Back in the bad old days, when you sent an email somewhere containing some vital, time sensitive information, you just assumed that it got there, and that it would not 'conveniently' get lost or delayed somewhere along the line.
Yes, you laugh, but it's true.
When you sent a registered or notarized letter through either the mail or a courier service, you only certified the damn envelope, and not what was in it. Back in the day, you could send someone a contract to sign, and they could send it back to you with a crucial page missing, and claim that that page in question was not included in the original document. And then you might find yourself in a good old-fashioned mess.
For you, that day might have been today. But, at the risk of sounding like a corny advert, maybe tomorrow will be different.Because now you are going to learn all about Globalpex, which has been building a range of content certification and content management services since its inception in 2005, and which is now going live with three communication certification services:
# Content Certified Physical Mail
# Content Certified Email
# Content Certified IM (still in Beta)
All three services provide proof of content for these diverse modes of communication, and the physical mail certification process, in particular, is nothing short of revolutionary. Certification services are based on a pay-as-you-go model, and are managed via the company's new browser-based Centralized Mail and Messaging Console (CMMC).
In a nutshell, here's what the company provide:
* Certified content of email, physical mail, and IM
* Retention of records, eDiscovery and real time visibility of records
* Cost savings on mail -- international mail sent from inside US at national rates
But there's more to Globalpex than just that (just that?). This cock-sure Florida company is not short of ideas. It has an array of other pretty sweet capabilities which are either currently live or in the pipeline, across the whole range of content management, records management, records retention, ERP and Enterprise CMS integration... the list goes on. If it's to do with content, with correspondence, with documents and communication, these guys are interested.
Your CMSWire correspondent here had the pleasure of speaking to CEO Ed Zakarian, Marc Miller (VP Sales & Marketing),and Serge Hairanian the CTO. To get the full Globalpex picture, read on my friend, read on.
CMSWire: Let's start at the beginning. Who are you and why should the CM world care?
Marc Miller: We were founded in 2005 and we focus on content certification. This is kind of a new area which hasn't been really been developed in the past. It really started with physical mail . Traditionally if you had a really important document that you wanted to send to someone, especially in the US, there were a number of options that you could utilize to protect it.
You could go to a notary who would notarize the signature and confirm that you were who you say you were, you could go to the US Postal service and they would confirm that an envelope had been mailed, and if it was an urgent matter you could send it with FedEX, DHL etc., and get that expedited with a delivery receipt, in the form of a signature.
So you could prove that you are who you say you are, you could prove that you sent an envelope, and you could prove that that envelope was actually received by someone. But you couldn't prove what was actually in the envelope.
And that's the gap that Globalpex was set up to fill. That was the reason for founding the company. CMSWire: And so you moved on from physical mail into the digital arena? MM: Right. We started with physical mail, and then extended that concept to email and instant messaging as well. So that you could protect those documents and those correspondence too. And with all the regulatory changes that have occurred over the past several years, that's become increasingly important, with regard to numerous types of documents: legal documents, health records, sensitive financial data.
All along we were really trying to make sure that ease of use was of paramount importance, and so by making it a web-based SaaS offering, we're trying to make it as easy to use as possible, and to enable as many people to use it as possible. Wherever you are in the globe, whatever kind of organization you are working in, of whatever scale -- our service has the capability to provide certification to your communications.
Certification of Digital Assets
CMSWire: All very well, but how does it work? How can you certify what was or is in an IM or in an email? MM: With an IM or an email, it's actually pretty simple for us. What we do with an email is essentially this: the sender of the email can go on to our system through the Central Mail and Messaging Console, which is a web-based portal, and you go ahead and type the content of that email. You then go ahead and send it to whomever you want to receive it.
Once you send it, the email is residing on our HQ location, and we also have redundancies which I'll get onto later [your correspondent never gave Miller the chance to 'get into it later', as by then his dinner was getting cold and his missus was beginning to pout].
The recipient then gets notification that a certified email is waiting for them. They click on that link, to the unalterable copy of the email which is sitting on our server. By accessing that, we have a time and date stamp and we can show not only who they are, and what IP address they are viewing this from but also in fact how many times they viewed it. CMSWire: One of these days a lawyer is going to knock on your door, and say, for instance that 'My client never actually viewed this”, or wrote it, or similar. How can you prove that you didn't alter it? Just because a third-party company claims that they didn't alter a message or details regarding it, how can you prove that? MM:There are a variety of mechanisms, from the encryption of the line, to the login process by which a person who establishes a unique account, and other mechanisms.
At the end of the day, if a person wants to be duplicitous and engage in fraudulent activities, they're probably going to find a way to do that.
What our services do is make it much more difficult for them to do that. And it gives you that added protection to say that a 3rd party has certified that this what was received by us, and we can prove with pretty good certainty that that what was put on our server, for instance. Without any interaction with Globalpex itself necessary. CMSWire: Who do you envisage as your main customers for these services? MM: Initially, mostly the SMB market. We are working with a larger enterprise, and that's also been very successful. But we are initially focused on SMBs, who may not have the sophisticated ECM, or ERP systems, and are looking for something that will provide them with an additional way -- a better way -- to store and manage their critical communications.
And we offer a retention tree that 's completely customizable, but if you are a small or medium business that doesn't have a compliance officer, that doesn't have a legal department, it gives you a baseline and a place to start in holding on to those communications that are important to you.
In the next phase, as we continue to develop additional services and additional integration capabilities with the major ERP and ECM platforms, we'll be looking more towards the enterprise markets. CMSWire: Suppose I am a small or medium business proprietor, and I am interested in your services. What do I do? MM: It's a pay-as-you-go model. All you do is log up for an account, at no cost. You pay for what you use, and that's it. And you're ready to go immediately when you sign up, after providing your essential information.
As soon as you've created your account you can download your IM client, for instance, and you're ready to go with that. Or you can send a certified email immediately. Or you can send a physical document at any point in time. CMSWire: There is another service you provide, which is mailing documents from anywhere in the world to a location in the US, but essentially printing out the document in your building and sending it from there, at US postal rates, or via other channels if required. Tell me a little bit about that. MM: That's right. One of our earliest customers, for example, was an employee of one of the major US banks working in the Ukraine. He had a sensitive document which he had to send to the US, but he didn't have a particularly timely, reliable channel to get it from where he was in the Ukraine to its destination in the US. But by signing on with us, he was able to bypass export Exports and Customs, and all the rest of that stuff, and actually print the document that he needed to send from our headquarters in Florida, and ship that document to where it needed to go at the local domestic rate for expedited shipment.
That service is an example of the everyday service which we provide for customers.
Certification of Physical Mail
CMSWire: Getting back to the certification of physical mail. What procedures do you undertake to ensure the certification of physically mailed content? MM: Essentially, whatever the document is that you want to physically send, you upload it to our secure servers. The document is assigned a two-dimensional data matrix barcode, which identifies the document, who it is from, who it is going to, what the method of shipment is going to be etc., the exact number of pages etc.
After the document is printed we take a post-printed image of that document, of each and every page of the document. And we store that image, and we track that the inserting process, as the document is actually stuffed into the envelope. Then whoever the carrier of choice is, whether it be DHL, Fed Ex or the US postal service, you can actually select that. In addition to that, you can send a certified email of the document to the recipient as well.
Now, if page 7 of the document is claimed by the recipient to have been smudged, for instance, the sender can reference the post-print image of page seven of the document to see whether this was actually the case. If it is claimed that the page was bare because our printer ran out of ink, the same. Although that's a bad example, because our printers wouldn't run out of ink because of the controls which we have on the system.
In any case we can go back to our recorded images and view exactly what was stuffed into the envelope. If a part of a document somehow gets mangled or damaged in any way during processing, the whole document is destroyed and reentered into the system, and queued to be processed all over again.
Records Management, eDiscovery
CMSWire: Although I'm fascinated with the physical mail certification and verification techniques of Globalpex, I do wonder how exactly it relates to Content Management Systems or to enterprise software in general? MM: We're not out there to replace Enterprise CMS systems. We're not going to be an Oracle or a SAP on the ERP side. We're not going to be Documentum. We occupy a small niche that is a hybrid approach that bridges the physical and electronic worlds.
There's no visibility for an Enterprise Content Management System to physically mailed items, particularly expedited mail. So once its gone, the company has no visibility of what was actually in that envelope.
As well as being of interest to companies from a regulatory or compliance standpoint, companies are saying that the technology is of interest to them from a purely management standpoint; because we actually allow them to bring that piece of content, that was a physical document, into the electronic realm, where it can be more readily managed. Ed Zakarian: Our primary business is content certification, which we define as being able to prove what was in a correspondence; digital or physical.
We've taken content certification, and said OK, our clients are having difficulty managing all their different aspects of their communications. Their email archives may be in one location, and their IMs hosted in another location, and vital certified emails somewhere else completely.
Next to content certification, to compliment it, we've created the CMMC, which integrates every form of communication within an organization. Readily logging into our CMMC, everything is available via simple text queries, whether it be physical mail, certified email or IM. Instantly retrieved.
So it's an e-Discovery platform, but all with this content certification, being able to prove what the actual communication was, validated by a third party. So, if you want to look at it this way, we are a Verisign of the digital correspondence world. CMSWire: So like Verisign, but not exactly. Who else is out there doing what you do? Ed Zakarian: We are certainly unique, in that no-one provides all these services into one integrated platform. But what really makes us special is the ability to content certify something. So Globalpex should be known as the Content Certification company. Of course Content Management is extremely important to everyone; being able to have all communications located in one place is extremely important to smaller businesses, who just can't afford the larger packages. But with our Phase 2 development, integration with the larger ERP packages, we're going to provide a much better way to manage outbound correspondence, which up to now have been completely unstructured. CEO Ed ZakarianCMSWire: How far are you into Phase 2 -- integration into the big ERP and other enterprise systems? EZ: We're in development, and hope to be rolling out over the next 6-9 months in a phased approach. We have a simple Exchange and Lotus Notes integration coming out very soon, and hope to have news on Oracle and SAP in the near future. CMSWire: Well, I'm convinced. Can I go and have my supper now? Yoda: You can, if you believe you can.
Globalpex has offices in Florida and New Jersey. Visit them here for more info, or to sign-up for a drive around the block with their SaaS content certification offerings.