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The eDiscovery Paradigm Shift

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Update on eMail Archieving SaaS

In my never ending quest to investigate and report on the state of SaaS in the legal market, I came across an article Titled "Autonomy, Google and Microsoft battle for SaaS eMail Archiving" by Joshua L. Konkle posted on March 4, 2008 on the DGIC site.

Josh does an excellent job reviewing the current crop of hosted email achieving solutions and the rationale behind the MA activity, the non-MA moves and the partnership choices of some of the players. I would encourage anyone in the legal community that has to deal with eDiscoery to read this article and at least become familiar with who the players are, what they are trying to accomplish, who they partner with and whether or not they are installed with any of your corporate clients or your corporation. You never know when the name of one of these players may come up in a Meet and Confer conference or during cross examination.

However, he didn't put much of an eDiscovery spin on his analysis. As such, and since it is my impression from the time that I have spent working with law firms and corporate legal departments that email achieving is the central and most misunderstood issues in regards to document retention policy, pre-trial strategy and actual collection of the ESI, I plan to publish my thoughts on SaaS based email achieving and how it relates to eDiscovery in overall eDiscovery Paradigm shift.

Following is Josh's article:

Many companies consider hosted and SaaS data archiving in order to maintain focus on internal systems and leverage shared expertise. For many mid-sized enterprises managing day to day IT services can be very challenge. For example, architecting, installing, configuring and administering IBM's Lotus Notes Domino requires someone who is certified in the most advanced Lotus Notes and Domino certification, IBM Lotus Notes Domino 8 Advanced System Administration. Beyond traditional systems management, Lotus Notes Domino also offers an application development environment. Acquiring archiving and eDiscovery services for Lotus Notes Domino may best be done through hosted archiving services.

IBM believed SaaS archiving was a great option for their customers in 2002, which is when they started partnering with Autonomy's Zantaz/DigitalSafe group. At the time, Zantaz's only offering was hosted archiving. Zantaz acquired other software companies and SaaS solutions for eDiscovery through 2007, which is when it was acquired by Autonomy. Autonomy continues to maintain that strong relationship with IBM, but also offers SaaS email archiving for Microsoft Exchange, Bloomberg Mail, UNIX Sendmail, etc. Moreover, in a recent analyst survey, Autonomy was identified as having ~50% of the 2500 terabytes or 1.25 petabytes of hosted archive data, a distant second was Iron Mountain, whereas Microsoft/Fortiva captured 9% and Google had 2% (Figure 3.E-Mail Archiving Outsource Market by Total Number of Terabytes Managed)Autonomy/Zantaz (LON:AU), Microsoft/Fortiva (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Google/Postini (NASDAQ:GOOG) are three SaaS based archiving solutions you should evaluate if you are considering hosted email archiving and eDiscovery for Microsoft Exchange. Since Microsoft/Fortiva does not support Lotus Notes Domino, you should limit your research to Autonomy and Google if you also require Lotus Notes Domino support.

Autonomy's Zantaz was founded on the premise of SaaS archiving for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes Domino, whereas Google/Postini started offering it in 2006. Google acquired Postini in 2007 and added significant support and data center services to support their growing Enterprise customer base.

Enterprise customers are critical to Google's continued growth outside of internet search and advertising. Considering Microsoft's dominance in enterprise software and Autonomy's dominance in enterprise search, it becomes very cloudy which of the three would be better bed-fellows. Your choice for SaaS archiving will also set in motion your choice for enterprise search, now that Autonomy, Google and Microsoft all have offerings in both areas.

Autonomy's IDOL Platform and Microsoft/FAST compete head-to-head in many enterprises, either as enterprise search or as embedded search within applications like EMC/Documentum, Oracle/Stellent, Symantec Enterprise Vault (AltaVista Toolkit), etc. Therefore, Microsoft and Autonomy will continue to compete, as well as Autonomy competing with Google for SaaS Archiving.

Google has just started to compete for Microsoft's enterprise business. In particular, Google's acquisition of Postini offers a back door into an enterprise using eDiscovery and email data management as the keys. While Microsoft is concerned about this, the bid for Yahoo certainly raises the hackles of all in charge of Google's Internet and burgeoning enterprise accounts. Microsoft has no intention of being #1 in the enterprise search space, in fact, it doesn't need to be. Karim Yaghmour makes several good points about Microsoft's position with Google.

Microsoft has never targeted the number one vendor, in fact the acquisition of Frontbridge combined with the Fortiva partnership, makes it clear that Microsoft's knows how to play these enterprise games. Frontbridge is Microsoft's basic or 2nd tier hosted archiving system, Fortiva is the "go to" solution for enterprises based on search and enterprise data security. Security and privacy are the most critical elements of any hosted solution. When hosted solutions can't deliver on those, companies chose to manage data in house.

In the end, Microsoft and Google will continue to compete for Internet and enterprise search, as well as enterprise software. Autonomy will pick up clients on the fringe of Microsoft and Google war, such as enterprise eDiscovery and financial compliance. Autonomy currently hosts 14 of the worlds 20 largest banks enterprise email archiving. If you are considering hosted archiving consider three things: 1) your choice will decide your search future; 2) encrypted storage of data, and 3) managing corporate and personal privacy.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Update on SaaS in the Litigation Market

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) adoption rates are finally beginning to accelerate in the overall information technology market. Therefore, I thought that is was time for quick update on how SaaS is doing in the litigation market. Is the "jury" still out or are law firms and corporate legal departments following the rest of the pack on adopting SaaS?

Gartner Estimates
Technology research firm Gartner Inc., based in Stamford, Conn., estimated companies spent $5.1 billion on SaaS programs in 2007 worldwide, up 22 percent from 2006. That's expected to double by 2011. Ben Pring, a Gartner outsourcing and information technology analyst, expects about 15 percent of all business software sold to be accessed via the Internet five years from now.

Venture Capital Going SaaS Exclusive?
VC invested currently in software startups is almost exclusively going into SaaS companies. "If you go to a VC and say you've got this great application, this wonderful code, and you're going to put it on CDs and mail it out to all your customers, you'll be laughed out of the meeting," Pring said. But he said the shift to SaaS is in its infancy, and many small-to-medium-sized businesses still aren't comfortable handing their critical software functions and data to an outside vendor. Success Factor
In a recent article by Greg Avery of the Denver Business Journal titled "InfoNow, Webroot are on SaaS wave: Software as a service catches on", indicates that the SaaS model -- sometimes referred to as "on-demand software" or computing "in the cloud" -- took hold in the past couple years, fueled partly by the success of San Francisco-based, which has 36,000 business customers. That company, which promised "the end of software" when it launched in 2001, showed businesses could use important programs remotely and securely keep sensitive company information in someone else's data center.

Mr. Avery went on to say that that trend also has begun transforming Boulder-based Webroot Software Inc., one of the area's most successful traditional software businesses. Webroot sells one copy of its anti-spyware blockbuster program, Spy Sweeper, every 10 seconds. The product resides on the computer hard drives of more than 7 million consumers, and its distinctive green box is outsold only by bottled water in the nation's Best Buy stores. And yet, following its November acquisition of Britain-based Email Systems, Webroot is using SaaS email to break into the small- and medium-business market. SaaS email works like or Google email, only it's designed more for business use. The 300-employee company has 2.5 million business email customers worldwide and expects a lot of growth this year, CEO Peter Watkins said. By summer, the company plans to start selling businesses a hosted website-filtering service that's designed to keep corrupted or inappropriate sites from being accessed from client's computers. Webroot's SaaS offerings to businesses are expected to become the fastest-growing part of the company, Watkins said. Designing the key functions of the software once and hosting it in a Webroot data center eliminates the integration and custom code-writing headaches that business software development normally entails. That makes buying a SaaS product more efficient for customers and a better business model for Webroot, Watkins said. "From my side, it's dramatically more cost-effective," he said. "And that means I can put more money back into the product."

SaaS in the Litigation Market
Spending the better part of almost every business day working with law firms and corporate legal departments to address their legal and compliance ESI needs, my perspective is that SaaS is catching on in the litigation market also. With no hardware of software to install and maintain for the end users and pay-as-you-go subscription based pricing, the general SaaS model is a great fit for the fee based litigation market. And, with many of the data security myths having been addresses with the SaaS vendors moving to Tier-1 data centers such as Level 3, many of the road blocks previously setup by internal IT personnel, are no longer really valid (i.e. the SaaS vendors can provide a more secure and reliable data center than the end users can provide). I would say that one of the last legitimate roadblocks to the full scale adoption of SaaS is the current restrictions that bandwidth place on moving massive amounts of data over the Internet. And, based upon the explosion of ESI, this is one of the requirements in the ligation market. However, with bandwidth increasing along with the proliferation of compression technology, this is also becoming less of a legitimate issue.

Current Crop of SaaS Products and Vendors
Although this is not a comprehensive list of all of the SaaS vendors in the litigation market, it is a list of the SaaS (or SaaS like) technologies and vendors that I have reviewed and believe either have a significant enough client base or sufficiently advanced technology (i.e. true mutli-tennancy with self provisioning, etc.) to be considered a player:

Lexbe is a web-based case analysis and evidence management application. Case analysis features include fact and issue analysis, case calendaring, tracking of case participants, deposition analysis, case research, fact tracking and dynamic chronology and timeline generation. Document management features include full-text search, automatic optical character recognition (OCR) of PDF files, document sorting, retrieval and repository, native file review, metadata analysis, document coding, document encryption and off-line access. is offered on a ASP software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis, so users can access the Lexbe Online application from any web-based computer without the need to install or maintain software. is available starting at $79/month, with no set-up, cancellation fees or individual user license fees. A thirty-day free trial and online web demos are available at

ImageDepot, based in Houston, Texas, is an emerging true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based Online Review Tool (ORT) that provides all of the rich features and advanced functionality expected from today's ORT's without all the infrastructure or associated costs of maintaining your own system. ImageDepot is available on a pay-for-what-you-use monthly subscription plan with no software or hardware to purchase and no user fees. Click here to access an online Video overview of ImageDepot. More information is available on their website at

Ringtail Legal from FTI is an easy-to-use litigation document management platform. Offering the industry's best document review tool, Ringtail Legal offers flexible data management and electronic evidence discovery via an intuitive web interface, which provides geographically dispersed legal teams with instant access to every relevant case file. Built on Microsoft SQL Server for scalability, the software solution can handle hundreds of users at once and sort through thousands of cases and millions of documents quickly and accurately. The secure technology allows collaboration using a regular web browser rather than a cumbersome installed program or Citrix access. Easy to customize, the application conforms to the unique requirements of each case. Users also have the ability to add fields to the SQL data model and change the workflow without the need for dedicated – and costly – SQL talent. Ringtail Legal may be installed directly or hosted on the FTI Tier 4 ASP. Either way, users retain complete ownership of attorney work product. Ringtail Legal provides a comprehensive suite of features, including the ability to review native documents using the application that created them, saving the expense of creating thousands of TIFFs. And the product integrates with a wide variety of leading litigation support technologies, including Attenex, SER, dtSearch and CaseMap. More information is available on thier website at

iConnet Development, LLC
iCONECT Development, LLC is a world leader in litigation support and collaboration software, with products used by law firms, corporate legal departments, Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, and medical firms. Powered by Oracle technology, iCONECT’s LAN, Web, and Offline solutions enable more than 50,000 end users to review and manage electronic and document discovery from anywhere in the world for effective collaboration with outside counsel, branch offices, and consultants. Past awards include #1 Online Document Repository (AmLaw Tech Survey), #1 Litigation Support Software (Law Technology News Awards), and #1 Web-Based Litigation Software (AmLaw Tech Survey). More information is available on thier website at:

CaseCentral delivers on-demand discovery lifecycle management platforms to corporations and law firms. CaseCentral’s software is backed by responsive, litigation-savvy strategic consulting, process, and support services. CaseCentral empowers customers to support a repeatable business process for litigation and regulatory response—reducing risk and business disruption, boosting productivity, and controlling costs. Founded in 1994, CaseCentral is headquartered in San Francisco, California and maintains sales and support offices in New York City and Washington DC. CaseCentral’s client list numbers over 1,100 law firms and corporations and includes 81 of the top 100 U.S. law firms. CaseCentral is consistently chosen to handle many of the most complex and highly visible litigation projects in the nation. For more information, call 1.800.714.2727 or visit

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, MessageOne is the leading provider of managed services for email management, archiving and business continuity. For enterprise email and wireless messaging systems, the company’s Email Management Services (EMS™) provides comprehensive email archiving, storage management and e-Discovery with the total continuity, recovery, and security protection only available from a managed service. In addition, MessageOne’s AlertFind™ provides guaranteed emergency notification and escalation to help companies protect their employees during any crisis or disaster. Millions of users around the world depend on MessageOne for its award-winning managed services. More information is available on their website at

Advologix.Com® LLC
Advologix.Com® LLC, based in Houston, Texas develops and sells AdvologixPM™, the world’s first comprehensive web-based Law Practice Management Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) suite for law firms of all sizes. For more information or to sign up for a free trial evaluation of AdvologixPM please visit

Rocket Matter, LLC is a Florida-based technology company providing premier, web-based software for the legal services industry. Rocket Matter, in Beta since November 2007, exemplifies our simple, imaginative, Software as a Service (SaaS) approach to developing a superior software experience. RocketMatter provides increased security, business continuity, decreased technology infrastructure and maintenance, and improved ROI for IT expenses for solo and small firms. Our philosophy is predicated on pairing intuitive, tailored, well-designed software with exceptional customer service. Ubiquity is important in our software design: Our offerings work on Linux, Mac, Windows, as well as most on mobile devices. Client interaction is essential to our process; we involve our customers early and often in the design process. More information is available on their website at:

Note to SaaS Vendors
If your SaaS legal solution is not listed and you would like me to review it and list in my next posting, please contact me at

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Update on Saas in the Litigation Market

In a recent artile in the Denver Business Journal by Greg Avery Denver Business Journal

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

eDiscovery XML

Coming from the object oriented software development world and more recently from the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) development world, XML or eXtensible Markup Language is a mainstay. However, with my new pond being eDiscovery technology, XML is just another acronym that everyone has to learn. And, although us eDiscovery technology gurus may never catch up to the SaaS nerds, I would suspect that XML is going to have to be a big part of our pond as we all seek to exchange and integrate the massive amounts of ESI that we have so eloquently generated.

As such, I found the following article, E-Discovery Guru Not Yet Wed to XML, by Craig Ball published on the Law Technology News site on March 25, 2008 to be extremely informative and timely. The text of Mr. Ball's article is as follows:

I want to love XML. I want to embrace it with the passion of my wiser colleagues, excited by its schemas, titillated by its well-formed code, flushed from its pull-parsing. I want to love XML as much as the cool kids do. So why does it leave me cold?

I want XML the dragon slayer: all the functionality of native electronic evidence coupled with the ease of identification, reliable redaction and intelligibility of paper documents. The promise is palpable; but for now, XML is just a clever replacement for load files, those clumsy Sancho Panzas that serve as squire to addled TIFF image productions. Maybe that's reason enough to love XML.

XML is eXtensible Markup Language, an unfamiliar name for a familiar technology. Markup languages are coded identifiers paired with text and other information. They can define the appearance of content, like the reveal-codes screen of Corel Inc.'s WordPerfect documents. They also serve to tag content to distinguish whether 09011957 is a birth date (09/01/1957), a phone number (0-901-1957) or a Bates number. Plus, markup languages allow machines to talk to each other in ways humans understand.

Internet surfers rely on a markup language called HyperText Markup Language or HTML that forms the pages of the World Wide Web. There's a good chance the e-mail you send or receive is HTML, too. If you've tried to move documents between WordPerfect and Microsoft Corp.'s Word, or synchronize information across different programs, you know success hinges on how well one application understands the data of another.

Something as simple as importing day-first European date formats to month-first U.S. systems causes big headaches if the recipient doesn't know what it's getting.
Standardized markup languages alleviate problems by tagging data to describe it (e.g., ), constraining data by imposing conditions (e.g., restricting dates to U.S. formats: ) and supporting hierarchic structuring of information (e.g., 01/09/1957).

There are so many kinds of data and metadata unique to applications and industries that a universal tagging system would be absurdly complex and couldn't keep pace with technology and business. Accordingly, XML is extensible; that is, anyone can create tags and set their descriptions and parameters. Then, just as persons with different native tongues can agree to converse in a language both speak, different computer systems can communicate using an agreed-upon XML implementation. It's Esperanto for electrons.

In e-discovery, we deal with information piecemeal, such as native documents and system metadata or e-mail messages and headers. We even deconstruct evidence by imaging it and stripping it of searchability, only to have to reconstruct the lost text and produce it with the image. Metadata, header data and searchable text tend to be produced in containers called load files housing delimited text, meaning that values in each row of data follow a rigid sequence and are separated by characters like commas, tabs or quotation marks. Using load files entails negotiating their organization or agreeing to employ a structure geared to review software such as CT Summation or Lexis Nexis Concordance. Conventional load files are unforgiving. Deviate from the required sequence, or omit, misplace or include an extra delimiter, and it's a train wreck.

By tagging each value to identify its content and connection to the evidence, XML brings intelligence and resilience to load files. More importantly, XML fosters the ability to move data from one environment to another simply by matching the tags to proper counterparts.
Like our multilingual speakers using a common language, as long as two systems employ the same XML tags and organization (typically shared as an XML Schema Definition or XSD file), they can quickly and intelligibly share information. Parties and vendors exchanging data can fashion a common schema custom tailored to their data or employ a published schema suited to the task.

There is no standard e-discovery XML schema in wide use, but consultants George Socha and Tom Gelbmann are promoting one crafted as part of their groundbreaking Electronic Discovery Reference Model project. Socha (a member of LTN's Editorial Advisory Board) and Gelbmann have done an impressive job securing commitments from e-discovery service providers to adopt EDRM XML as an industry lingua franca. See

A mature e-discovery XML schema must incorporate and authenticate native and nontextual data and ensure that the resulting XML stays valid and well-formed. It's feasible to encode and incorporate binary formats using MIME (the same way they travel via e-mail), and to authenticate by hashing; but these refinements aren't yet a part of the EDRM schema.

So stay tuned. I don't love XML yet, but it promises to be everyone's new best friend.

Craig Ball, a member of the editorial advisory boards of both LTN and Legal Technology is a trial lawyer and computer forensics/EDD special master, based in Austin, Texas.

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Corporations are Evidence Machines

In my never ending quest to find the best technologies in the industry, I have recently discovered Humanizing Technology (HT), a emerging player in the sophisticated search technology market.

The Problem
As I have been "preaching"on this Blog, after Enron and the changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), it has become increasingly risky for companies to rely solely upon reactive or remedial measures with regard to electronic compliance. Through (FRCP) directives, courts continue to impose more stringent eDiscovery requirements, increasingly mandating that companies better understand and manage electronic communications and records. These mandates, combined with the sheer volume of electronic communications and the proliferation of communications technologies, pose a serious risk to companies.

An October 1, 2007 Forbes magazine article titled, The Data Explosion, noted: "Corporations are evidence machines, generating terabytes of electronic documents, e-mails and digitally recorded phone calls each year." Non-compliance problems, many of which are perpetrated in electronic communications, can be and frequently are image-damaging publicity events for companies as well as a basis for significant financial and legal risk. Managing e-compliance in the midst of the data explosion, as opposed to having it manage you, is a key challenge to company boards, executives, and managers as well as their professional advisors.

HT History
HT began as a technology development company in early 2000 and soon began focusing upon applications that required the mining and extraction of hard-to-find information as a core competency. As such, HT developed a unique concept search technology and deployed it as a utility within its news search applications and patent search product. In these products, the technology proved its ability to deliver unique concept search capabilities and so HT embarked upon efforts to leverage its concept search technology by applying it to other markets.
In mid-2007, HT de-coupled its concept search technology from the news and patent search products to deploy it within various text-search applications. In just a few short months, HT proved the technology’s uniqueness within the following applications:
  1. A significant mid-size manufacturing business searching various data stores that, when complete, will involve up to 2 tera-bytes of data searched.
  2. Two leading Universities for searching intellectual property, research expertise, knowledge base information, and library archives.
  3. A law firm searching its database of legal documents.
  4. A medical information application searching various data stores for relevant patents, patient record data, and clinical trial results.
  5. An Indiana law enforcement agency searching data stores of evidence.

Based on the success of the technology, HT sought to identify various business and/or legal problems that were complex and costly to organizations but could be solved by deploying superior technology that searches, finds, and retrieves critical information. Initially, HT was advised to deploy its technology toward electronic discovery. While this is an attractive market and involves complex business and legal issues, HT believes that it makes more sense to help companies avoid trouble (i.e., be proactive) rather than simply helping them get out of trouble (i.e., be reactive). Thus, the emerging area of electronic compliance became the focus of HT’s concept search. HT is bringing together expertise and state-of-the-art tools for the implementation of Best Practices in electronic compliance for its customers.

The HT Solution
HT’s Audit Quality Search (AQS) technology seeks to assist corporations in risk management by carrying out various aspects of a compliance audit program including routine internal monitoring, more thorough periodic internal audits, and very thorough external text audits. HT has the ability to assist executives, officers, board members, high level managers, audit committee members, and professional advisors in assessing regulatory compliance gaps, identifying and managing risk and, in general, carrying out a broad set of corporate governance and oversight responsibilities. HT AQS can be used in the following ways:

  1. As an investigative tool to research specific suspected wrong-doing.
  2. As a gap analysis tool to carry out proactive but general compliance assessments.
  3. As a compliance audit tool to provide a basis for sampling and summarizing a company’s overall state of compliance (similar to the function of financial audits).
  4. As a records management tool to analyze electronic record data stores and provide a basis for making retention/deletion decisions.
  5. As a due diligence tool to analyze electronic record data stores for completed and/or prospective acquisitions.

By utilizing AQS technology as part of a comprehensive compliance audit program, company executives, managers, board member, audit committee members and professional advisors can reduce financial risk and legal exposure by implementing Best Practices and "reasonable state-of-the-art methods" for assuring compliance.

I would encourage anyone who reads this Blog to contact Michael Mulcahy, the VP of Business Development at HT to get more information about this interesting and very promsing new search solution.

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