The impact of electronic discovery on our industry is often measured by legal professionals according to the amount of time, expense and headaches it has introduced to the litigation workflow.
So perhaps a quick journey through some basic statistics relating to the explosion of data will provide us with a reality check of why eDiscovery is so important and so complex. Here are six such statistics that stand out for us:
1. Data like it’s 1999. The new frontier of eDiscovery was born in earnest as recently as 1999, when a University of California study found that 93% of all information generated that year was created in digital form, on computers.
2. Business talks in exabytes. The independent research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) estimates that, by 2020, transactions on the internet will reach 450 billion per day and enterprise-generated content will exceed 240 exabytes daily (an exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes).
3. Social media data piles on. The entire Cornell Law Library consists of 1 terabyte of information. By comparison, Facebook processes 10 terabytes of data and Twitter handles another 7 terabytes of data every single day, according to an IBM report on big data.
4. You’ve got mail (lots of it!). Email, which accounts for more than 60% of information exchanged, is the biggest contributor to the electronic information explosion. An estimated 507 billion emails were sent daily in 2013, according to The Radicati Group, or a stunning 964 million emails per minute. It’s a good case in point for near duplicate technology in eDiscovery.
5. Social content proliferation. More than one-fourth of corporate counsel now say their company posts content on LinkedIn, 22% use Twitter and 17% post on Facebook, according to the Fulbright Litigation Trends Survey report.
6. Exponential data creation. The amount of data created on digital information platforms every day is eight times greater than the information stored in all of the libraries in the U.S.
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“Reduce data as much as you can before you turn it over, because that is where you’re going to keep your costs down.”
The numbers are compelling. As challenging as eDiscovery management may be, there is a very basic truth behind this seemingly endless challenge: the volume of electronic data created daily is mind-boggling. And it’s growing every second of every day.
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