By Carol Sliwa | Apr 13, 2009
Despite dire economic times, the electronic discovery (e-discovery) market is predicted to swell next year. In a growing number of vertical industries, regulatory requirements and increased levels of litigation are driving a need for e-discovery strategies, and forcing storage managers to be proactive in building alliances with corporate counsel and business stakeholders.
In a Dec. 2008 report, Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. predicted that spending on e-discovery software technologies and service offerings will grow between 25% and 35% through 2012. A SearchStorage.com survey conducted this year showed that just 14% of the 657 respondents have implemented or will implement e-discovery tools this year.
One key change that drew the attention of corporate legal counsel were the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), which govern civil actions in federal courts. For the first time, the rules spelled out obligations for preserving electronically stored information (ESI).
The industry generally defines the steps of the e-discovery process using the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), released in 2006, thanks to the pioneering work of attorneys George Socha Jr. and Tom Gelbmann. Storage processes fall primarily into the left side of the model, where information management, identification, preservation and destruction occur. Those are processes companies are outsourcing less as budgets shrink and data archives grow.
"Because the amount of electronic information has gone up, we're seeing a big move to doing the front half of the EDRM in-house for cost savings," said Debra Logan, a Gartner vice president. "So they do collection, identification, preservation and some processing."
E-discovery technology can cut costs
Patrick Oot, director of electronic discovery and senior litigation counsel at Verizon, said using Guidance Software Inc.'s EnCase eDiscovery technology has meant significant savings in collecting all types of data. Because information is now gathered over the network, for instance, Verizon's security team no longer needs to travel to remote locations.
"Software is definitely replacing a lot of manual labor," Oot said.
Verizon's e-discovery team is making a case to save money on the right half of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model. The group claimed it would save $11 million in outsourced vendor fees over three years if Verizon switched to an in-house system, which would include infrastructure and software for data processing, hosting and review. The proposed litigation support application would require 5 TB to 10 TB of fast networked storage to host most of Verizon's document review needs.
"Obtaining capital expenses is very difficult in this climate," said Oot. "Our business case right now is under analysis by the finance group, and we're awaiting approval."