Relatively easy to implement, that kind of functionality proves inadequate for more ambitious classification exercises. To comply with regulations such as HIPAA, to respond to FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedures) e-discovery requests, or to assess risks of disclosure, companies need more comprehensive data classification tools capable of finding files that contain sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or other private personal or corporate data.
Data classification solutions of this caliber provide the applications and structure to search for those needles in companies' archive haystacks, scanning for relevant patterns and creating rules to automatically assign data to the proper containers. Implementing such tools is often a recursive exercise in which the human element must complement the results of the search and classification engines.
Infoscape -- EMC's ambitious and still evolving data classification project -- is the cornerstone of the company's ILM (information lifecycle management) strategy. Using templates, Infoscape users can quickly identify the steps and rules needed for each classification task.
Templates, however, can help only to a point, and EMC is finding that customers may have to manage documents outside of Infoscape. "[In Infoscape], we have implemented a copy to Documentum feature," says Sheila Childs, director of marketing at EMC.
Kazeon Information Server is another comprehensive data classification solution. Michael Marchi, vice president of solutions marketing at Kazeon, contends that e-discovery, compliance, and security are driving enterprises to incorporate integrated data classification solutions into their overall storage management strategies.
First launched in 2005, Kazeon's Information Server houses content-aware indexing, data classification, search, reporting, and migration in a single appliance in an effort to meet those needs. Information Server is also offered by NetApp to manage, for example, the retention dates of files created by NetApp's data protection offerings.
Index Engines, as its name suggests, leverages indexing as a means for creating metadata that makes corporate data easily searchable. The added twist this vendor offers, however, is the ability to create online metadata from files on tape reels, a lifesaver for companies housing a multitude of media in their vaults.
Despite the advances of such offerings, it would be disingenuous to paint data classification as a mature technology. That said, the technology is evolving and may in fact be the most effective means currently available for maintaining compliance, protecting sensitive data, and ensuring adequate responsiveness in the event of litigation. No other technology comes close to supplying an answer for those needs.