Remaining Compliant with Holds and eDiscovery Requests: What to Look for in a Cloud Storage Vendor

Companies facing holds and eDiscovery requests from opposing counsel during the course of litigation can’t afford to ignore such requests.

cloud-based storage vendor

What to Look for in a Cloud Storage Vendor

Not being able to lay quick hands on documents or records is not seen as a valid reason for failure to produce, and delay can cost companies valuable litigation preparation time and lost moneys in the form of adverse interference instructions, summary judgments or fines.

With many companies moving to cloud-based storage options, they may think the cloud vendor bears ultimate responsibility for timely hold requests and eDiscovery responses, but that may not be the case. Even if records are unavailable through no fault of your company because of the cloud vendor’s slow response or mistakes, the court is likely to hold your company responsible. The same is true if records are deemed to have been tampered with or spoiled in some way.

That doesn’t mean you should scrap your cloud records management strategy and give up on the cloud! It does mean you should vet your cloud vendor carefully to avoid legal and compliance problems associated with eDiscovery.

The four ways to vet your cloud vendor:

1. Make sure the cloud vendor offers high-quality services with a history of little downtime or access issues. Ask your vendor whether there is a plan for data access during downtime or emergencies; knowing your vendor has a plan of action provides peace of mind that your records will be safe and accessible at almost any time.

2. Talk to potential vendors about their experience with holds and eDiscovery. Has the vendor dealt with such situations before, how long did it take to produce relevant content, what was the specific process, and what was the outcome? A vendor with a proven track record for being accountable for document production under eDiscovery process is more likely to handle future requests without incident. In addition to past experience, request information about how the vendor’s cloud storage resources can interface with eDiscovery software.

3. Find out where and how a potential vendor stores records. Records that are housed on services in certain locations, such as the EU, may present additional legal issues during eDiscovery processes due to privacy regulations and other laws.

4. Discuss the specific business processes that would take place during holds and eDiscovery processes so you aren’t surprised at the start of litigation. Ask vendors to explain how they produce data and documents upon request, what formats documents can be provided in, and what audit processes are conducted so that parties to litigation are certain all data and metadata was produced and was not spoiled. You’ll also want to ask for quotes on what such services will cost in advance, especially if the vendor is fee-based.

By making holds and eDiscovery processes part of the discussion and criteria when selecting a cloud storage vendor, you can avoid expensive legal woes in the future.

Discover more about eDiscovery and other services you should vet for your business technology processes.