The Wrong eDiscovery Software Can Ruin Your Data!

22 July 2021 by UV eDiscovery

Takeaway: eDiscovery applications simplify your life, but if they aren’t well designed, they can end up ruining your data. So it’s worth investing in software you can trust.

eDiscovery software helps us process data faster than ever, but poorly designed software can also ruin our data.

In the modern world of electronic data (emails, PDFs, word documents, etc.), electronic discovery (eDiscovery) can simplify an attorney’s life. Instead of spending weeks reading through reams of paper documents, you can now use your eDiscovery software to pull up relevant files in seconds. Even the most basic search engine can rapidly sort through hundreds of gigabytes of data to find responsive keywords. And more advanced search engines can perform complicated Boolean searches to sort through files more efficiently. But is there a downside to depending so heavily on eDiscovery software? Absolutely. Because poorly designed software can ruin your data.

For starters, your software can corrupt data when uploading it into the Cloud.

Most of the best eDiscovery applications store your data in the Cloud (i.e., a global network of high-performance computer servers). But getting the data into the Cloud is tricky. That’s because it consists of data bytes structured in a precise way. And if this structure is mistakenly rearranged during the upload, then your files will get corrupted and you’ll lose valuable data. Things get trickier, though, because many eDiscovery applications use a process called ‘chunking’ to make uploads faster. So, instead of uploading an entire file (which can take time), it breaks it up into little ‘chunks,’ uploads them in parallel, and reassembles the file in the Cloud. Of course, this adds to the danger that your data gets corrupted during the upload.

The best eDiscovery applications don’t often make chunking and uploading errors. And when they do, they catch the errors immediately.

It’s annoying when your software makes an uploading error. But what’s really damaging is when you don’t know it’s made that error. That’s why well-designed eDiscovery applications use ‘hashing’ to catch upload errors. A ‘hash value’ is a string of numbers and letters generated by a hashing algorithm, based on the contents of a file. These hashes are so unique that changing even a single comma or full stop in a document will alter its hash value. Hashes are like a digital fingerprint, which is why they’re so useful in catching upload errors. Your eDiscovery software will compare a file’s hash value before and after uploading to make sure it hasn’t been corrupted. Learn more about hashing.

Your eDiscovery software can also ruin a case by mistakenly changing file metadata.

Each document you create has a bunch of contextual information added to it by your computer. For example, when you create a Word document, Microsoft Word tacks on information like when the file was created, who created it, where it’s stored, when it was last opened, etc. This information is called metadata, and it’s a digital footprint tracking a document’s history. You’ll find metadata everywhere, attached to any digital content like emails, photographs, videos, web pages, social media posts, and more. Metadata gives you valuable bonus information, but it’s easy to destroy. For example, you can mistakenly change metadata just by opening a file, copying it to a different location, or running a virus scan. That’s why it’s worth making sure you’re using metadata-friendly eDiscovery software. Learn more about metadata.

You can lose data even when scanning paper documents.

Most businesses do still use paper documents. And you’ll need to scan these to make them digital. The thing is, your software can’t process the text in scanned documents until it’s been properly converted using an optical character recognition (OCR) software tool. Unfortunately, many of the free OCR tools available aren’t very accurate. They’ll give you distorted and incorrect text, forcing you to waste time redoing the conversions. Meanwhile, if you pay for a reputable, stand-alone OCR service, it’ll cost you a lot more and likely take many days for the conversion. The solution is to find eDiscovery software with a reliable inbuilt OCR tool. Since you’re already paying for the software, you’ll save money on OCR. And well-designed software usually has well-designed OCR.

It’s not just about ruining data, though. Sometimes, your software can compromise a case by mistakenly revealing privileged or sensitive information.

You’ll usually need to redact sensitive or privileged information (email addresses, Social Security numbers, etc.) in your case. But this is more difficult than you’d think. With paper documents, you’d just run a thick permanent marker over whatever you want to redact. But this doesn’t work with digital data. For example, you could use the black highlighter tool in Microsoft Word to cross out sensitive information. Or you could use the ‘shapes’ tool to draw a black box over it. But just because you can’t see something on your screen, it doesn’t mean it’s been redacted. Words seemingly crossed out by the marker tool suddenly become visible if you simply highlight them with your cursor. And you can copy text out from behind a black box and paste it in a new document – ready to read. On the other hand, a proper redaction tool ‘burns’ the reaction in thoroughly, making it permanent. Learn more about redaction.

You don’t want to expose your data to these sorts of risks. And that’s why it’s worth finding eDiscovery software you can trust.

At GoldFynch, we’ve designed our eDiscovery service for small and midsize law firms. It has all the eDiscovery features you’ll need, like hashing, metadata protection, inbuilt OCR, and trustworthy redaction. But there’s more about GoldFynch that might interest you.

  • 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. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, 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 takes just minutes to get going. 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 a 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. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support.
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?