How Cloud Platforms Reduce The Cost Of e-Discovery For Law Practices

In today’s digital world, e-discovery is more important than ever before. The process of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information is integral to the modern concept of litigation. It can also be an expensive process, requiring complex technologies. Removing these processes to the cloud reduces expenses and may even produce significant process efficiencies.

Components Of e-Discovery Impacted By Cloud Technology

As more of our lives take place in digital realms, the importance of clear e-discovery processes grows. Law firms that adopt cloud technologies are better positioned to solve the complex issues involved in the process, compared to those that rely on more traditional processes. The cloud allows law firms to expand their efforts, gaining efficiencies and improving productivity.

But it’s not all about speed. Cloud technology can augment each distinct component of the e-discovery process. First, let’s consider what concepts come under the purview of e-discovery. As noted by the American Bar Association, e-discovery incorporates the following processes:

  • Information governance – Policies surrounding the life cycle of electronically stored data.
  • Identification – Determining which pieces of data are relevant.
  • Preservation – Protecting said data from deletion.
  • Collection – Gathering digital evidence for review.
  • Processing – Preparing the data for analysis by an attorney.
  • Review – Using software such as Computer Assisted Review or Technology Assisted Review to determine which pieces of information are relevant to the case.
  • Analysis – Evaluating the digital information for content and context.
  • Production – Producing relevant information, in adherence to standard procedures and rules.
  • Presentation – Displaying the data during a trial or deposition.

Cloud computing technology is useful because individuals and organizations produce massive volumes of data on a regular basis. All of that information, including relevant metadata, would be a monumental task for anyone. A manual process would grind proceedings to a halt. Cloud technology produces more efficiency while remaining secure.

Cloud technology brings enhanced computer power and cost savings_Afinety Inc.Cloud technology brings enhanced computer power and cost savings.

Advantages Of The Cloud

Looking at the above list, it’s easy to see that varied processes of e-discovery are neither straightforward nor simple. Even with the help of a computer, an incredible amount of work is necessary to produce reliable results. That’s the first thing cloud computing solves.

Let’s say you were attempting an e-discovery task at your personal computer. Due to the limited amount of RAM, CPU power and storage space, this task would take a long time to complete, eating into your resources. By switching to a cloud solution, you immediately gain access to additional memory and computing power. Best of all, you don’t have to install any bulky hardware at your offices. Considering how fast technology evolves these days, you would have to constantly maintain and upgrade on-site server infrastructure. Not so with the cloud. A cloud provider will scale with you, forever. That way, your team can focus on important work without getting bogged down in technical difficulties.

Another benefit of cloud services is added protection against failed hard drives. Mechanical storage devices have a finite lifespan, and even solid-state drives will break down after thousands of uses. However, if you utilize a cloud solution, you’ll know your data is always preserved. The redundancies inherent in cloud technology mean your information will always be available from any authorized device.

Saving On Costs With The Cloud

Not only does the cloud offer amazing e-discovery benefits, but it can also be more affordable than an on-site data center. Installing hardware on premises will inevitably lead to costs. Buying hardware and hiring staff to install and maintain it isn’t cheap. In fact, the American Bar Association recently published an analysis explaining the cost differences of utilizing the cloud, compared to on-site servers.

According to ABA, the upfront costs of system installation, which includes the cost of servers, storage and backups, is roughly $372,000. Other ongoing costs, such as the data center location, necessary real estate, IT support staff and e-discovery staff total roughly $1,715,040 over a three-year period. Over that same time, ABA estimated that a cloud service would cost about 36 percent less than an in-house solution.

On top of these savings, law firms can see a number of other intangible benefits, such as the robust technical experience and knowledge that cloud service providers can bring to the table.

Afinety has been helping law firms succeed for many years. The Afinety Cloud Platform utilizes Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s most used and adaptable cloud systems. Visit today to learn more.

Law Firm Cloud Security Threats To Look Out For In 2018

Each new year brings with it a new set of challenges for businesses to overcome.

This is the case for law firms implementing or hoping to adopt cloud technologies. Cloud systems offer companies abundant opportunities to advance their capabilities and reach new heights; however, these systems come with their own inherent security risks as well.

As the technology continues to develop, so too does the need for law firms to protect themselves from malicious actors and other lapses in cloud safety. Here are some of the top cloud security concerns companies should be prepared for in 2018.

Secure Your Law Office IT & Cloud Network To Prevent Cyber Security Threats_Afinety, Inc.Data security is tied to the inherent strength of a company’s API infrastructure.

Where Is Cyber Security Accountability?

“Ransomware damages for 2017 are expected to surpass $5 billion.”

Companies adopting the cloud often think that the responsibilities of data protection fall to the provider when in reality this job belongs to the customer using the provided cloud system.

“We are in a cloud security transition period in which focus is shifting from the provider to the customer,” said, Jay Heiser, vice president and cloud security lead at Gartner, Inc., to cybersecurity publication CSO Online. “Enterprises are learning that huge amounts of time spent trying to figure out if any particular cloud service provider is ‘secure’ or not has virtually no payback.”

Cloud providers are generally not required to protect customer information or workloads in manners that exceed the terms of the service level agreement. Meaning anything not covered within the agreement is left to the customer to safeguard.

Companies should study their provider’s shared responsibility model to determine what additional protections they may need to employ.

Ransomware Attacks On Business

Ransomware is a type of malware that when activated, locks the affected computer or system’s files with a powerful encryption. The ransomers then demand the victim pay a fee to decrypt their data or lose if permanently. According to the MIT Technology Review, companies often pay the ransom, especially if the inaccessible data was not backed up. Cases of the malicious attack have been growing over recent years.

“In 2016, an average of 40 percent of spam emails contained malware links to ransomware, an increase of 6,000 percent over 2015, when less than one percent contained ransomware,” said Marc van Zadelhoff, general manager for IBM Security, to Cyber Security Ventures.

Ransomware damages for 2017 are expected to surpass $5 billion. MIT Technology Review stated smaller companies could be a big target in 2018 because even a modest compromise of data could potentially lead to a significant payout for hackers.

“Ransomware doesn’t discriminate” said Robert Herjavec, founder and CEO of Herjavec Group, an international information security and advisory firm, to Cyber Security Ventures. “Hackers aren’t just after financial information anymore, it’s personal. We’ve seen movies held captive, healthcare data, financial data. Data is being used as a weapon.”

Law firms host particularly sensitive data, so extreme care should be taken to ensure it’s safe from exploitation. Companies can protect themselves from ransomware by training employees on malware detection, implementing efficient anti-malware protections and undergoing frequent data backups.

Application Programming Interface Weaknesses

Based on a report from the Cloud Security Alliance, CSO stated vulnerabilities within a company’s application programming interfaces, or APIs, can expose them to a potential data breach or cyberattack.

APIs are services that can connect cloud service provider functions with that of the company. A business may use an API to manage, provision and protect data, then transmit chunks of information to the cloud service’s storage banks. Human errors such as the mismanagement of API configurations, access by unqualified or unauthorized staff and failure to encrypt data are all possible through a faulty interface.

If flaws exist in the API it can put the security of the overall cloud platform at risk, thus making the two systems heavily dependent on one another.

API inefficiencies can be avoided with persistent management from developers and operations teams. Vulnerability scans, reporting, patching and configurations enforcement can all keep company APIs secure and prevent susceptibility to unwanted action.

Afinety has been helping law firm succeed for many years. The Afinety Cloud Platform utilizes Amazon Web Services, one of the world’s most used and adaptable cloud systems. Contact us today for more information.