Many people know Ricoh for its office products, like printers and scanners. But Ricoh holds more than 46,000 patents for technologies across imaging and printing solutions, industrial products and digital cameras. With an 80-year history and 109,000 employees globally, the company has been built on a belief in the power of creative ideas and a refusal to be limited by tradition. Exactly what you’d expect from a company whose founder was mentored by Albert Einstein.
In that spirit of continued innovation, Ricoh is now evolving from a company focused on hardware manufacturing to a digital services firm, and a key part of their evolution is their eDiscovery business led by David Greetham, Ricoh USA’s vice president of eDiscovery, sales and operations. For more than 15 years, Ricoh’s eDiscovery solutions have helped legal teams gain competitive advantage by intelligently identifying, retrieving and analyzing relevant data to comply with legal strategies and expedite key business decisions.
eDiscovery is the process of identifying, retrieving and analyzing relevant data from any source to comply with legal strategies and expedite key business decisions. Traditionally, legal teams waded through reams of paper documents, but now those documents are mostly digital. As a result, Ricoh’s eDiscovery business is growing by 20 percent a year. And the key to its success? The cloud.
Legal teams can speed up their electronic discovery process, while improving security and saving money, by moving to the cloud, says Greetham. Ricoh recently moved its eDiscovery solutions to Microsoft Azure as a critical enhancement, and promises to expand further now that the U.S. has authorized its government organizations to use the cloud.
Ricoh can now provision terabytes of storage in minutes, as opposed to the weeks it used to take, to help clients gain efficient access to review documents and find the critical evidence they need to win cases in time-sensitive situations. Ricoh can provide data security assurances to its customers through Azure’s encryption process and security specialists. And the scalability of the cloud not only saves clients the capital expense of on-premise servers and storage, but it also lets them pay only for what they’re using during each case.
“Our customers often need to be able to complete eDiscovery assignments in hours,” Greetham says. “By using Azure, we can scale storage and compute up and down on a dime. If a customer only needs 10 TB of storage for a short period of time, we can support them and won’t be left sitting on an enormous unused investment after they’re finished.”
Ricoh itself reduced its hardware costs by more than 30 percent when it switched to Azure, he says, while increasing performance.
“If you have tens of thousands of emails to review, even the smallest increases in performance help, because document review fees can be an expensive hourly cost,” Greetham says. “The faster a legal team can access the data and use analytics to bring the document review pile down to a more manageable size, the faster they can find that ‘needle in the haystack’ that may be pivotal to their case.”
Ricoh’s client data has proven to be more secure when hosted in Azure, which is an important factor in persuading hesitant lawyers to entrust their sensitive files to the public cloud, Greetham says, adding that cloud technologies have matured, and concerns have been addressed.
Azure automatically encrypts data prior to storage and decrypts it prior to retrieval, in a way that’s transparent to users, he says. Clients can also specify which region they want their data stored in, which is helpful for organizations that have strict compliance restrictions that dictate data stay in a certain jurisdiction or country. And they can securely wipe and decommission the storage – and stop paying for it – once projects are complete.
When potential customers ask Ricoh to answer complex questions about datacenter security and disaster recovery protocols before they entrust the company with their data, he says, “we do it with a smile now rather than a grimace.”