Editor: Please give us a brief summary of your background.
Garrett: I am the chief operating officer at Complete Discovery Source. I have been in the industry for 22 years, with the last seven being at CDS. My background is largely in the operational side of the business. While I oversee sales and marketing, most of my focus is with management and operations.
Editor: CDS is well-known as an e-discovery service company. Why the move to software?
Garrett: First, I should emphasize that we are not leaving the service and advisory services side of the business – those are our roots. With Nytrix, we have become both a service and a software company.
Three and a half years ago we decided to do two things. First, we asked our clients about their needs and demands in terms of how the applications that we offered were servicing them.
Second, we conducted our own research into the technology available in the marketplace. This was a broad, exploratory exercise to understand from a development standpoint where Big Data technology was going. It was not restricted to e-discovery technology. Through that process of getting client feedback and our research, and based on the experience of our own personnel who typically have well over a decade, if not two decades, of experience in this business, we decided to utilize all that knowledge to develop a solution that met the needs of our clients.
Editor: To build your solution, did you acquire third-party software or develop your solution from the ground up?
Garrett: From the ground up. We started with the basics: How can we take the data, normalize it, and extract text? And we started building prototypes. Today we have 75 programmers and project managers dedicated to software development. We recently hired a PhD in computer science who specializes in natural language processing data. There are a lot of respectable e-discovery technologies out there, but most of those companies began in software development and moved into the legal arena. We, on the other hand, have our roots in serving clients in the e-discovery legal arena, and we are now expanding into software development based on that experience. Our years in the trenches have enabled us to create a simple, powerful, and defensible e-discovery tool. (I should add here that, at the same time, we are still a full kCura Relativity provider and champion that solution completely.)
Editor: What is Nytrix CIY? What does CIY mean?
Garrett: We are now releasing Version 4 of Nytrix CIY, our cloud-based e-discovery platform. Nytrix CIY 4 is a powerful blend of our processing and review tools, all housed within one software stack. It is highly accessible, highly secured, and very scalable.
CIY stands for “Control-It-Yourself” which, clients tell us, is what they’d like to do. Apparently, many of them would be interested in bringing e-discovery in-house (which we call a DIY, or “Do-It-Yourself,” scenario), but most find it too daunting to take on such an investment in infrastructure, especially given the ongoing resources and expertise necessary to make it successful. With our CIY product, clients get the best of both worlds. We maintain the infrastructure, while clients can take full advantage of the technology to control whatever level they prefer – from the highest administrator to an end user.
Editor: And the Nytrix CIY 4 solution is based completely on your cloud?
Garrett: We have been providing cloud services to clients for many years with products that are already out on the market. After all, attorneys have long been accessing documents via the web. But what is different is that our solution allows clients to bring the focus and control within the firm, corporation or agency. Clients truly own and control their data. Meanwhile, the data resides behind our firewalls – highly secured in a vast Big Data infrastructure – so there is no need for infrastructure investment or upkeep by the client. We focused intently on this feature when we were developing Nytrix because we’d heard that on-demand access and full control – being able to “spin up” or “spin down” when you want to – is key. And that is the experience that we are creating for clients.
With other existing applications on the market today, a client doesn’t have the total control that Nytrix provides. They offer what I’d describe as private clouds to which a client doesn’t have full administrative rights.
With our security standards, the private cloud is more secure and leaves no margin of error compared to a standard in-house solution. The software reaps the full benefits of the accessibility and flexibility of the cloud.
Editor: How else is your product different from what else is out there?
Garrett: First, there are industry-standard features and benefits that Nytrix shares with most other products such as linear review, issue tagging, keyword search, metadata filters, saved searches, redaction, review assignments and Unicode compliance. In many cases we've improved on these standards.
In addition to our processing engine, which is lightning fast, several features set us apart. Nytrix CIY 4 offers fully integrated document review. With many products on the market, the user must process data in a separate application and then import and ingest the data into a review platform. With Nytrix, this is all done within the application, and processing is extremely simple, with literally three clicks – and go. The output is “review ready,” meaning as data is ingested, processing, indexing and preparing for review begins immediately: you don’t have to wait for the entire corpus to finish. You can actually start review within an hour, and the system will continue to process, index and add to the review population, so critical time is not lost in waiting for a separate tool to finish in its entirety.
At the processing stage, users can predetermine the assignments they plan to give the case team, and the system will fill each of those assignments as it processes. As each “bucket” gets filled, it can be distributed to the appropriate attorney or case team. We built Nytrix to be very intuitive and uncomplicated. It supports over 300 file types and works on several platforms and any browser.
Another feature that sets us apart is scalability. The application, and therefore the review, scales horizontally, allowing it to handle large datasets. Other tools on the market are housed in one location and/or database. As the data grows, the database grows, becoming one great tank in which the processing gets bogged down. Nytrix 4 architecture has multi-node distribution. When data increases, additional databases or “nodes” – each with its own processing ability – are added horizontally so that performance does not degrade as data volume grows.
Editor: Are all of your clients moving towards the Nytrix platform?
Garrett: Not everyone. Obviously we want them to embrace it, but one of the primary reasons that we built Nytrix was to give our clients choices. I mentioned kCura Relativity earlier. We have grown with this leading review platform provider, and, as an Orange Level partner, we are still fully supporting and promoting that platform.
We support a number of leading litigation support data mining tools, but Nytrix is something that we feel our clients will increasingly adopt because of its flexibility and review capabilities. Furthermore, I know our clients will appreciate hearing that we are heavily invested in developing Nytrix Analytics. Key to its success will be tremendous scalability and flexibility, which will allow Nytrix to meet the needs of Big Data.
Editor: What are the biggest challenges and trends you are seeing corporations face in the e-discovery sector?
Garrett: First, Big Data – which is a very hard thing to pin down. I’ve asked personnel at multibillion-dollar storage companies like EMC as well as lawyers and general counsel what the term means. It means different things to different people. What we are trying to tackle with Nytrix is the undeniable fact there has been a data explosion.
The challenge from an infrastructure and support standpoint is handling Big Data within an e-discovery and/or litigation context, where the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other regulations and requirements must be met. How do you identify what you have – and understand it? Importantly, how do you reduce the amount that is required to review? We are excited about the development of Nytrix Analytics because it will allow users to get meaningful and immediate results from massive data sets.
The second issue is the cloud. Understanding and acceptance of the cloud will be one of the biggest challenges and trends in the sector. Companies will have to assure customers that a security “wrapper” around their data will protect it. The truth is that the cloud, with the proper underlying infrastructure, is more secure.
The third issue is the fragmented, blurred lines of using and storing data – i.e., information governance control, in particular how data is handled once a legal hold has been presented. Companies tend to hold onto their data too long and are reactive rather than proactive with disposal. Unfortunately, as supporters of the e-discovery process, we are downstream from this issue and are not consulted until some form of litigation has begun. Increasingly, we are brought in to help shape that kind of information governance and data policy.
Editor: We’ve been talking about large corporations, but say I am a small company and I want to use this product. Are all of the bells and whistles available to me?
Garrett: Absolutely. While we’ve spoken about Big Data and scalability, the impetus to building Nytrix was that we wanted a tool that is also appropriate for small to mid-sized organizations. Having been restricted to certain price points because of licensing agreements and other factors, we found that we were pricing ourselves out of the market for smaller organizations, and we wanted to support that client base.
Small organizations typically do not have the same level of internal security practices in place that larger ones do. So being able to rely on a solution like Nytrix – which is ISO 27001 certified specifically in electronic data discovery and electronic data hosting – can provide them with greater security.
Our ISMS, or information security manual system, is applicable to the following areas of our business: Electronic Data Discovery and Electronic Data Hosting. It encompasses information that is the intellectual property of both CDS and our clients; e-discovery data belonging to our clients; personnel; IT systems; policies, procedures, standards, tools and data used in the business execution of these services specifically to e-discovery.
We are also engaging the FedRAMP program, which is the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. The U.S. government has mandated that all federal information systems comply with FISMA, and in that context they have created FedRAMP, through which cloud service providers may be authorized to operate (ATO) with the federal government. Not surprisingly, this is an even more rigorous process than ISO certification. Once we go through that process, and I am confident we will be successful, then small, medium and even large corporations can feel even more comfortable that the security protocols we have in place are not only certified by international bodies like ISO 27001, but also by the U.S. government.
Editor: How can readers learn more about Nytrix CIY?
Garrett: We are meeting with firms, companies, government agencies and industry experts both online and in person. If you are interested in getting more information or scheduling a demo, visit our website at www.cdslegal.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.