It’s no secret that more government agencies are pivoting away from outdated on-premises infrastructure in favor of secure, cloud-based eDiscovery technology built to keep up with their growing demands.
However, it’s less a mass exodus and more a slow, deliberate shift. In fact, some government agencies still rely on these older systems even though they lack the agility, scalability, and innovation required for 2023 and beyond.
Many agencies are reluctant to even explore making the switch due to cost mandates. But instead of weighing the cost of replacing their aging technology, more agencies might be better served to weigh the cost of keeping their outdated infrastructure.
In other words, the numerous limitations of on-premises technology can be even more detrimental to government agencies than they realize. And what might actually be most costly — both financially and reputationally — is to cling to their incumbent solution.
Here are a few ways using on-premises eDiscovery technology alone might be holding you back:
While conventional wisdom might suggest that on-premises technology is theoretically safer than cloud computing infrastructure because the entire instance of data is confined to an agency’s on-site server room — that theory is aging worse than the on-premises technology itself. There are a few reasons why:
Less Comprehensive Security Measures
Just because cloud-based systems are “on the internet,” that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more susceptible to a security breach. Cloud-based eDiscovery technology providers often invest heavily in security measures such as access controls, intrusion detection, encryption, and firewalls. These measures can be more comprehensive than what some government agencies are able to employ with on-premises systems alone.
Not to mention, most of the investments and advancements in cybersecurity are being made on the cloud. And when your data is stored in the cloud, it helps with interoperability, which can speed up response times and detection times in the event of a security breach.
Less Reliable Data Backup
With a secure, cloud-based eDiscovery solution, your data can be backed up automatically, stored, and replicated across different geographic regions and jurisdictions. This can mitigate unnecessary data loss due to large network outages, cyberattacks, or natural disasters such as fires. On-premises systems, by contrast, tend to lack such redundancy.
Lack of External Auditing
While government agencies develop and adhere to their own rigorous compliance standards in-house, on-premises technology may not be subject to the same kind of oversight or external auditing as many cloud-based solutions.
One of the hidden drawbacks of on-premises systems is that, unlike cloud-based solutions, they may rely on manual system updates that could be inadvertently skipped. Cloud-based eDiscovery technology providers, on the other hand, generally run routine software updates to patch security issues and resolve any vulnerabilities, which help safeguard the platform from various kinds of threats.
One of the most significant limitations of on-premises systems is the inability to scale. When you’re tethered to clunky in-house technology, all updates have to be deployed within the framework of the on-premises infrastructure. As a result, these systems cannot easily scale up or down to adapt to new requirements. Here’s where the lack of scalability can really hurt you:
Storage Capacity and Processing Limits
On-premises systems typically have predetermined limits on storage capacity and processing ability. Yet, you’ll often be charged for full capacity even if you only use a fraction of that.
On the flip side, cloud-based technologies are “elastic,” meaning they are infinitely scalable and make use of the vendor’s entire online network. That means you can pay for additional storage and processing power, only if you need them. This flexible scalability is useful for agencies with evolving needs and budget constraints.
Providers such as Casepoint utilize a transparent pricing model with no hidden expenses or costly add-ons. Even the advanced features, such as AI and analytics, are built right into the platform and available on day one.
Inadequate Data Management
Aside from storage capacity and processing power limitations, on-premises technology is simply ill-equipped to scale up for larger data volumes. Transitioning away from on-premises systems is critical for agencies to meet critical deadlines and best manage every use case of data discovery.
Depending on exactly how an agency’s firewall is configured, on-premises systems are generally only available on the agency’s physical premises. Why does this matter?
Remote Work Limits
For one, this limits the option of remote work for agency employees. If government agencies aren’t worried by this, perhaps they should be.
According to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, remote work has increased employee engagement and made certain federal agencies more appealing for prospective hires. As a result, more federal employees are “agency-hopping” to take advantage of remote work opportunities at other agencies in the public sector. If state and federal agencies are too slow to adapt to cloud-based technologies, they could experience high rates of turnover, including among their most valuable workers.
One notable loophole is using a VPN to gain remote access to on-premises systems. However, VPNs likewise limit flexibility by restricting collaboration outside the agency.
System Accessibility Restrictions
In addition to remote work restrictions, on-premises systems often limit global access during business travel and can impede cross-office eDiscovery for agencies with multiple brick-and-mortar locations.
Conversely, because they’re hosted on distributed cloud networks, eDiscovery providers such as Casepoint are accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. Not only are such options every bit as safe and secure as on-premises systems, they also provide agencies unprecedented flexibility.
With the exception of a small contingent of on-premises loyalists, the eDiscovery software landscape has largely shifted to the cloud. If you currently use an on-premises system for eDiscovery, there’s no better time to carefully evaluate whether the technology still meets your agency’s needs, including whether it can handle ever-expanding data volumes and complex data types.
Despite their disappointment with on-premises systems, some agencies still use them simply because they’re already installed and integrated with their other systems, and they haven’t been irreversibly breached. If this sounds like you, consider the “sunk cost fallacy.” Meaning, just because your agency has invested in on-premises technology in the past, that doesn’t mean you should continue to use it and invest in it moving forward. The truth is, some government agencies believe they can’t afford to move away from on-premises systems, when in fact, they can’t afford not to.
Make the investment in the right cloud-based eDiscovery technology now, and watch your agency reap the benefits.