Mar 01, 2011
SaaS and E-Discovery: Navigating Complex Waters
As SaaS applications become the norm at most enterprises and more and more business data is stored in the cloud, companies are becoming accustomed to evaluating SaaS and cloud providers around key areas such as the security and long-term storage of their data. But they also must consider how their SaaS applications will be affected by e-discovery, the process by which enormous quantities of electronic information are searched and analyzed in the event of a lawsuit.
Is the information you’ve stored on the cloud provider’s premises freely accessible to you? Can it be retrieved on demand, in sufficient quantity and within tight deadlines? Are mechanisms in place to ensure that potentially relevant material isn’t being deleted? Even more important, are you confident that information you thought was deleted is actually gone? Are you ready to stand in front of a judge and prove it?
These questions are best asked of a SaaS provider before an e-discovery event occurs, particularly if you are dealing with cloud apps for e-mail, Office documents and business records, all of which are popular targets of opposing counsel.
Many of the criteria that should be used to evaluate a SaaS provider are also relevant to e-discovery. This should make it simpler to determine whether a SaaS provider can meet e-discovery-specific requirements in a few critical areas, such as the ability to apply legal holds to certain data sets, and to retrieve large volumes of data quickly and in a usable format.
We’ll examine how e-discovery requirements align with many general SaaS considerations, and also discuss features and capabilities specific to e-discovery that IT and legal teams should ensure can be met by a provider. We’ll also review the basics of the e-discovery process, and provide guidance on the use of SaaS-based e-discovery services as a complement to, or alternative for, premises discovery tools. (S2550211)