With tougher regulations expected in the financial services and other industries as a result of the global economic downturn, digital archiving vendors such as Iron Mountain Inc. and Tarmin Technologies Ltd. are homing in on e-discovery this week.
Iron Mountain launched a new hosted email archiving service and is offering its customers the ability to transfer archived data to Legal Discovery Services provided by its Stratify Inc. subsidiary.
Software-based data archiving startup Tarmin released GridBank 1.5 with support for Microsoft SharePoint and the ability to index, classify and search files outside of the Tarmin archive.
Iron Mountain's new Total Email Management Suite service comes through a partnership with U.K.-based Mimecast. It will be available in the U.S. in May and in Europe shortly after. To deploy the service, customers install Mimecast's Outlook plug-in locally and manage their archives through Mimecast's Web-based GUI. Iron Mountain will host the service in its data centers.
Iron Mountain will continue to support approximately 100 enterprise customers who signed on with its first partner, MessageOne Inc., which Dell Inc. acquired in early 2008.
Mike Wipperfeld, vice president of product management at Iron Mountain Digital, said Mimecast's service will be integrated with Iron Mountain's compliance-related services. These include the Iron Mountain Digital Record Center for Compliant Messaging, which provides SEC-compliant email and instant message data retention for financial institutions; and the Stratify Legal Discovery early case assessment, document review and production service.
"We've identified these integration opportunities and will be rolling them out over the next quarter or two," Wipperfeld said.
Tarmin aims for one-stop data compliance
Tarmin's GridBank software runs on heterogeneous server and storage hardware, so customers can repurpose existing equipment to house archive data or use a preferred hardware supplier. GridBank then virtualizes the pool of devices and adds policy-based management of the data.
GridBank 1.5 adds the ability to index data within the archive as well as outside it. Now customers can pull legacy archive data into GridBank or identify files relevant to discovery requests on primary or nearline storage devices.
Customers deploying the archive for storage management can run data classification reports on files outside the archive to identify old or infrequently access data that's a good candidate for migration off production storage.
Derek Kruger, IT supervisor for the City of Safford, Ariz., was one of the first beta testers for GridBank. Because his organization supports a municipality that's also a county seat, his IT organization frequently gets discovery requests and must comply with a number of regulations.
"We have someone here who generates a report once every five years for compliance to submit to the state—right now it's done manually," Kruger said. He's also been identifying outdated files on production systems by hand, so he expects the data indexing and classification reports to be "a huge time saver."
Tarmin is still working on adding advanced features such as in-place litigation hold for relevant documents, which is offered by some specialists in this area such as Kazeon Systems Inc. or StoredIQ Inc.
In a play to scale for large enterprises, Tarmin offers continual data validation background processes that ensure archived data is still valid, as well as automated policy-based retention and disposition of files. However, Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst at Hopkinton, Mass.-based Taneja Group, said the product is most likely to find its niche among midsized companies who don't want to integrate multiple point tools.
"The guru in a high-end shop wants every bell and whistle, but midsized companies with a more limited IT staff would be very well suited for a product like this," he said.
Pricing for GridBank starts at $35,000 for a 2 TB license.
As regulations increase, so do lawsuits
Brian Babineau, a senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, said an uptick in lawsuits usually follows increased regulations, and that will increase the need for e-discovery tools.
"It's hard to prove statistically, but more regulation reasonably correlates to more investigations and legal inquiries as to whether companies are following the rules," he said.
Babineau said he expects to see class action suits, mainly against financial services firms. "People aren't just randomly suing folks," he said. "There's a focus to it. Class action suits also tend to be the biggest discovery messes because they involve a lot of people."