eDiscovery In a Pandemic: How Attorneys Can Adapt To Working From Home
Takeaway: The novel coronavirus pandemic is forcing attorneys to work from home, but Cloud-based eDiscovery is the perfect tool to help law firms adapt. With it, (1) You can access your data from anywhere, (2) You don’t have to worry about tech/security issues since your eDiscovery provider runs the software for you, and (3) The software has key features to help your team collaborate remotely in real-time.
COVID-19 is teaching us that attorneys need to adapt to working remotely
As the medical community struggles to deal with the novel coronavirus, the legal community has a different challenge. Attorneys the world over are learning to adapt to working from home or other remote locations. And law firms are realizing that this is a challenge that’s not going away anytime soon.
Cloud eDiscovery: The answer to your law firm’s work-from-home needs
Custom eDiscovery software used to cost thousands of dollars, required specialized equipment, and needed a dedicated IT team to handle technical issues. All this changed with the birth of the Cloud, which gives small and midsize law firms a cost-effective way to handle eDiscovery. But Cloud-based eDiscovery is also the perfect solution for our current work-from-home challenge. Here’s how.
1. All your data is in the Cloud, so you can access it from anywhere
The Cloud is a global network of high-performance servers belonging to software giants like Amazon and Google. And these giants lease out storage space on their servers. Examples of Cloud services include Dropbox, Google Drive, or any Apple product. Storing your data in the Cloud has a bunch of advantages:
- It cuts costs: Cloud-users share the same servers, so they split the bill. And the more people there are in the Cloud, the less the costs for each. This makes things much cheaper than if you store data on private servers.
- It’s secure: Cloud servers have bank-grade security. Your data is encrypted both when it’s being transmitted and when it’s stored on their servers. Plus, since the data is on multiple servers in different locations, no one event can destroy it.
- It’s easy to access: All you need to access your case data is a laptop/tablet/smartphone and an internet connection. And since you don’t have to be close to a particular storage server, law firms across the world can collaborate.
2. Someone else runs the software for you. So, you don’t have to handle any technical stuff
With Cloud eDiscovery, you don’t buy any software. Instead, you ‘rent’ a service (it’s called Software as a Service, or SaaS). So, your eDiscovery provider runs the software in the Cloud and handles technical issues like installing updates, troubleshooting errors and keeping the software secure. All you have to do is open your web browser, go to your eDiscovery provider’s website and log in as you’d do with email. It’s that simple.
3. Your entire team gets to use the software for free
The best Cloud eDiscovery services charge only for storage space. So, you choose a case plan (e.g., 3 GB of storage space) and then get to invite as many people as you want to work on the case. Only the case owner (i.e., you) has to pay anything. Your team uses the software for free. This is perfect for a rapidly evolving case where you might need to expand and shrink your team on the fly. Equally important, this storage-only pricing makes your eDiscovery bill predictable.
4. You get key software features that help your team collaborate
When your teammates are all working in different locations, you need a way to collaborate. Cloud eDiscovery software comes with a range of useful features:
- Saveable searches. eDiscovery searches need to be broad enough to catch all the files you’re looking for. But not so broad that they catch a lot of irrelevant files too. So, you’ll set up a search, test it on a small sample of your data, see the results, tweak the search, and repeat. This takes a lot of time and effort. So, the best eDiscovery applications let you save the searches that your team builds. That way, team members can reuse these searches when needed. Learn more about searching your eDiscovery case.
- ‘Smart’ tags. Think of a tag as a virtual post-it. With paper documents, you stick post-its to key pages so that you can easily find them again. With electronic documents, you use tags. They’ll pull up related files and content with a single click. They’ll make it easy to ‘produce’ these files too. And they’ll help your team stay organized. The best eDiscovery applications have ‘smart’ tags, which are quick and easy to use. You’ll be able to choose from default tags, create new ones and label them (to add context), and bulk tag files and file families.
- Secure production sharing. Your data is most vulnerable when you share ‘productions’ with your team. So, the best eDiscovery applications let you link to these productions instead of downloading and emailing/mailing them. People with the link can view your production from within the eDiscovery application, where your data is encrypted and protected from prying eyes. Plus, you’re sharing only the completed production – not the original files. So, there’s no danger of anyone reading privileged content. Learn more about sharing productions.
For added security, try using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network is software that creates a secure ‘tunnel’ from your laptop to your eDiscovery provider’s Cloud servers. The data you send through this tunnel is encrypted, so it’s highly secure. But more interestingly, it’s routed through your VPN’s private server, instead of through your internet service provider (ISP). This protects your identity because anyone tracing the connection is taken to the VPN’s server, not to your IP address (i.e., the ID number given to any device connected to the internet). Be careful when choosing your VPN, though. Ironically, many of them have annoying ads and will sell your browsing data. Here are some trusted VPN’s to try out.
Aside from Cloud eDiscovery, here are some productivity tips that’ll help you adjust to working from home.
If you’re used to the rhythm of office life, it’s often challenging to stay disciplined at home. Here are some tips that other lawyers use to stay productive.
- Keep your routine going. Try and structure your workday just as before. So, wake up at the same time, dress as you usually would, and keep the same hours.
- Set boundaries. You may be at home, but that doesn’t mean you’re not working. Your family and friends need to understand this and respect your workday. Share your schedule with them so you can plan when to unwind and catch up.
Use work-from-home productivity tools.
- Time management: Timely, Toggl, Everhour (for teams)
- Project management: Trello, Basecamp, Asana, Airtable or Monday.com
- Real-time communication: Slack, Mattermost, Rocket Chat
- Video chat: Zoom, Join.me
- Remote desktop: TeamViewer, SplashTop, Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDC) or Apple Remote Desktop (ARD
Looking for reliable work-from-home Cloud eDiscovery software? Try GoldFynch.
It’s part of a new generation of eDiscovery applications tailored for small and midsize law firms.
- It costs just $25 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know what you’re paying for exactly – its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
- It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up front how much you’ll be paying. It takes just a few clicks to move from one plan to another, and billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
- It’s safe. Your data is protected by bank-grade security. Perfect for small and midsize firms.
- It’s quick to get started. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and processing cap of 1 GB), without adding a credit card.
- It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch and you’re good to go. Also, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
- It keeps you flexible. To build a defensible case, you need to be able to add and delete files freely. Many applications charge to process each file you upload, so you’ll be reluctant to let your case organically shrink and grow. And this stifles you. With GoldFynch, you get unlimited processing for free.
- Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud, so it’s perfect for when you have to work from home.
Want to find out more about GoldFynch?
Looking for articles that can help law firms like yours?
- eDiscovery Technology-Assisted Review (TAR): Is It Worth the Cost?
- 6 Email eDiscovery File Types (Must Know): PST, MSG, EDB, OST, EML & MBOX
- 5 eDiscovery Security Features Every Law Firm Should Use
- What is ESI (Electronically Stored Information)? eDiscovery Basics for Small Law Firms
- eDiscovery: Can I Choose Where My Data Gets Stored?