EMC taps users to expedite e-discovery

User input and full-text indexing fuel upgrades to company’s archiving governance initiative

Seeking to improve enterprise governance of e-mail and file archiving systems, EMC today announced upgrades to its EmailXtender e-mail management and DiskXtender file archiving products.

EMC says the updates will make it easier to comply with strict governance rules, such as the e-discovery provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures, and tap users' knowledge of legal and business e-mail.

“A lot of companies are just drowning in the volume of e-mail they have. Getting ahead of it, managing it, and not having to react after you’re hit with a lawsuit, those are all the kinds of things we’re trying to help our customers with,” said Kelly Ferguson, senior product marketing manager at EMC.

Slated for availability May 21, EmailXtender 4.8 allows administrators to push out archiving folders with predefined retention periods to users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino. Users can drag and drop messages they deem business-critical to these folders. The messages will appear in their inbox and can be shared among multiple users according to project needs.

“In the past, the form of archiving was automation,” Ferguson said. “What we’re adding is the ability for users to determine, based on their intimate knowledge of the content, what is a business record and, therefore, should be archived.”

“In some cases, particularly in parts of Europe, for example,” Ferguson added, “we see that [user-directed archiving] may replace automated capture and that users will be the drivers for the archive.”

Whether reliance on the diligence of end-users for accurate e-mail archiving will prove the concept -- let alone replace automated archiving -- remains to be seen. Yet EMC’s user-centric model for tagging message relevancy should hold promise in reducing legal fees in the event of a lawsuit or legal hold.

“Companies may choose to push out folders to users that may have content relevant to a [legal] discovery search,” Ferguson said. “Administrators can collect the content and hold that folder indefinitely, or until the lawsuit is complete.”

EmailXtender 4.8 will also include tools for administrators to monitor message archiving activity from source location to capture, allowing them to compare archived messages against log files and inboxes to ensure adequate compliance with federal regulations.

DiskXtender, EMC’s file system archiving software, facilitates the migration of inactive data from production storage systems to lower-priority storage devices. The upgrade, Version 6.2 for Windows, is currently available and performs full-text indexing of files during migration, giving administrators the ability to search the text and metadata of archived documents to establish relevancy before surfacing any files, EMC said.