.

The company’s SaaS platform, dubbed Verve, employs two pricing models: subscription and on-demand.

The subscription approach bills customers for e-discovery services on a monthly basis. Customers benefit from predictability of cost, according to Ken Ewell, vice president of SaaS at Kroll Ontrack. The company offers three subscription tiers based on what customers think their processing volume will be. Ewell said customers can move to a higher level if their initial subscription plan proves insufficient.

The on-demand model, meanwhile, is priced on a per-gigabyte basis. This approach may appeal to customers who want to purchase e-discovery services on a project-by-project basis. Ewell said he expects most customers to ultimately opt for the subscription model, however.

The per-gigabyte pricing model harkens to the traditional way of providing e-discovery services. Indeed, Ewell said he believes the on-demand option provides customers a bridge for trying Verve.

Customers can also transition back to an outsourced environment from the do-it-yourself platform, Ewell added. He said customers may want the support of Kroll Ontrack’s e-discovery experts in its outsourcing business.

“We will make the transition available to them,” Ewell said.

Other MSPs are also taking e-discovery to the cloud. Flex Discovery, an MSP based in Austin, Texas, operates a data center and remotely hosts e-discovery software. D4 LLC, located in Rochester, NY, opened a data center earlier this year to offer e-discovery in the cloud.

With the cloud seemingly confirmed as the direction of e-discovery, MSPs in the legal space should think about building capabilities or partnering to remain competitive.

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