Iron Mountain Digital to add e-discovery features to PC cloud data backup service

Iron Mountain plans to add data classification IP from its Avalere acquisition into its cloud backup services this year, starting with the Connected service for PCs.

Iron Mountain Digital plans to incorporate data classification for e-discovery into its cloud data backup services, using IP gained in a 2007 acquisition of Avalere.

Iron Mountain Digital director of product management David Asher told SearchDataBackup the classification product -- code-named Gryphon -- will be released first as part of a refresh of the Connected PC backup service this year. That Connected PC version, 8.4, will also include operating system support for Microsoft Windows 7 and Macintosh Snow Leopard.

Gryphon will add data classification to speed the process of collecting data for e-discovery at large corporations in the event of litigation or audit, Asher said.

"If you have 100,000 PCs, it's a lengthy and costly process to do e-discovery," he said. "Connected already has all the PC data. If it can also index that data, IT can go and look into the data instead of having to go to individual employees one at a time."

Using an Avalere index on a Connected data backup repository could also make the e-discovery process more defensible for corporations at trial. "We've come to realize that Connected can be more accurate than file shares or impounding employee laptops," Asher said. "By the time laptops are impounded, an employee may have had days to delete data."

Data collection on corporate PCs is one of the thorniest areas in e-discovery, according to Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) senior analyst Brian Babineau. "People waste a lot of time and money going from individual to individual, and collecting data that may or may not be relevant," he said. "If you're already collecting data as part of a business process like backup and you can extend that to attorneys, auditors and business managers, all the better."

Iron Mountain Digital will eventually extend Gryphon technology to LiveVault and its Virtual File Store file archiving service, Asher added in an interview Thursday. Classification for risk mitigation (compliance and e-discovery) will be the first use for Gryphon, but Asher said the intention is to eventually allow users to send less data to the Iron Mountain repository, a goal Iron Mountain publicly stated last August.

LiveVault will also get a refresh soon that will move it up market from an SMB focus to midsized companies and small enterprises by boosting its scalability to handle larger data sets. Asher declined to give a specific time frame for that release.

Asher also said Iron Mountain and Microsoft are stepping up marketing of their CloudRecovery service for Data Protection Manager. "We're both trying to get the word out -- cloud is a critical component of what Microsoft is doing," he said. Iron Mountain Digital and Microsoft will begin offering a free trial of CloudRecovery in the next few weeks.

Executive shift aligns engineering resources for further integration

Iron Mountain Digital President John Clancy also revealed Thursday that Ramana Venkata was promoted to chief operating officer a little over a month ago, in a move that was not publicly announced. Venkata was CEO of Stratify, the e-discovery review and production company Iron Mountain acquired in 2007.

Venkata will oversee engineering, product development and service delivery at engineering centers in Southborough, Mass., Mountain View, Calif., and Bangalore, India. Bringing the three centers under Venkata is the first step toward deeper integration between all of Iron Mountain's data backup, data protection and e-discovery offerings.

Clancy said so far Iron Mountain Digital has "done things to make the Stratify technology more portable," which will allow further e-discovery features to drop into Connected, Virtual File Store, and the Total Email Management Service (TEMS) email archiving service launched this April with partner Mimecast.

Senior product marketing manager for archiving Claire Lima said that today, users with a legal matter can have Iron Mountain feed data from other repositories into Stratify for legal review and production, but currently that's a case-by-case manual process. Iron Mountain will also offer users an archiving service if they're overshooting backup windows with LiveVault.

Iron Mountain has no plans for cloud disaster recovery

One place Iron Mountain does not plan to play is in cloud disaster recovery, Clancy said. "There are disaster recovery features included with our existing offerings -- for example, anything sent to our cloud is always mirrored," he said. "But you won't see us with a SunGard-like business model -- that would be a distraction for us. We're focused on expanding our existing lines of business."

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