Altitude Woes: Avoiding the Dangers of BYOC in Ediscovery

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 by Thought Leadership Team


In a recent article, my Kroll Ontrack colleague, Michele Lange, discussed the ominous presence of the Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC) movement within corporations. As with all new technologies, the BYOC movement has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, by allowing employees to use personal cloud storage systems, there is an increase in efficiency, a decrease in the cost of sharing data and greater access to corporate information. However, there are lurking risks associated with such benefits. Last week’s Legaltech News included an article called Avoiding the Dangers of Bring Your Own Cloud in E-Discovery which discussed these issues in detail.

Interconnection of Devices

The greatest strength of cloud storage – the ease of access and efficiency – is also one of its major weaknesses. Cloud services are interconnected, which means that when users upload corporate information onto one device with cloud storage, the cloud server replicates the files and makes them available to other connected devices, creating multiple copies of potentially confidential data or documents across devices which may lack proper security measures. One employee's decision to use a third-party cloud may seem inconsequential, but when hundreds or thousands of employees begin storing important documents and data on third-party clouds outside the control of corporate security, problems arise.

Dark Data, Dark Clouds

Beyond problems of security, confidentiality, compliance, and possible theft of corporate intellectual property, the use of cloud storage threatens effective ediscovery. In litigation, virtually anything is discoverable if it pertains to the case, including the information stored in personal clouds – sometimes termed "dark data." Often, no one else at a corporation is aware of the data that resides in an employee’s personal cloud. How then must a corporation be responsible for collecting and producing said data? The efforts associated with thorough searching and production of such data may contribute to increased ediscovery costs and complication.

The future of the BYOC movement seems bleak, but there is a silver lining. If employees, IT departments and legal teams are willing to collaborate and work together to offer cloud storage with the necessary compliance and security protocols, the future use of BYOC may be sunnier than anticipated.