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By Ben Puzzuoli, Technical Sales Director at KineticD
Feb. 20, 2012

KineticD Online Data Backup Expert Tips: Electronic Discovery and Cloud Computing

The term “electronic discovery” (or “eDiscovery”) refers to the process of recovering data for legal use, often by digital forensics analysts who are called upon by attorneys or other legal entities to extract evidence from computers, smart phones or other digital devices for use as evidence in court. So, with an increasing amount of people relying less on personal digital devices and more on the cloud for their data storage concerns, how is eDiscovery performed on cloud data? How can online data backup and cloud computing providers successfully ensure that all legal availability requirements are fulfilled, while still keeping their customers’ data safe from hackers and other malicious security threats?

Well, first off it is worth mentioning something rather obvious: when you transmit large amounts of data online and store it in the cloud, there are a lot more ways that people could potentially get their hands on it than if you simply stored it on an isolated database or disconnected hard drive somewhere. For this reason, as the basic mechanics and common usage of cloud computing have advanced, so have the methods used by cloud service vendors to guarantee that their clients’ data is only accessible to them, and no one else (not even the cloud vendors themselves). New varieties of hidden, attached information called “metadata” have evolved to make client data both more secure and more easily searchable and accessible by the clients themselves, which in turn can be leveraged for eDiscovery if a legal requirement demands it.

The fact that there could be potential legal issues if certain information isn’t recoverable and eDiscoverable from the cloud comes, of course, as no surprise when you consider the endless array of different types of information that is stored online. Text documents, videos, phone records, IMs, spreadsheets, etc.; the list goes on and on, and all of this information must be encrypted so as to not fall into the wrong hands, tagged with the right metadata so that it is easily accessible to its owner, thoroughly indexed for fast searchablilty and, indeed, eDiscoverable as well. In addition to this, the leveraging of extensive metadata is employed by most online data backup and cloud computing providers for a large number of other technically advanced online data backup processes, including file versioning, which, while keeping a record of unsaved document revisions so that clients can return to earlier versions of a cloud file if need be, also serves to create a historical record that can potentially prove a great resource for eDiscovery purposes.

So, when it comes to how the worlds of eDicovery and cloud computing come together, it’s really all about the metadata. While striving to make documents more accessible and sortable for their clients, online data vendors are also fulfilling the legal requirements of eDiscovery simultaneously. And, there are many other uses for metadata as well; from the generation of targeted advertising to the inner mechanics of search engines, metadata is the key to making the overwhelmingly massive and inconceivably diverse world of cloud data secure, searchable, organized and, indeed, eDiscoverable as well.

Of course, it’s no surprise that we here at KineticD understand that issues of legal discovery in the cloud lie in the quality of metadata, because we provide the most advanced data protection, versioning and accessibility-related metadata available on the market today. Please stop by our website today for more information about how KineticD continues to lead the way in data security, user accessibility, and adherence to eDiscovery legal mandates as well.

About the author: Ben Puzzuoli is Technical Sales Director at KineticD, a Toronto based online data backup service provider.

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