Mimosa Enhances E-discovery Capabilities

Archiving vendor adds classification and retention features to help quickly identify records that need to be produced during litigation

December 16, 2008

4 Min Read
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More companies are looking for automated tools that can help them avoid the costly manual labor involved in reviewing files that need to be turned over during litigation. Several vendors offer full-fledged e-discovery systems that search out all files, index and classify them, preserve them, and present them in a way that makes it much easier for lawyers to determine which ones need to be turned over. Other vendors are beginning to add some of these capabilities to their products.

Email archiving specialist Mimosa Systems Inc. today introduced the Retention and Classification Option to its NearPoint archiving system, which it says will let businesses reduce or eliminate the need for manual classification of content. The software lets companies set rules and policies to analyze information within emails, attachments, files, and other content, and paste tags on that content. The tags can be used to set retention policies and later, once a company is hit with a lawsuit, make it easier to find relevant files.

These capabilities can be valuable for companies in this era where lawsuits are filed every day for any reason, and businesses are spending more to avoid costly manual processes. Businesses and other organizations spent more than $2.7 billion on electronic data discovery last year, and spending on EDD will grow to more than $4.6 billion by 2010, according to consultants George Socha and Tom Gelbmann, who presented their findings in a report published earlier this year on Law.com.

The market is getting crowded, with vendors like Kazeon Systems Inc. , StoredIQ Corp. , Autonomy Corp. , Guidance Software Inc. , and others offering specific e-discovery products or those capabilities in larger suites.

One challenge is to know what to keep, before the legal papers start flying. Scott Whitney, vice president of product management at Mimosa, notes that "not all email is created equal" and you don't want to keep all of your email archive in Tier 1 storage. But, he says, you need to know what is inside the email and files before you can decide what to do with it and where to store it.NearPoint uses a search engine sitting outside the archive to search the content, find what is relevant based on policies and rules set by the company, put an in-place hold on specific files, preserve them, and set retention policies. "A legal hold says to keep it and don't change it or move it. It is help as an item level file," says Whitney.

The new capabilities were developed after talking to customers' lawyers as well as their IT and records management personnel. "We've flipped things around and do a reverse search engine. IT can create policies that set retention and do tagging," he says. "When a new piece of content comes into archive, we compare it to the policies. Is it a contract? Does it involve company X? Does it involve defense work? If so, I want to retain and preserve that item for seven years and I want to tag it so we can get at it quickly."

On the other hand, other email and files that can clearly be identified as unimportant or personal will only be kept for 90 days.

Christine Taylor, an analyst with Taneja Group and the author of a series of articles on Byte and Switch on e-discovery, says the approach of taking on early tagging, indexing, and classification "appears to be very efficient and doesn't require a lot of storage. It is a proactive feature for if and when you need it."

She notes that Mimosa needs to appeal to several different related groups within a business, including the legal and IT departments. "The question is who is driving the purchase. IT is more likely to be driving email management and is looking to protect its investment in Exchange, which is where Mimosa specializes."Taylor also believes it was a good strategic move for Mimosa to enter this field in a touch economy. "E-discovery is not going to suffer as nearly as much as other segments of the economy. You have to answer litigation no matter what," she says.

Whitney says Mimosa charges per mailbox for its NearPoint archive, usually around $40 a seat for 2,000 or more seats. The Retention and Classification options will add $10 per seat.

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