New E-Mail Management Software from EMC Helps Companies Cope with Litigation

It’s a rare event for EMC, the Hopkinton, MA-based storage and information management giant that has been on an acquisition spree over the last few years, to launch a new product line in-house. But that’s what’s happening this week as EMC rolls out “SourceOne,” a new family of software products designed to help companies prepare for, and minimize the costs of, legal cases that may require them to produce corporate documents such as e-mails.

When companies get hauled into court, new federal rules put into place in 2006 mean they have to be ready to hand over stored e-mail and instant messages as part of the discovery process. If they haven’t been archiving this information systematically before a discovery request hits, it can be extremely costly to comply fast enough to meet court deadlines. Market research firm Gartner reported last year that paying lawyers to sift through e-mail files for relevant messages costs an average of $18,750 per gigabyte.

SourceOne is designed to drastically reduce those costs. It consists, at launch, of two components. The first is an e-mail management program that works with corporate e-mail server systems such as Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes/Domino to create a definitive archive of e-mails and instant messages. The system not only makes sure that all of a company’s e-mails are in one searchable location, but decreases storage needs by getting rid of duplicate data. The SourceOne e-mail management product is designed as a next-generation replacement for EMC’s EmailXtender product, which EMC inherited when it acquired Legato Systems in 2003, according to Kelly Ferguson, a senior product marketing manager at EMC.

The second component is the SourceOne Discovery Manager, which is specialized for searching large volumes of e-mail and isolating the subset of documents that must be handed over to outside counsel in legal cases. “A company might have a million messages that fit the date range or subject” for a given case, says Ferguson. “Discovery Manager will narrow that down so that only what is relevant is held in a secure ‘legal hold’ folder.” The system complies with the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM), a set of e-discovery guidelines set up several years ago by a group of roughly 100 software vendors and consulting firms, including EMC.

Later this quarter, EMC plans to add a third component to the SourceOne family, the Discovery Collector, which will quickly scour a company’s larger information … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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