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Managed Services: eDiscovery That Tastes Great and Is Less Filling

In the 1970s, one brewer introduced its brand of light beer, and a classic debate: “tastes great” vs. “less filling.” The idea behind the campaign was that the beverage was “everything you always wanted in a beer. And less.”

Now, the concept has arrived on the eDiscovery law firm scene in the form of managed services. Managed services is an end-to-end outsourced solution that provides the people, processes, and technology required for defensible, cost-effective eDiscovery. In other words, it’s everything many of you ever wanted in eDiscovery. But it’s less, too: fewer headaches, lower data security and privacy risks, less budget and cost unpredictability, and no sunk IT infrastructure and software costs.

Here are just some of the benefits that law firms have experienced with the managed services:

  1. Data security-as-a-service

    In our last article, we discussed how leading law firms are following vendor governance best practices to lessen the risk of data security breaches. Deploying managed services for eDiscovery is another way law firms are mitigating the risks to their clients’ data.

    Keeping up with the latest security measures, and obtaining the proper certifications that stand up to increasing client scrutiny and audits, is increasingly costly and burdensome. With a managed services model, law firms can choose a partner whose datacenters meet the highest security standards, such as ISO 27001. In turn, the firms find that they can satisfy the most demanding certifications and client expectations. As we mentioned last week, firms are retaining vendors that have an ongoing threat monitoring program; the gold standard is an independent third-party audit of security controls that incorporates network penetration and application vulnerability testing. Top eDiscovery providers also offer comprehensive physical and virtual security controls as well as redundancy, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans.

  2. Flexibility to stay current with most innovative technology

    The rapid growth in data volumes and their complexity and the constant advancement of eDiscovery technology make it difficult for law firms to stay current. Moreover, the capital-intensive costs of investing in software and hardware needed for document review have become exorbitant. Therefore, many law firms have found it makes good fiscal sense to outsource the IT infrastructure and technology to eDiscovery providers that are at the forefront of data processing, review, and analytics technology. That way, they only invest in human resources and tools when they need them–not when they don’t.

  3. Budget predictability

    With managed services, firms have learned that they can benefit from a transparent fee structure that allows them to choose the level of service they need based on their capacity, workflow requirements, and internal resources and incorporate it into their budget. By opting for a fixed monthly fee for a dedicated review environment, they avoid the pitfalls and unpredictability of the transactional model and sunk capital expenditures, and their spend better reflects their consumption. Moreover, these law firms can also recover operational expenses that were previously difficult to charge for, such as data storage, while still passing along cost-savings to their clients.

  4. Control

    Because they rely on a single vendor for all eDiscovery services, managed services law firms decide how best to deploy technology and can customize how they set up projects, process data, develop protocols for review and analysis, and produce data. With service-level agreements, law firms can also ensure the delivery of high-quality results, based on contracted requirements such as guaranteed uptime, and penalize the provider financially if targets are missed.

In short, law firms that have elected managed eDiscovery services are finding that they can do more with less: they are better equipped to meet their clients’ data security and privacy needs while enjoying greater flexibility, control, and cost recovery.

Rachel Teisch is vice president, marketing at Conduent. She can be reached at