With more people than ever utilizing technology in their daily lives, it is no surprise that digital crime and subsequently evidence has increased. A recent white paper by The TASA Group details the growing problem legal professionals are having with massive amounts of digital evidence. This includes everything from body camera footage and video surveillance, to the internet trail left behind by cyber-criminals. Properly storing digital evidence is crucial in conducting an effective investigation and reducing liability. If this digital evidence were to disappear or become compromised, it can derail an entire trial.
Digital Evidence Helps And Hinders Law Firms
This overabundance of digital information is a double-edged sword for law firms. Recently, law firms have seen how digital evidence can aide in their trials and have devoted time to eDiscovery. As the Association for Information and Image Management found (AIIM), eDiscovery, short for electronic discovery, is, “the process of discovery in civil litigation that is carried out in electronic formats.” For law firms, discovery is done during the initial phase of litigation where both parties are required to provide their evidence for the case. With eDiscovery, any electronically stored information – including emails, text messages and websites – is up for grabs as evidence.
There is a proper method that law firms have to abide by to proceed with eDiscovery. As AIIM outlines, data found during eDiscovery must first be identified by attorneys and placed on legal hold. Then both attorneys have to determine if it is relevant to the scope of the trial before it can be analyzed and used in court. This is obviously a simplified way of explaining a process that can be lengthy and difficult depending on the amount and type of information discovered, but it is the general eDiscovery process.
As you can imagine, eDiscovery can benefit a law firm during a trial, but it can also hurt it. Another part of eDiscovery is having policies in place to ensure records that are no longer needed are destroyed in a documented way. Holding onto unneeded data can come back to haunt a law firm or an individual if that information came up during another attorney’s eDiscovery period. Overall, digital data can be harmful and helpful for a law firm. Making sure needed documents are stored safely and correctly while unneeded information is discarded is easier said than done. Luckily, there is a digital solution to avoid this digital problem.
The Cloud Solution For Law Practices
Legal professionals need to access digital evidence quickly and securely, and the cloud is the best technology to achieve this. The cloud keeps your data protected and secure. Alongside an email and document management system, like iManage, documents can be shared seamlessly within your law firm and be accessed by your employees safely from anywhere. Using a document management system in conjunction with a cloud platform adds extra levels of security to your digital evidence. Utilize this software to organize your data and continuously discard what you no longer need.
Another perk is cloud platforms can actually reduce the cost of eDiscovery for law practices. Investing in a cloud solution is the best way to cope with the massive amount of digital evidence available and protect your law firm during eDiscovery. During a trial, digital evidence can be needed in an instant. Having a strong organization system in place, with the help of quick keyword searches, is highly beneficial.
When looking for a cloud service provider for your firm, consider the Afinety Cloud Platform (ACP). Afinety deploys cloud networks specifically for law firms and understands the unique challenges they face when it comes to data protection and digital evidence. Afinety partners with industry leading companies and ensures all applications are seamless integrated with ACP and Office 365. Contact us today to see how you can get the most from investing in a cloud platform.