Cloud computing is rapidly changing the way enterprises go about their business. Over the past 18 months we have noted a trend amongst enterprises to take their e-Discovery in-house. According to email and archiving security vendor Proofpoint, the economy available through the cloud is going to speed up the process and by the end of this year in-house e-Discovery could well be the norm.

The move in-house will be driven by organizations looking to lower legal expenses while gaining more control over the e-Discovery workflow.

Proofpoint says it also expects cost to be a driving factor in accelerating the adoption of archiving in the cloud over traditional on-premise technologies.

As a provider of SaaS email security, email archiving and data loss prevention solutions, Proofpoint has made it its business to protect email boxes across private and public sector enterprises. Leaving aside its private sector deployments, it has over one million US government and defence inboxes under its care so for its own survival it needs to know.

So where is e-Discovery going for this year? According to Proofpoint and based on its interaction with customers and legal professionals in email archiving and e-Discovery, it has noted ten trends that will unfold as the year progresses:

1. e-Discovery Risk Management

Over the past year, companies that focused on bringing their e-Discovery in-house will be forced to look at the higher risk-level of keeping that information in-house. The result will be a trade-off between the cost-reductions that the cloud brings against increased legal risk exposure.

2. Accelerated Cloud Adoption

Aging in-house legacy systems will force many companies to move to the cloud as those systems become increasingly difficult to manage because of the technological complexity associated with them. This trend will be led by a small number of large organizations.

3. Stringent SLAs

Enterprises will be looking for more explicit Service Level Agreements reflecting frequency of access to data as well as more stringent agreements about data ownership and chain of custody protection. They will also be looking for evidence that the cloud provider adheres to privacy laws where information is located.

4. Privacy, Security, e-Discovery and Governance to Align

Rigid new regulatory demands created by recent economic problems will force enterprises to develop more explicit information governance programs in order to keep themselves compliant with new regulatory models including the Consumer Protection Act.

5. Multinational e-Discovery to Mature

Multinational e-Discovery will mature across the EU and US to improve its efficiency. Protection of data privacy as information moves between the US and EU will become increasingly important. Interest in tools that can provide local country and regional flexibility in setting policies for retention, preservation and collection of EU-located data will rise.

6. Data Sources and e-Discovery Tool Integration

Demand for pre-integrated platforms that offer direct access to data repositories as companies become more wary of end-to-end discovery claims. EDRM XML adoption will continue, but interest in technologies that establish tighter connection with systems of record for email and other data will grow.

7. Social Media Data Capture

Regulatory pressure will force financial services providers to invest in tools to capture and manage data that appears in social media. Tools will also have to develop so as to manage additional types.

8. File Archiving Will Increase

The growth in file shares and collaboration platforms like SharePoint will force companies to invest in tools that can crawl and identify relevant content on demand as it becomes more difficult to locate files.

9. Fast, Sustainable Access to Information

Fast retrieval of information from corporate repositories will become a priority for legal companies in response to the slow response to e-Discovery requests. Organizations will demand more assurance that new email and content management investments can meet or exceed performance requirements.

10. "Start Small with Big Buckets"

After experiencing gridlock between IT, legal and records management stakeholders, organizations will increasingly embrace a "start small with big buckets, then iterate" approach to setting and enforcing retention policies for email.