How Do eDiscovery Subscription Services Work?

11 March 2022 by Anith eDiscovery subscription

Takeaway: With eDiscovery subscription services, a vendor runs their eDiscovery software online, and you access it via your web browser. It’s a convenient way of outsourcing the hassle of operating the software/hardware while still using eDiscovery to grow your firm. And you get all this for a small, predictable monthly subscription fee.

Subscription services make eDiscovery affordable for everyone.

Until relatively recently, eDiscovery was essentially an expensive novelty. For example, you’d need vendors to design custom software, for which you’d have to buy costly hardware like servers, computers, cables, etc. Also, you’d need to protect the whole setup from viruses, malware, and theft. And you’d likely also need IT experts to troubleshoot tech issues that might pop up. All this was usually too expensive for small and midsize law firms, which meant that only larger firms with deep pockets could afford eDiscovery. But then came subscription services. And they immediately changed the whole eDiscovery software model, making it affordable for everyone.

With a subscription service, you get to outsource all the hassle of eDiscovery.

Subscription services let you lease software instead of buying it. Your eDiscovery vendor runs the software in the Cloud and you’ll access it over the internet – as you do with email – for a small subscription fee. This SaaS (Software as a Service) business model means that you outsource all the hassle of buying, installing, maintaining, and protecting hardware and software. A vendor will handle all of this for you, and since they work at scale, their subscription fees are very affordable. (E.g., eDiscovery software GoldFynch offers plans starting at just $27 a month.) As a bonus, paying nothing upfront means that you can switch software at any point without losing a large initial investment.

This new eDiscovery model means you can work from anywhere.

With all your files in the Cloud, you’re not tied down to a particular geographic location. That means you can work on the go and collaborate with teams across the country (or the world). All you’ll need is a laptop and an internet connection. And subscription-based services encrypt and store multiple copies of your files on secure Cloud servers – so you’ll never lose your data.

You’ll also be able to let your cases grow freely.

Since Cloud storage can expand almost indefinitely, you’ll never run out of space for your files, and you won’t have to commit to a particular case volume upfront. Also, the best eDiscovery applications have systems that automatically adjust for a growing case, so you won’t have to track case sizes or worry about upgrading your storage. You’ll be able to let cases grow and shrink organically (or even archive them) without agonizing over costs. Contrast this with a traditional in-house eDiscovery setup where you’d be scrambling to free up storage or buy add-on hard drives. (And remember, buying this extra storage is much more expensive than leasing space in the Cloud.)

The best subscription services are also easy to use.

eDiscovery applications have a lot of ‘processing’ to do when you upload data. They need to spot duplicate files, flag system files, convert your data into a common format, and extract metadata and embedded files. (Learn more about eDiscovery processing.) But all this happens behind the scenes, and you won’t have to worry about it. All you’ll need to do is drag-and-drop files into your eDiscovery browser and start reviewing them. In fact, if your vendor needs more than a brief tutorial to explain how their software works, then it’s unnecessarily complicated. The best eDiscovery services borrow workflow designs from apps you already use. So, you’d move files around as you’d do on a PC or Mac, search documents as you’d do with Google, store files as you’d do with Dropbox, and so on. And this simplicity is essential because the fewer new skills your team has to learn, the more likely they’ll welcome the software.

A subscription service is only as good as its review tools, though.

The best services offer these key tools to help with your eDiscovery reviews:

  1. Automatic optical character recognition (OCR) to convert scanned documents into machine-readable text that you can search for keywords.
  2. A powerful search engine to find niche files based on keywords, date ranges, and metadata. For example, you can ask your search engine to find ‘the PDF summarizing the ‘2018 Review,’ which was emailed to custodian Janet Levinson sometime between January and March 2019.’ Here, the search engine will need to exclude non-PDF files, files outside that date range, and files without the keyword phrase ‘2018 Review.’
  3. Simple tags (i.e., virtual sticky notes) to attach to documents as a way of grouping similar files and pulling them up with a single mouse click later on.
  4. Reliable redactions that are ‘burned in’ to productions, as opposed to black boxes simply drawn over text. Learn more about proper redaction protocol.
  5. Notes, annotations, and comments to help collaborate with your team without having to switch to email or messaging apps.

Learn more about these essential review tools.

Most importantly, you get all this for a predictable monthly subscription fee.

The best eDiscovery services offer a storage-based pricing system. Here, you pay only for storage space, and everything else (processing, review tools, production features, multiple user access, etc.) is bundled in for free. So, your bill will be directly linked to the size of your storage plan – which makes it easy to predict monthly eDiscovery costs. Learn more about eDiscovery pricing systems.

Looking for an easy-to-use eDiscovery subscription service? Try GoldFynch.

The right subscription service can noticeably simplify eDiscovery. Take GoldFynch, for example:

  • It costs just $27 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 files 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?