In recent years, the "hosted applications" concept has gained popularity among some small to medium-sized firms due to significant savings from the high costs of software and hardware maintenance. Such applications should be considered when deposing 30(b)(6) representatives and drafting requests for production of electronic information.
Hosted applications, aka SaaS (Software as a Service), is a software application delivery model where a software vendor develops a web-based software application and hosts and operates the application for use by its customers over the Internet. Typically, customers do not pay for owning the software itself but rather for using it.
From a firm's perspective, the advantages of this type of arrangement are numerous albeit potential privacy and security issues (important/sensitive data being stored on the vendor's servers).
- Platform neutral - applications and documents can be accessed from any computer.
- No installation - reduced or eliminate software and hardware maintenance.
- No downtime - applications and documents can be accessed 24 x 7 from anywhere.
Visiting wikkidapps.com can provide a sense on the kind of SaaS applications that are available today-- from calendaring tools to spreadsheets to word processors. Furthermore, internet software vendors can be setup in a foreign country and may present some challenging international e-discovery issues. Nevertheless, data repositories reside in hosted applications can prove to be fertile grounds for e-discovery, so include them in your list of applications to learn about from an opposing party.