How to Make Sure Your eDiscovery Uploads Stay Intact
Takeaway: Your files can get mistakenly damaged (i.e., corrupted) when they’re being uploaded into the Cloud. That’s why the best eDiscovery applications use the concept of ‘hashing’ to warn you immediately if any of your data has been altered.
The best eDiscovery applications run in the Cloud. And this means you’ll have to upload your data.
A decade ago, you’d store data on private servers or on your eDiscovery provider’s ‘server farm’. But nowadays, the best applications use the Cloud. That is, a global network of high-performance servers belonging to software giants like Amazon and Google. If you use Dropbox, Google Drive, or any Apple product, then you’re already in the Cloud. And it cuts costs because it’s a public platform, so everyone splits the storage bill. But with the Cloud, you do need to upload your data. And this can get tricky.
Uploading to the Cloud gets tricky because your data might get corrupted without you knowing it.
All electronic documents (Word documents, PDFs, emails, etc.) consist of data bytes structured in a very specific way. When the right bytes are in the right place, you get a smoothly operating file. But sometimes, the bytes get mistakenly moved around or destroyed – which ‘corrupts’ the file – and you lose the valuable data inside. This can happen in many scenarios, one of which is while uploading data into the Cloud. For example, a file could get corrupted if there are ‘bad sectors’ (i.e., small bits of defective storage space) in a Cloud server, or if it’s attacked by malware. Your data getting corrupted is bad, but it makes things worse if you don’t know about it until it’s too late.
Uploading is tricky also because of another useful process called ‘chunking’. I.e., splitting up files for faster uploads.
To get your data into the Cloud, some eDiscovery applications use an ingenious process called ‘chunking’. With regular uploads, you’re sending an entire file into the Cloud. With chunking, your eDiscovery software breaks up the file into multiple parts (or ‘chunks’) and uploads them simultaneously. This sort of parallel uploading saves so much time! (Learn more about chunking.) Once the chunks are on the Cloud server, they’ll be reassembled into the original file. [Note: It’s not just the parallel uploading that saves time. Many behind-the-scenes technical quirks make chunked uploads faster than non-chunked ones. For example, a busy server will often prioritize chunked files because it assumes each chunk is coming from a different source.]
So, what can your eDiscovery software do to spot corrupted uploads?
The latest eDiscovery applications do two things when monitoring uploads. First, they give each file a unique digital fingerprint called a hash value. Then, they check the uploaded, reassembled file to see if its digital fingerprint has changed. Here’s more about each step.
Step 1: Hashing [Giving your file a digital fingerprint]
The binary version of any electronic document is a string of ‘zeros’ and ‘ones’. Hashing is a technique where your eDiscovery software uses an algorithm to process this binary string and assign it a number called a ‘hash value’. It happens lightning fast and this number is so specific to its data that it can be considered the file’s fingerprint. You can give a hash value to anything – even a phrase (‘Mary had a little lamb’ gets the hash value e946adb45d4299def2071880d30136d4). But your software can also create hash values for a file, a group of files or even an entire hard drive. The great thing about hash values is that they’re very specific. If you delete a single comma in a document, its hash value changes significantly. An important point about hashes, though, is that the conversion is one-way. So, you can give a file a hash value but you can’t convert that hash value back into a file. You can only compare it to other hash values. (Learn more about hashing.)
Step 2: Checking file integrity by comparing hash values
Hashing revolutionizes uploading because it’s a way of checking that a file’s data hasn’t been scrambled. It doesn’t prevent the scrambling, but it does warn you immediately so that you can do something about it (e.g., request a duplicate copy of the corrupted file). Your eDiscovery software will compare the original hash value of the file with that of the uploaded version. And if even a single byte has changed, the two hashes won’t match and you’ll get a warning. It’s a great way of staying up-to-date with your eDiscovery uploads.
Want to make sure your uploads stay intact? Find eDiscovery software you can trust.
Your eDiscovery software certainly has to be able to chunk, hash, and check your files. But you really want one you can depend on not to corrupt your data in the first place. Also, it needs to have a complete suite of essential eDiscovery tools.
Looking for eDiscovery software you can trust with your uploads? Try GoldFynch.
Our eDiscovery service is perfect for small- and midsize law firms and companies.
- 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 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. Plus, it’s designed, developed, and run by the same team. So 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. So, on a 3 GB plan, you could add and delete 5 GB of data at no extra cost – as long as there’s only 3 GB in your case at any point. And if you do cross 3 GB, your plan upgrades automatically and you’ll be charged for only the time spent on each plan. That’s the beauty of prorated pricing.
- Access it from anywhere. And 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.
Want to learn more about GoldFynch?
For related posts about eDiscovery, check out the following links.
- Why Your eDiscovery Software Should Offer Automatic Case-Upgrades
- The Smart Way to Free Up eDiscovery Storage Space
- Is It Worth Paying for eDiscovery Analytics?
- Small Case Vs Big Case eDiscovery: There’s Such a Difference!
- eDiscovery Pricing Comparison for Smaller, In-House Cases
- How to Use eDiscovery ‘Tag’ Macros For Lightning-Quick Work!