OutIndex, the electronic discovery software company has added another string to its bow with the release of three Microsoft .NET components to allow others to build their own e-discovery applications.
Between them, the three components provide the tools for extracting metadata, searching data and printing electronic documents and e-mail messages to .TIFF or .PDF. These are the same primary components as those which OutIndex uses in its main processing system. OutIndex’s increasingly informative web site includes a page on its E-Discovery Engine as well as the rest of its widely-scaled product range, from its flagship application OutIndex E-Discovery down to its desk-top application eDiscoveryXpress for in-house processing.
We expect quite a lot of the tools and applications which are used behind the scenes to convert the clients’ documents and message files into searchable data. It must handle a variety e-mail formats, cope with a wide range of file types, read and search multiple languages, and open compressed files such as .ZIPs. We expect it to flag up duplicates, to OCR images to extract their text, and to do all this in a forensically sound manner. There is more to it than just throwing some keywords at a pot of data. By making the tools available to others in this way, OutIndex may broaden the number of suppliers who are able to do this properly. That ought to bring electronic disclosure / discovery within the reach of a wider range of law firms to review and exchange high-quality data.
Although primarily a software house, OutIndex also undertakes projects itself. One of its strengths is that it can process data on either side of the Atlantic, so can handle matters whose data cannot travel outside the EU because of EU privacy or data protection restrictions. I wrote them a White Paper on data privacy last year pointing up this particular aspect of their services offering.
OutIndex appears to take seriously the whole business of privacy, and actually publishes the company’s Safe Harbor policy on its web site. Safe Harbor is a subject on which I err on the side of caution, as I will be saying when I join a panel speaking on the subject at LegalTech in New York next week. Ultimately, the decision to take data out of the EU is a matter of weighing the risks against the benefits. The benefits are generally calculable, the risks less so.