IBM (news, site) has just announced further expansion of its information management portfolio, this time in the compliance and legal hold space with the acquisition of PSS Atlas, an e-Discovery vendor that provides software for document analysis, management and disposal.

How much IBM paid for PSS has not been made public, but the acquisition adds an important piece to its GRC solutions, to which it only recently added Open Pages, a company that provides software for developing risk, compliance and internal audits strategies in the financial space.

Designed specifically for enterprise legal departments, PSS’s (news, site) software gives enterprises an overview of their corporate information, automates governance of that information and ultimately sets out disposal schedules for information that is no longer needed.

With the acquisition of PSS Systems, we are able to expand our portfolio with a broader set of legal solutions that for the first time link corporate legal hold policies to the reality of how information is managed and disposed of," Ron Ercanbrack, VP of ECM at IBM said.


Founded in 2004, PSS Atlas is currently being used by seven Fortune 10 companies and manages more than 210,000 active holds.

Over the past number of months it has worked with IBM on legal compliance for Bank of America and once the deal is completed IBM says it intends to sell PSS software in conjunction with its Lifecycle Governance applications that will benefit considerably with the automated document disposal brought by PSS.

PSS Atlas and e-Discovery

However, PSS Atlas is more than just automated disposal. Users deploy PSS to accelerate retention management and are able to predict and control e-Discovery costs by establishing transparency and control across the portfolio.

With it, legal experts can implement legal holds, collection instructions and retention management requirements from desktops and apply them to information repositories where ‘live’ data is being stored.

It also comes with a whole list of connectors and an SDK, so PSS can tie into any user content -- from file shares, SharePoint and Documentum, to backup tapes, PeopleSoft, Excel spreadsheets -- as well as issuing governance instructions to e-Discovery products from IBM, Symantec, Mimosa and StoredIQ.

It also fits in nicely with IBM’s strategy of developing data management, delivery and analysis products and services aimed at offering enterprises ways to manage the stupefying growth in the amount of data companies have to manage, while at the same time cutting the costs of managing that data.

But there are other advantages here too, notably in terms of the expertise that it will be incorporating with this deal. PSS Systems was one of the founders of the Compliance, Governance and Oversight Council (CGOC), as well as the Information Governance Process Maturity Model, which includes process assessment and business case methodologies as well as models for best practice in the industry.

IBM is not the only one starting to play big in the security and compliance market. This summer alone, Intel agreed to pay US$ 7.68 billion for McAfee, HP announced that it was buying security software provider ArcSight for US$ 1.5 billion and only a few weeks prior to that had beat Dell to pay US$ 2.07 billion for data storage and security company 3Par.