Cloud-based e-discovery doubled in the past year: Everlaw survey

Ninety-six percent view the shift to cloud-based e-discovery Inevitable by 2024

Cloud-based e-discovery doubled in the past year: Everlaw survey

Cloud-based e-discovery managed in-house has doubled in the past year, according to a survey by cloud-native investigation and litigation platform, Everlaw. The 2022 ‘Ediscovery Innovation Report: Leaders and Laggards’ found that 24 percent of e-discovery was managed in-house, compared to only 10 percent in 2021. Meanwhile, 55 percent of respondents are managing an in-house solution, whether cloud-based or on premises.

The report – which surveyed nearly 200 legal professionals in the U.S. across law firms, corporate legal departments, government agencies, and legal service providers – also found that 96 percent of respondents view the shift to the cloud as inevitable by 2024.

The number of respondents that believe cloud-based e-discovery is already the norm increased by 66 percent in 2022 as compared to 2021.

“Cloud-based e-discovery adoption has crossed the tipping point for the first time,” said Chuck Kellner, strategic discovery advisor at Everlaw. “Cloud is not just the future of e-discovery, it is increasingly the norm. It’s propelled by the pandemic and proven out by the success of early adopters.”

An overwhelming majority (96 percent) of respondents say cloud-based discovery is or will soon be the norm. The cloud removes e-discovery headaches, according to the survey findings:

Concerns about e-discovery were lower in nine of 10 categories for respondents using the cloud compared to those not using the cloud, with cloud leaders outpacing the rest when it comes to speed, handling novel data sources, creating efficient workflows, and efficiently leveraging staff. 

Only when it comes to cost predictability do cloud leaders report greater challenges than the norm.

More than half of leaders (52 percent) said cost was the main advantage of moving to the cloud.

  • Users of on-premises e-discovery platforms report paying more at every step of the e-discovery process, from translation services (84 percent of those not using the cloud report paying extra, compared to 29 percent of cloud-users), to security features (40 percent vs. 21 percent), and advanced analytics (40 percent vs. 19 percent). 
  • For data processing alone, non-cloud users report paying extra at nearly four times the rate of cloud users.

Those not using the cloud for e-discovery say the cloud is hard to learn and expensive, but those who are already in the cloud disagree.

  • Cloud e-discovery users more frequently:
    • Cite data analytics as a cloud advantage, by 46 percent
    • Praise cloud-based cost savings by 39 percent
    • See speed and efficiency as a key cloud benefit, by 36 percent
  • Less frequently:
    • See data migrations as a serious challenge, by 40 percent
    • Rank cost as an impediment, by 35 percent
    • List learning curves as a challenge, by 36 percent
  • Meanwhile, non-cloud users more frequently:
    • Cite data migration as a challenge, by 36 percent
    • Worry about learning new cloud-based systems, by 26 percent
    • List ease of use as a cloud advantage, by 11 percent
  • Less frequently:
    • See cost savings as a cloud benefit, by 36 percent
    • Associate scalability to handling increasing data volumes with the cloud, by 16 percent
    • View rapid platform improvements as a cloud advantage, by 13 percent

“In 2022, the data is clear: not only are cloud adopters seeing significant advantages, but those tied to legacy solutions continue to fall behind,” said Kellner. “On-premises e-discovery users are paying more at every step of the e-discovery process, from data ingestion and document review to case analytics and productions. With the rise in data types and quantity, this looks to be unsustainable.”

Everlaw conducted this study with the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists.

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