Archive for the ‘Behind The Scenes’ Category

Your data is busy. We know that most of you are not just uploading a set amount of data to the Nextpoint platform and letting it sit there month after month. You’re collecting it, reviewing it, adding new data, and moving it around to different databases. The amount of data you start with each month is rarely the same figure you have at the end of the month. For that reason, we have added even more information and ways to track your usage, so that you and your clients will understand exactly what your charges are.

Nextpoint Billing Dashboard

As you can see in the screenshot above, you now have detailed columns breaking out all of your ongoing data storage into useful categories. We’re not changing the way your data is tracked, but making it more transparent and easy to follow. In addition, you can now view all of your data usage by the month. That means you and your clients now have a snapshot of how much data is in their account and how it has been used during any month. You see all of the same numbers, but it is now organized to make it even easier for clients to understand all of the work you have done with their data each month.

The Names Change, the Data Stays the Same

In addition, we have changed the names for each category of data usage. In the past, Cloud Preservation, Discovery Cloud, or Trial Cloud users could look up data in use under a different tab for each application. Now, data is tracked under the tabs  Collect, Review, and Prepare. We think these tabs are much more descriptive and accurately describe the actions our users are performing. This way you can easily track your data as it is being used in a particular phase of litigation.

For example in the Collection view below you can see your social media and website collections activity, identifying how much data has been collected. Under the Review tab, you will see the usage of your data under eDiscovery review, and for Prepare, the movement of data being prepped for trial.


Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 11.04.45 AM

We hope these changes make managing litigation even simpler than before. We made most of these changes in direct response to requests and comments from users about their data usage. Look for even more changes in the months to come.


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Madison Ruby Conference (and the encompassing Forward Technology Festival) are wonderful showcases for Madison and our tech scene, offering folks from in and out of town alike a chance to learn, network, and just appreciate all that the area has to offer.  We’re excited this year to be leveling up from “enthusiastic attendees” to “enthusiastic attendees, that also sponsor“.

So, why sponsor?  The desire to put a little back into the community is a big reason.  We love Madison and we want to play a part in raising the talent level in the area by helping to grow it organically and by helping attract folks to the area.  If the talent pool becomes a bit more diverse as part of the process (a clear goal of Madison Ruby organizers) what a huge bonus that’d be (!).

Of course, it ain’t all philanthropy.  We want our name out there in the list of exciting local shops. We’re hiring and we want you to know it!  We want you to know that we’re conquering real issues with a lot of meat on the bone; developing solutions that not only tackle issues in an intelligent way, but in a way that our clients actually want to use and benefit from.  We’ve been bringing new technologies to a legal space that has been *coughcough* behind.  We’ve brought the small-team mentality to the space and have been leading the charge into cloud hosted & delivered solutions since before AWS got out of beta. So, come find us at the event!  We’ll have a booth setup and will, of course, also be hanging out around the conference and at the various events.

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Did we mention that all data stored in Nextpoint products (Cloud Preservation, Discovery Cloud, and Trial Cloud) is now encrypted at rest?  Learn more about our encryption standards and our take on cloud security as a whole over on our company blog.

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Very soon we’ll be releasing a streamlined interface for browsing your documents we’re calling “Grid View.”

Sample grid view

Grid view

Grid View is going to be great, as it lets you get an overview of your documents in a more compact, easy to scan package — similar to how you can easily scan for information contained in a spreadsheet. Lining your documents’ data up like this makes it much easier to intuitively sort and browse too, so you can find just the data you need more effectively.

Don’t worry if you’ve grown attached to the older interface either, when Grid View launches you’ll find a link to “Classic View” prominently displayed at the top of any listing of documents in the application. If you do decide to use Classic View, we’ll remember and keep giving you your documents in the older style, no configuration necessary.

Look for Grid View to be released to all Trial Cloud and Discovery Cloud customers in the very near future soon.

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Ever wonder how much power has been dedicated to your current import?  Along with some recent infrastructure upgrades, we’ve brought that information right up front where you can see it, giving you visibility to the elastic ramp-up of dedicated servers and processors working on your requests.  (Elastic ramp-up is a core capability of any legitimate cloud computing solution — Here’s Amazon’s case study of Nextpoint’s implementation.)

Available now via:

  • in Discovery/Review Cloud: “Imports/Exports”
  • in Trial (Prep) Cloud: “More” -> “My Downloads” -> “Imports”

Each processing request begins by breaking the work up into smaller “Jobs”.  There’s a lot of logic put into just how that breakup occurs, but the gist of it is: bigger requests = more jobs = more dedicated processors to get your work done.

We’re happy to be pushing this information to the front and hope that you like it too!

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Following up on the addition of Nick Olejniczak, we’re pleased to announce the addition of Adam Olien to our team in the Nextpoint Lab.  Adam is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison with a major in Computer Science (and Political Science).  Adam also managed to grab several years of experience in a development shop during school.  We’re all excited to have him on board.

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Welcome Nick!

We’re excited to announce a great new addition to our team in the Nextpoint Lab. Nick Olejniczak has joined the lab this week to help us continue our tradition of litigation technology innovations. We’ve known Nick and his work for quite some time. We’re long time users of his web applications pnt.me and refinr.com and old school fans of the late JellyFish Smack Shopping. Welcome Nick! We’re lucky to have you.

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Readers using Microsoft Internet Explorer may have noticed a difference between the “previewed document” arrows in recent posts on our clustered/related documents section (Clarify of Review & Dealing with Duplicate Emails) and what they’re actually seeing in the app.

The crux of the situation is JavaScript and rendering performance in various browsers. Internet Explorer has made some strides in IE 8 but still lags a bit behind some of the other browsers; most notably for us: Firefox and Safari.

More details on these timings at Backbase.com
y-axis is render time in milliseconds

Where Firefox and Safari are able to keep up (well enough) with repositioning the “currently previewed” document arrow, Internet Explorer has a completely unacceptable lag. We’re pretty happy with the fairly simple solution that we have in place for Internet Explorer – it doesn’t look quite as snazzy but has a much lower reliance on JavaScript and performs well.

Firefox 3.6.3

Internet Explorer 7

Nextpoint recommends upgrading to Internet Explorer 7 or Internet Explorer 8, if you are using Internet Explorer 6.

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We just wanted to do a quick post to point you all to a Nextpoint Lab guest post that was published on Ajaxian today! It’s an in-depth technical description of our Scrolling and Zooming functionality for the document reader complete with a basic video demo and a functional code sample.  For a detailed functional description, check out this post.  Thanks for reading!

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1. Security
I’m just going to start with security because it’s probably one of the most common “arguments” we hear against moving to the cloud.  The truth is when you move to the cloud, you will greatly enhance the security of your data immediately.  Is your organization undergoing regular voluntary audits for SAS 70 certification?

In an independent TechnoLawyer review of Nextpoint, Brett Burney said “… data is unquestionably more secure on the highly-encrypted, highly-secured server farms under Amazon’s watchful IT army than an old, out-dated server sitting in the broom closet of a law firm.”  I concur.  Even worse, are you letting people tote around sensitive client data on laptops and smart phones?

2. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
We often hear law firm technologists claiming that storage is inexpensive.  And it’s true that you can go to Best Buy and buy a Terabyte hard-drive for $99.  It’s also true that a USB hard-drive with a terabyte of data on it is a disaster waiting to happen.  If you take your data seriously, you know you need to have it geographically redundant, not simply backed up.  You need it in a secure physical location at all times.  You need RAID configurations.  And the list goes on.

We’re all aware that disasters happen, but there is no reason to put your business or livelihood at risk.  Not when there are companies readily offering a service that will allow your business to be up and running from a hotel with a laptop.

3. Scalability
Internally at Nextpoint, I’m pretty certain people are tired of hearing me talk about scalability.  I’m fascinated by Moore’s law which “describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware, in which the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years.”  In other words, computers double their power every two years.  It’s incredible, and it also applies to storage.

Some people interpret this to mean that storage and computational power are cheap, so they buy hardware.  Unfortunately, what happens in practice is that we are creating exponentially more data every year to take advantage of that new power.  Remember when Hotmail shocked the world with 50MB of free storage?  I have 25GB of storage on my gmail account.  If you buy X storage today, by the time you plug it in it’ll be too little and you will have paid twice as much as you would tomorrow.  Spend all you like and you will get no closer to keeping pace.  You are competing with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.  These companies are building physical data-centers with walls made of hardware.  You can’t beat them… join them.

4. Cost
Cloud computing is also sometimes referred to as utility computing.  The key things to take away from that are that you can use as much as you’d like (scalability) and that you only pay for what you use.  200 years ago a factory might set up shop next to a river as a means to generate power.  I’m not going to say that’s outdated or bad.  With power I actually think it’s brilliant.  Because it’s not likely that a company’s power needs will double every two years, so you likely won’t hit your limit.  But with your computational needs, it’s unquestionably a bad idea as we explored in the scalability discussion.

So here is the deal with cloud solutions.  You pay for what you need and nothing more.  Regardless of how the cloud service charges (by user, by data, or both) you will pay for only what you need.  That means no large up front expenditures.  And for you law firms, it probably means it’ll be easy for you to track your expenses directly to matters.  It certainly does if you use Nextpoint.  So not only is it less expensive, it’s easier to track and pass-through to customers.

5. Focus
Put simply, you aren’t in the technology/software/IT business.  We always say LLBL.  Let Lawyers Be Lawyers.  We’re happy to report that we got out of the email business a long while ago and went to the cloud.  And you know, we got by okay before but Google is much better.

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