To Setup Own E-Discovery or to Engage Professionals?

An analysis of the costing and the ROI

There is a growing demand out there from the corporate sectors to setup own E-Discovery in Malaysia. Due to privacy and protection of information, these corporations decided to have its own specialized team to take care of their E-Discovery matters.

Suppose a company has about 1,000 staff and receive internal incident report between five to ten cases per year. Next question is; how big should a company setup their own E-Discovery? Is it feasible to setup own E-Discovery?

The Cost

Let’s first look at the cost. At a minimum, the E-Discovery must be able to analyze data from computers, smart phones, tablets and server. For 5 to 10 case per year, the requirements and the costing are as follows;

EDiscovery1

Based on the table above, the estimated cost to setup E-Discovery is MYR1,070,000.00

Comparing the Cost

E-Discovery is a service that has been offered in the market for quite a long time. There are in fact several companies out there that can offer this service at affordable price. CyberSecurity Malaysia, for example, does provide E-Discovery service at a minimal cost of MYR800.00 per hour of service.

Due to complexity of a case, uncertainty of number of evidence and long case objectives, it is often difficult for a company offering professional E-Discovery service to come out with a fixed price for the service. Often price is based on case basis. The estimated price is usually based on the size of the data or man-hour.

For better understanding, the following table shows the estimation of price based on work scope that has been compiled by CyberSecurity Malaysia:

EDiscovery4So perhaps a company has ten cases in a year, with mixed work scope. Estimation of price for E-Discovery service by CyberSecurity Malaysia in a year is MYR 166,000.00. The estimated price is assuming a company has three case related to smartphones, three email analysis, three document extractions and one database analysis.

EDiscovery2

By comparing the cost between setting up own E-Discovery and getting professional E-Discovery service, the latter offers the best saving in terms of money. A company can save cost by 40% if they chose to engage professional service. But if a company can afford to pay MYR2.5 million, then maybe the choice would be to setup own E-Discovery.

But hold on. Before any decision is made, please continue to read my article on Major Risks in Do-It-Yourself Approach.

Finally, the ROI

If a company faces five to ten cases per year, then based on the costs and the risks, engaging professional E-Discovery service offers the best deal compared to setting up own team. The following table concludes the analysis.

EDiscovery3

To conclude, the best return of investment shall be to engage professional E-Discovery service, with years of EDiscovery6experience. At the end of the day, an organization need to be sure that the E-Discovery needs are taken care in the best way possible and in a defensible way.

According to Turner2, the quality of the work depends on the quality of the software, which becomes more expensive as you add more features. Because it’s their primary focus, an E-Discovery firm is able to invest in the best software and the most recent technology. Advanced technology has the ability to reduce the number of documents attorneys need to review, which can result in huge savings.

For a company that has large number of cases, the best solution is to setup own E-Discovery. To minimize the risk, it is advisable that the company hires a staff of experienced forensics professionals, as being suggested by Eric Shirk1.

Reference

  1. ‘The Dangers of Do-IT-Yourself Computer Forensics’, Eric Shirk, Law Practice Today, Nov 2007, http://apps.americanbar.org/lpm/lpt/articles/tch11071.shtml.
  2. ‘Litigation support services: In-house or outsource eDiscovery?’, Tom Turner, DSIcovery, April 2013, http://dsicovery.com/industry-insight/litigation-support-services-in-house-or-outsource-ediscovery/
  3. ‘When and Why Should You Start an e-Discovery Team’, Ralph Losey, Feb 2008, http://e-discoveryteam.com/?s=start+team.
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