AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Enabling Scalable and Cost-Effective eDiscovery for Customers – Zapproved, an APN Technology Partner

Customers can address virtually every type of use case on AWS, and often with the help of APN Partners. One specific use case we see more and more customers looking to the cloud to address is eDiscovery. eDiscovery is short for electronic discovery, the process of which is defined as: identification, preservation, collection, review, and production of electronically stored information (ESI) in civil litigation. As a process, eDiscovery runs from the time a lawsuit is foreseeable to the time the digital evidence is presented in court.

The volume of electronically discoverable data for customers has grown exponentially, along with the complexity of preserving it. Today we’d like to share with you the story of Zapproved, an Advanced APN Technology Partner, who is working to innovate and disrupt the status quo in the eDiscovery industry, providing customers new levels of control, flexibility and predictability, in order to sustainably address the challenges of eDiscovery in the modern digital age.

Who is Zapproved?

Founded in February 2008, Zapproved is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider based in Portland, Oregon. Zapproved has created the Z-Discovery platform, a suite of cloud-based applications that offers a solution to customers to manage their modern eDiscovery process. The goal is to help clients streamline eDiscovery while maintaining defensible eDiscovery practices. The company’s customer base includes large global companies in the Fortune 500 and Global 2000, and spans across industries, including customers in financial services, high tech, energy, healthcare/pharma, and manufacturing.

Why Work with AWS?

Zapproved has been a customer of AWS since 2010, but hosted its application with a different solution provider prior to working with AWS as an APN Partner and integrating closely with AWS technology. “Prior to AWS, we were in start-up mode and hosting our application with another provider. We were struggling to maintain high availability while scaling and rapidly iterating, and we were looking for stability, performance, and scalability without a loss of control over configuration,” said Lee Harding, Zapproved’s Chief Technology Officer. He continued, “We are big believers in simplicity and stability, and saw that AWS shared those values at a very high level in its organization. We also knew we were going to be a pure SaaS business, since that brought us a differentiated business advantage, and we wanted to work with a company and a platform that aligned with that vision.”

An additional technical consideration for the Zapproved team as the company grew and looked to the future was storage. “Storage was a significant scaling issue we faced in our previous environment. Looking at Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), we realized that we could not only lift any limits on volume with Amazon S3 while reducing cost, we also would benefit by reducing the scope of backups. Amazon S3’s durability Service Level Agreement (SLA) was a game-changer in that regard,” explained Lee.

The company began to work with AWS first by integrating Amazon S3 storage as an alternative to the existing ‘NAS in the cloud’ model used with the initial hosting provider. “The Amazon S3 integration took hours, and it was clear immediately that the performance and scalability were exactly what we needed. Shortly after, we migrated all of our application hosting to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) VMs, and haven’t looked back since,” said Lee.

“Since we started focusing development on innovative eDiscovery technologies running on the AWS Cloud, Zapproved has grown at a substantial rate,” said Zapproved CEO Monica Enand. Zapproved ranked #289 on the 2014 Inc. 500, with 3-year business growth of 1517 percent. “There is so much advantage in working with AWS that it would have been very difficult to get to where we are as a business without it. In working with AWS, we are enabled to be more responsive to customers, more performant, more secure, and more cost-effective, among other benefits,” explained Enand.

What has Zapproved Built on AWS?

Zapproved offers three solutions all built on AWS: Legal Hold Pro gives customers an approachable, effective, and robust way to manage legal hold notifications throughout the life of a legal matter; Data Collect Pro allows legal teams to perform remote and distributed collection of materials from devices and services; and Digital Discovery Pro provides highly-scalable data processing to cull collected materials down to reasonable size quickly and effectively.  All three products are for corporate legal teams of all sizes to use directly, which empowers and enables them with more control over case management and costs.

The company uses a number of AWS Products and Services to run its solutions. “Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM) are at the heart of our AWS use. However, we’re building new systems on top of Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), and Amazon Lambda that are really exciting for us, and push the limits of cost and responsiveness while hitting a new level of scale,” said Harding. He continued, “We’re also looking at how we can use Amazon CloudSearch and Amazon DynamoDB on the product side, and AWS CodeDeploy on the ops side.”

What’s the Benefit for End Users and APN Partners?

Zapproved’s Z-Discovery is unique for end users because it is an eDiscovery solution suite specifically designed to take advantage of some of the benefits AWS offers, including: elasticity/scalability, security, affordability, capacity-oriented pricing options, mobile access, and global access. While some on-premises eDiscovery solutions can take several months to deploy, customers are enabled with Z-Discovery on AWS to quickly deploy the solution to meet their needs. Customers can be using the system effectively within one week, and can be fully onboarded within just a couple of weeks. It also enables the customer to offer accessibility to the solution to other parties, whether they are looking for an acknowledgement to a hold, want to conduct a remote collection, or want to provide access to a specific team including outside counsel for first-pass review.

Another benefit of the solution is that customers can deploy the software to meet their current capacity needs, and can easily and affordably right size their capacity without making massive up-front expenditures for infrastructure that they may not use in the future. “The alignment of the AWS cost model with our subscription-based revenue model is critical to our customers. Because we manage all of the technology and work with AWS, the customer gets a streamlined onboarding experience. Our goal is to make our customers as productive and effective in their jobs as possible, and removing the burden of systems and software deployment and maintenance is one big part of that,” said Enand.

The Z-Discovery solution suite can be a good fit for APN Consulting Partners working on eDiscovery use cases with customers, whether their customers are looking to find an eDiscovery software vendor to fit in with a cloud-first initiative, or are going all-in with AWS. As the company continues to expand its reach on AWS, the Zapproved team plans to identify APN Consulting Partners whose services and offerings integrate well with Zapproved solutions.

Looking Forward

The Zapproved team started with a vision of being a pure SaaS business. In working with AWS, the company has been enabled to focus on product development and build high-performance products with excellent cost characteristics. Zapproved has plans to continue to expand its footprint on AWS, and to diversify in its solution offerings. “Our product roadmap is becoming more diverse and more ambitious, and in working with AWS we are constantly re-evaluating the limits of what is possible,” said Enand.

To learn more about Zapproved, visit the company’s AWS Partner Directory listing here. The team recently hosted a webinar on cloud eDiscovery featuring AWS SA Scott Ward. Check out the webinar here.