The Silicon Review
“When you’re thrust into litigation, you obviously have to make sure you’re prepared to deal with that.” – Roger Goodell
Founded in 2011 with the objective of providing corporate customers and their counsels with low-cost predictability options that allow accurate budgeting and forecasting of their discovery expenses without the additional cost of software, hardware or implementation fees, Boston based HAYSTACK Information Discovery (HAYSTACKID) offers organizations and law firms the best legal technology and digital forensic expertise in the most proficient, effective and secure manner possible.
With offices across the world and processing centers throughout the United States, the company is forever ready to handle the largest cases in the shortest time possible.
Innovative Offerings for tackling the expensive challenges of litigation
One of the most difficult and expensive challenges of litigation is dealing with discovery and big data. Thus, HAYSTACKID has internally developed a processing tool named DataThresher, a proprietary tool that provides a flexible and cost effective way to search and cull very large data sets on a wide variety of text and metadata properties. This includes a workflow where documents that have not been culled or have been flagged as important are quickly promoted to a legal review platform for attorney review. The early case assessment application will allow full search and cull capability prior to review at a fraction of the cost, allowing clients to compare forensic reports with actual documents, and test search terms on actual data prior to agreeing to search terms.
HAYSTACKID also solves employee related issues for businesses where theft of company information, misappropriation of trade secret, or employee misconduct may have occurred. In departing employee situations, we provide the expertise applying the latest forensic technology and forensic expertise identifying the digital chain of events that may have occurred in a forensically sound and defensible manner.
The key differentiator that sets HAYSTACKID apart from its competitors is undoubtedly, the diversity in its people and the eclectic technology experts on staff who come from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. Having indulged in mergers and acquisitions with the right strategic partners who have the same values, HAYSTACKID wants to be known as the bet the litigation digital forensic and electronic discovery service provider. That said, the company that was recently listed as the 67th Fastest Growing Private Companies in America in the annual Inc. 5000 is sure to go long way with its long term growth strategy to organically grow its current operations and expand the West Coast and offshore operations and presence.
Knowing the Founder’s thoughts
Q.What do you feel about the journey of your company so far?
I was fortunate to be in an initial position to self-fund the business. Even today we are still a self-sufficient company. There weren’t investors demanding profits and the money we made we could re-invest. We were never driven by VC or angels looking to maximize their profits. We were never slowed down by the big corporate mentality of laboring over the possibility of making some business mistakes. It became evident that the smaller more nimble organizations were the ones that were going to make an impact. Business as usual isn’t going to cut it when trying to adapt to a rapidly changing market. We never had to answer to investors which eliminated all the red-tape and allowed us to be nimble. I knew I had to do what was best for the clients and not what was best for the business short term. Even more importantly I was able to reinvest profits back into the business. Like I tell all of our hires: “if you need something you are looking at the red-tape” which our talent finds incredibly refreshing. We can add technology, staff, promote individuals and take business risks which translate to higher yielding rewards.
The challenges that we face in our business might surprise some and they certainly surprised me. I found it exceedingly difficult finding the “right” outside professionals to assist me with my business. ie: business attorneys, accountants, consultants, etc. We always seemed to be underserved and frankly even taken advantage of sometimes. A “one hit wonder” approach is not something I can understand or identify with. Also, as much as we had the desire for proactive help and advice we were offered only reactive help after a mistake was made. It is challenging that there is no “owners-manual” for owners. How do you do the right things? File the right paperwork? Pay the right fees? Unfortunately many pray on pouncing on innocent mistakes. There was no place to turn that I found when going a mile a minute. Now we have found professionals that we are comfortable with that share our ideals. It wasn’t easy. It turned out it wasn’t easy for me to discover and what I truly expected and needed from these professional services providers. There are so many relationships to manage in a small business. Even if you are a great relationship person you are always falling short finding your way.
Q. What was the motivation or story behind you starting HAYSTACKID?
I was working for a large national company providing litigation support services. I started the company because I saw a basic shift and big need in the marketplace to look at electronic evidence differently. I worked for an “old school” well-funded company and quickly realized that they were not going to move at a pace fast enough to enter this rapidly changing market. To their credit, they knew their limitations too. Often, I was told they were like many other large organizations, they were “risk-adverse”. I quickly realized that I, along with some talented people, could do this better on our own. Better. Faster. Cheaper. Obviously, other large risk adverse companies were probably also staying out too. I knew I had to eliminate the “red-tape” in order to deliver the solutions that my clients needed.
You form friendships with your clients, at least I did, and you are in the trenches with them in this business. It got to the point in my career I felt I couldn’t keep up with their needs and I was making excuses and apologizing way too much. I knew there was nothing more frustrating to a client representative to know what the client needs and having the client agree and not being able to deliver and execute a solution in a timely manner. I wanted to get my clients the solutions they needed or didn’t even know they needed yet. And, it wasn’t going to happen if I stayed put in my “safe” career at my “risk adverse” company. I knew when you are free to respond to the market it isn’t only beneficial for clients it would be wonderful for employees too. From my experience a lot of the frustration in big business stems from the folks who are on the ground, in the trenches, and aren’t given the tools they need to respond quickly to client needs. I knew when those boundaries were removed, my employees who could now satisfy the needs of their clients would be satisfied.
That’s a huge reason I knew we would retain and attract the best people in the business and that our people would want to stay working here for the right reasons. We are leading with forensics and forensically sound collection of evidence. I knew someone had to. Too many organizations pick-up after the evidence is collected and they are missing a critical step. And, the organizations that just collect are missing the context. I was the only bread-winner in my family with two small children but my fear of putting it “all on red” was outweighed by what made sense.
HAYSTACKID’s Success Stories
The Sales team had formed a bond through one of the Fortune 100 firm’s partners through a happy client of HAYSTACKID a General Counsel of a large technology company– it was a great referral. The partner on this case reached out- three months later.
HAYSTACKID provided consultative calls with partner in order to get overview of project, centered around migrating an existing evidence database. The project was re-spec’d about five times. Many services from Forensic collection, computer review analytics, web hosting, attorney review were presented .
The “winning workflow” centered around; “DataThresher” HAYSTACKID’s patented proprietary case assessment tool. We were able to integrate with IT in order to recover a large portion of data that was reviewed onsite that was deleted. The case team had spent two months on site reviewing, and when the forensics examiner arrived all the files were archived, deleted or moved. We were able to reconstruct the location of over 5,000 lost network FOLDERS and produced. Collections were performed daily, and were streamed into DataThresher for review within 48 hours – often times we were dealing with 500 – 1TB of data.“We wanted to deliver a contextual bridge between an onsite review that outside counsel had performed, the data we collected, and what was then made available for review in our ECA platform, DataThresher.” The client was so thrilled with the examiners performance, they gave us a laptop inside the firewall so our team would have quick and convenient access to their enterprise network. The laptop was invaluable downstream, because production requests were being served at 5PM for review with a team of 80 contract attorneys. HAYSTACKID managed the entire review of 80 attorneys, including privilege QC.
Throughout the matter HAYSTACKID provided 24/7 coverage, and as a result became a fixture within the litigation team for support. Very important was our knowledge of IP ITC cases- We set a file size threshold for graphical documents/videos that didn’t make sense to review in Relativity and we provided individual review hard drives for these documents that had an easy excel file which corresponded to links in Relativity. This saved time and expense as most of these files were unresponsive. HAYSTACKID advised client on the use of public web materials during trial in a trademark case, how those can be valuable, how they can be captured, and how they can be produced. This was a massive piece of the client’s trademark production, as it allowed them to bring in facts related to consumer reviews and the effects on their products for information that would typically not be readily searchable or producible in court. WEB CAPS/ 1TB YOUTUBE CAPS. Throughout the review, HAYSTACKID played a critical role in locating documents through the use of advanced search terms, conceptual search, and consultation – especially centered around obscure privilege materials. We were able to leverage our national scanning infrastructure, to support all of the client’s scanning needs across the country.
Collections were even performed remotely from repositories in China. HAYSTACKID programmers created five (5) custom utilities during the course of the project to support the client. We did all of this over the course of many months operating 24X7 at breakneck speed.
The law firm approached HAYSTACKID for help and services which became very complex when the for-profit school in question went bankrupt and was ordered to exit the premises immediately. As the pending investigation was beginning to heat up, HAYSTACKID had to collect all of the servers, laptops and desktops that were considered mission-critical from the for-profit school in time to ensure all information was available should the AGO request the data. HAYSTACKID boldly took on this challenge, and completed the collection process within one week.
Then, things became even more interesting. HAYSTACKID needed to set up servers with a VPN to recreate network architecture off-site, allowing secure collocation, access and support for the Principle employees from the school. HAYSTACKID accomplished this feat within only four days. Not only that, HAYSTACKID ensured that all relevant data was forensically collected prior to granting access to these 5 executives, using EnCase on-site, remote, logical and physical solutions.
If this wasn’t enough, even more complex and serious trials for this project entered during these initial stages and beyond. HAYSTACKID has acted as the point of contact for the firm and client, providing 24-hour technical support for high pressure, deadline-driven requests. As the AGO has been comprehensive in its investigation, HAYSTACKID has also had to provide support and work-at-home troubleshooting for past employees of the for-profit school that are needed for information. This required application support, home office network configuration and much more, though it was not a problem for HAYSTACKID, which is serious when it expresses its commitment to excellence.
HAYSTACKID collected over 75 work stations from one site and 200 from others throughout the United States with proper chain of custody, then stored them in a secured location for later forensic recapture. And still, more challenges continued to appear for the project, one in the form of a historic storm.
HAYSTACKID had to emergency trouble-shoot a catastrophic hardware failure at the location, all during the Blizzard of 2013, also known as Winter Storm Nemo. This meant finding ways around the travel ban during the declared State of Emergency in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. HAYSTACKID accomplished this feat, returning the server back to working order within hours, all during one of the most devastating winter storms in several decades.
All this data meant a tremendous amount of legal review was in store for the law firm and needed to be done in a very short period of time. HAYSTACKID proposed a Technology Assisted Review protocol which cut the review time by 75% and the overall review costs by 75% while maintaining a defensible approach with a 95% confidence level in the success of the legal review and what was produced to the Attorney General’s Office.
Journalist on Call
“Recently I was assigned to cover an important national news story and write a narrative for Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. My editor at Harvard for the story was Barry Sussman, who supervised Woodward and Bernstein during the historic Watergate investigation when hewas editor for Ben Bradlee’s Washington Post. When Barry published my article for Harvard it received the most reader comment in Harvard’s history; it continues to be a major story. After my story gained national notoriety, the Orlando Sentinel broke a story purporting to prove that a search on a home computer used by the subject of the Social Media Trial of the Century, Casey Anthony, showed the acquitted defendant, Casey Anthony, was actually guilty of murder in the death of her own two-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, the Sentinel reporter was unable to confirm the time of a critical computer search which was overlooked by the prosecution.
As the primary reporter on this story for Harvard, I called upon the forensic expertise of HAYSTACKID to come to the rescue. I presented HAYSTACKID with the prosecutor’s forensic computer evidence and asked if HAYSTACKID could determinewhat the prosecutors had missed: the precise time of the computer search in question which used the words “foolproof suffocation.” The Sentinel reporter could not come up with the time, but HAYSTACKID did. These forensic computer experts in fact surprised everyone with the key confirmation of the exact time of this pivotal computer search. This forensic evidence was missed by the prosecutor’s forensic team, by the Orlando Sentinel investigative reporter, in fact by everybody, except HAYSTACKID. HAYSTACKID has a note of appreciation in my forthcoming book, The Court of Public Opinion, Casey Anthony. Its forensic investigators played a prominent role in the jaw dropping new narrative for the Casey Anthony trial of the century.” – Keith Long
Meet the Founder and CEO
Kevin D Glass is a 20-year veteran of the litigation support industry who leads HAYSTACKID as President and CEO. He began his career in 1996 with Bowne & Company, an institution with a rich corporate history founded in 1775 and helped grow their new business enterprise concept from the ground up into a multi-million dollar, well respected division. Prior to founding HAYSTACKID, he has also served as the National Director of Sales and Operations for a multi-billion dollar international Business Process Outsourcing concern and enjoyed an outstanding track record as an entrepreneur.
An accomplished artist and Masters degree holder in Fine Arts from Ohio University, Kevin has enjoyed wide-ranging successes in business working throughout the country in the fast-paced litigation support markets including: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, DC, and various other litigation hubs. He believes in a strong life-balance and still creates and exhibits his artwork and is very happily married with two extraordinary boys.