Defensibility in Disco

Disco provides end-to-end defensibility that lets you audit the path of every document from when it arrives in Disco through production and eventual matter deletion.

  1. New data is tracked in FTP logs for data transmitted by FTP and using chain-of-custody forms for data on physical drives delivered to the Disco office.
  2. Each ingest session generates a complete ingest report that indicates the disposition of every file from that ingest session. The report says what was done with the file (ingested, deduplicated, deNISTed, etc.) and reports any ingestion errors (password protected with no password supplied, etc.).
  3. Audit logs contain every action taken in Disco during review, who took the action, and when it happened, all with full granularity. This includes, for example, every search that was run and who ran it, every document that was viewed and who viewed it, and every tag that was applied or removed, when it was applied or removed, who applied or removed it, and whether it was done individually or as part of a mass tag.
  4. Production indexes and SHA1 and MD5 hashes of production zips ensure integrity of productions.

With FTP logs and chain-of-custody forms, complete ingest reports, audit logs, and production indexes and hashes, you can audit and defend each step of the ediscovery process.

LFD 10 – Sensible defaults

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Sensible means that you can almost always use the default option in Disco and Disco will do the right thing; defaults means that when you do need to do something else, you can.

For example:

  1. When you tag an email, the tags flow down to the email’s attachment. This is sensible because when you produce an email, you generally mean to produce the whole thing. But, when you need to, you can remove the tags from some or all of the attachments or apply different tags to them altogether.
  2. When you produce documents, Disco produces one PDF per document with an industry-standard EDRM format load file and one copy of each document per custodian and per family. This produces documents by custodian (that is, in the manner in which they were kept) and produces emails complete with any attachments tagged for production (just as you would get if you printed the emails out). This is normally 8what you want. But when you need something else — a production that complies with the SEC’s archaic production rules, or a production with a custom sort order to comply with a 26(f) agreement — Disco can do that too.
  3. When you produce an Excel file that doesn’t image well, Disco produces the native — unless you’ve redacted the Excel file, in which case Disco is smart enough to produce the redacted images. And whenever you apply redactions, Disco knows to replace any OCR or extracted text with new OCR run on the images so that no information leaks to the other side. When you need control over exactly what gets produced as native, or with a native, you can drill down and make those decisions; but 95% of the time, you can trust that Disco makes them for you correctly.
  4. When you’re reviewing documents, you see deduplicated documents so that you don’t review the same document more than once. But, when it comes time to produce, you can select the level of deduplication, or produce only some instances of deduplicated documents (for example, the ones that belong to a particular custodian or that were found on a certain computer).

Disco takes care of the ediscovery details so that you can focus on winning cases, not tinkering with file formats, deduplication levels, or load files. But when you do need to worry about the details, all the power you need is one click away.

LFD 9 – An all-in-one ediscovery platform from a real technology company

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Disco handles everything after data leaves the enterprise. This includes full processing, early case assessment, review, analytics, and production.

Disco engineers at our headquarters in Houston built Disco. Unlike so many products on the market, Disco is not a processing engine from one company stitched to a search tool from another with a licensed viewer patched in and analytics “integrated” from still a different shop.

Because we wrote everything, everything works together. And because we are a software company, not a services company that licenses and assembles software from others, our focus and core competency is designing and building the best legal technology.

Lawyers don’t want to assemble specialized tools for different parts of the ediscovery process; they want one integrated platform that does everything and just works. And they want that platform from a technology company that takes the law seriously and puts lawyers first.

LFD 8 – Secure data centers that follow industry best practices

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Disco protects data in transit and on disk using SHA-1 key exchange, AES-256 encryption, TLS, SSH, and SCP. Data resides on dedicated Disco machines (not public cloud hardware, like Amazon AWS) in SSAE 16 SOC 1, SAS 70 Type II audited data centers in Arizona, Texas, Virginia, and London.

All data centers have 24×7 on-site security and network-operations-center staff; an alarm system with camera surveillance covering the entire perimeter and data-center area as well as all entrances and exits; and secure entrances with mantraps, biometric identification, keycard access, and multifactor authentication.

All data is replicated from a primary data center to a secondary data center in a different state. All machines are fully redundant so that a machine can go down with no data loss and no loss of access for users.

LFD 7 – No installation, remote desktop, or hardware issues

(This post is part of the Lawyer-Focused Design series, which explores 10 ways in which Disco is designed for lawyers.)

Lawyers and law firms enjoy winning cases, not managing servers, handling installations and patches, or buying, maintaining, or retiring hardware.

It’s a story we hear from new customers all the time: they buy an installed product and a bunch of machines to run it on and hire expensive staff to keep the product and machines running. At first, it works great. But as the firm’s data size increases, or the machines got older, or new versions of the software come out, problems start creeping in. Performance degrades. There are months of “integration” or “rollout” before new technologies can be used. And it’s not clear who’s responsible for the problems, the software company, the vendor, or the law firm’s own IT department.

We maintain the hardware infrastructure that Disco runs on so that you can practice law, not worry about problems like these. We call this “managed-services infrastructure”: everything having to do with hardware, Disco handles. All you need to use Disco is a good Internet connection and a modern version of any major browser.

Disco managed-services infrastructure lets us (a) deliver consistently better performance than installed solutions; (b) tightly integrate our hardware with our software; (c) update software instantly, so you are always working with the latest technology; (d) use the best dedicated hardware — like enterprise-grade solid-state storage — money can buy; and (e) automatically scale the infrastructure up or down for you as the amount of data you have in Disco changes.

You keep your browser up to date; we handle everything else.

Look for the engineers

How do you tell whether a company is really a technology company? Look for the engineers.

Real technology companies have engineering departments, not engineers attached to other functional departments. Real technology companies list engineers and engineering leadership at the top of their “team” pages, not at the bottom. When you walk the halls in a real technology company, you see engineers with private offices and all the equipment they need. When you ask technical questions or have technical escalations, real technology companies can get the engineer who wrote the code on the phone and can push bug fixes or new features immediately. Real technology companies value and respect engineers; real technology companies have engineers at their core.

The ediscovery market is full of companies who claim to be technology companies and advertise their product offerings. But most of the time their products are cobbled together integrations of bits and pieces from here and there; a viewer from one place, duplicate detection and threading from somewhere else, analytics from a third company, and so on. The websites of places like this emphasize sales or services; these are sales or services companies, not technology companies. They are not where you go if what you are after is the very best technology — especially if you want not just the best technology now, but the best technology always.

Our core strengths at Disco are engineering and law. These are the strengths you need to build great legal technology. What’s surprising is not that you find them at Disco, but how rare they are in our industry.