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Digital Reef Offers Virtual Governance Warehouse For E-Discovery

Change has always been a constant for IT organizations. Information management, which relates to content and decision-making relationships for information throughout its life is and will be a major area of change because enterprises need to know what and where their data is at a very fine level of granularity, such as the contents of a particular e-mail and how that document relates to other e-mails. The still-exploding requirements for eDiscovery have been a primary driver in this change. And that gives vendors, such as Digital Reef, a leverage point from which to deliver products and services that meet real business needs (i.e., eDiscovery) while at the same time enabling enterprises to have insight into information necessary to meet governance, risk management, and compliance requirements.

The ongoing explosion in sheer volumes of data created and stored is familiar enough, but what is not necessarily as obvious is that the accountability for managing that data has been increasing at the same time. Among the drivers of that increased accountability are laws and regulations that affect compliance and civil litigation. They, in turn, are leading to a greater need for formal information or data governance processes to provide understanding of what information is available and where it resides.

However, because information governance is an abstract concept let's apply a more concrete subset of information governance: eDiscovery is a very real responsibility within enterprises and results in real projects with real expenditures of large sums of money. When spending large sums of money efficiently is important, you can bet people pay attention to the subject.

Now, in an eDiscovery project, one of the most important initial tasks is to look at all potentially relevant data and then cull out irrelevant information. That is not easy as semi-structured information, such as e-mails and word processing documents. Unstructured information, such as any bitmapped files like medical images, can be found in many places, such as electronic content management systems, email servers, file servers and desktops. Moreover, the amount of data may be very large, not only in terms of terabytes, but also in terms of the number of files, often in the millions. Getting some sense of what you have is the visibility step.

Although Digital Reef is a software company, it creates what it calls a "virtual governance warehouse." That is quite an interesting name, but what it refers to is not only the software, but also the database that provides the information that understands and tracks all file sources across the enterprise. The original data stays in place, and only data that enables understanding and tracking is stored in the warehouse.  In effect, the virtual governance warehouse is a large metadata repository.

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