E-discovery: Best of Breed Options Emerge for MSPs

The handling of electronic evidence is a complicated, multi-faceted process. There’s the identification and collection of records, review and analysis, and then production and presentation. A deployment might call for several products to cover the spectrum of e-discovery activities. With that in mind, some software houses have opted to pursue all-in-one solutions. Here's the update for MSPs.

Lateral Data, which we’ve covered here, provides one example. Recent M&A activity suggest more end-to-end efforts are in the office. Symantec Corp. recently announced plans to acquire e-discovery vendor Clearwell Systems. Symantec plans to strengthen the integration between its Enterprise Vault products and Clearwell’s e-discovery platform.

Aaref Hilaly, president and chief executive officer of Clearwell, noted that many of the companies’ customers already use Clearwell and Enterprise Vault in an integrated workflow, but have asked for tighter integration.

In another deal, just a couple of days prior to Symantec’s announcement, Autonomy agreed to purchase Iron Mountain’s digital business, which includes archiving and e-discovery. Autonomy markets an e-discovery solution as well.

kCura Cultivates ISVs

Adherents to the best-of-breed line of linking include e-discovery vendor kCura. Nick Robertson, vice president of sales and marketing at kCura, said the company has begun fostering a community of ISVs that extend the company’s reach beyond review, analysis, and production. The ISV partners use kCura’s APIs to integrate their products with the company’s Relativity software.

As a result, kCura’s MSP partners can “bring together multiple applications that talk to the Relativity platform and resolve a broader range of e-discovery issues,” Robertson said.

At kCura, the service provider channel generates more than half of the company’s revenue, according to Robertson. The company works with regional, national and multinational partners -- 110 in all. Service providers typically offer a full suite of e-discovery services including consulting, data collection, processing, and post- production trial support activities. Those providers license kCura’s software and install it in their data centers, offering customers a hosted e-discovery service.

Robertson said e-discovery involves a steep learning curve for customers and noted that numerous intricacies will surface over the course of a project. Those conditions make it a good sector for service providers, he suggested.

“Software by itself isn’t always going to be the answer,” Robertson said. “It’s a healthy market for partners who can provide full litigation support consulting.”

The volume of digital evidence continues to grow, with social media adding to the mix. Law firms and corporate legal departments will be toiling to manage the electronic workload for quite some time. MSPs operating in this sector will decide whether all-in-one or best-of-breed is the best way to keep their customers on top of the stack.

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