Iron Mountain Searches PCs For Data, Do You Mind Being Watched?
Searching through outlying laptops and PCs for data, or data related to rediscovery looks to be rule rather than the exception as Iron Mountain (news, site) releases Connected Classify & Collect, a solution that can search through data in enterprise computers gather it and classify it for eDiscovery.

This is the second similar solution in the past six months with FileTek’s (news, site) Trusted Edge v4.0 containing the same capabilities when it was released last September. FileTek focused on the structuring of unstructured content, 80% of which the company estimated resides on employees’ company laptops.

Privacy Or Compliance?

At the time there was a bit of grumbling about privacy issues and whether it was acceptable -- let alone nice -- for a company to go in and start looking through employees files. With Iron Mountain the issue raises its head again as Connected Classify & Collect can even collect search terms used.

Obviously though with the possible costs of non-compliance, or failure to meet discovery requirements in business related legal proceedings rocketing, issues of privacy are going to take second place and content will be tracked and classified no matter where it is.

And this is what Connected Classify & Collect does. And not in any sinister way either. The software is just the latest step in trying to keep growing amounts of information that is coming into enterprises via social networks or email under control and to enable enterprises find what it needs when it needs it.

We developed the Connected Classify & Collect offering to allow customers to be prepared for litigation when necessary and respond appropriately by making data stored on enterprise PCs and laptops easily searchable and discoverable,” Ramana Venkata, president, Iron Mountain Digital said.

What Connected Classify & Collect Does

So what exactly does it do? By automatically collecting metadata in a way that Iron Mountain says in non-intrusive, Connected Classify & Collect can track any document once it has entered the enterprise.

All metadata that is collected is placed in a central repository that gives administrators an accessible catalog of the types of data, the kind of content and where it has been stored. By establishing metadata selections, administrators can then find information that is relevant to litigation or eDiscovery processes and pull that information for review.

The principal advantage is that it gives administrators a enterprise-wide view of what data is in the enterprise and where, as well as preventing the accidental deletion of information that may be of use.

That alone would make it is useful piece of software. But it does more than that. It also tracks all activities relating to information exchange within an enterprise including what terms have been used to search for information -- although it doesn’t specify whether this is just internal or includes external searches as well.

It also indicates what documents have been accessed by who and when, and where they reside -- the documents, not the employee! -- be that on a PC or a laptop.

Iron Mountain And FileTek

While Iron Mountain says that this is an industry first, FileTek’s Trusted Edge does something similar, but its focus is on finding information on outlying PCs, taking information that it deems important, classifying it and turning it into records.

Iron Mountain’s Connected Classify & Collect appears to work integrated with other Iron Mountain software -- although it doesn’t say whether it works with third-party software or not. With FileTek you don’t have to be working with a FileTek product to use it.

Both solutions may have different purposes but the fact that both can and will go searching through employees PCs or Laptops has the most potential to create annoyance. However, both companies say that each of their solutions is completely transparent and that there is nothing sneaky about any of it.

While some users may not like the extension of ECM classifications to content that has not been specifically placed in a repository, the financial implications of not keeping an eye on what content is available and where it is located in a given system should make sense to everyone.