This morning’s keynote speech by Symantec CEO Enrique Salem had several interesting take-aways for those of us focused on the intersection of legal and IT. Legal discovery was mentioned in the first 5 minutes as a key business requirement. That means global software companies now see eDiscovery and Information Governance as a market driver, not just a niche area. I remember having to do eDiscovery 101 talks with senior execs back in 2006 to explain the purpose of the software company (Veritas/KVS) that they had just acquired. So I see this as FRCP to market driver in a short 5 years. The eDiscovery market and industry as a whole has grown incredibly quickly and is still immature in many ways. Symantec started the eDiscovery acquisitions in 2001 with the Veritas/KVS merger. EMC, IBM, Iron Mountain and others have followed with acquisitions of Stratify, PSS,Kazeon, Mimosa, Legato and other products that are directly or indirectly used for eDiscovery.
According to Enrique, data growth jumped to 62% last year with over 800,000 petabytes on line. Over 50% of that data is raw unstructured data, which explains Symantec’s renewed focus on categorization, universal deduplication and a shift from signature to reputation based analysis. He followed up with a discussion of the explosion of mobile devices within the enterprise. “88% of Fortune 100 companies plan to allow employee mobile devices within the workplace.” His focus was information governance, endpoint protection and employee privacy concerns, but my concerns are how to preserve, collect and filter ESI from all those iPads, Droids and other diverse sources. I bet that half of the 2,500 attendees at the keynote were answering email on iPads. With more than 1 million iPad 2 sales in the first week of availability and mobile data growth at 4,000%, this is something that corporate legal has to look at.
The North American business environment for public corporations seems to demand 24/7 information access for key decision makers. This has the potential to leave critical email, documents or even file fragments scattered across personal devices, home computers and even public airport terminals as your execs struggle to balance work while on vacation or weekend travel. We have seen a new crop of software/appliances to do forensic images and data extraction from iPhones, Blackberrys and more, but semi-manual collections are not a scalable solution. Interrogatories and discovery requests are just now starting to expand beyond email and files. I anticipate some ugly fights as corporations with unclear policies and retention practices get caught holding ESI on personal employee devices.
The last Symantec market direction is near and dear to my heart. They are launching a new enterprise visualization product called V-Ray to give IT an integrated live view on their physical and virtual systems and sources. As critical as an effective dynamic data map is from an IT admin perspective, it is even more important to a legal team trying to execute legal holds and selective collections across the enterprise. I am glad to see that global software companies have recognized that discovery is a permanent business requirement and are building integrated solutions. It does not feel like they are there yet, but the ball is moving closer to transforming the discovery fire drill into a standardized business process.