Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2013-04-23 15:33:48  It has been over six years since I left Symantec’s product management team, but that has not kept me from the annual Symantec Vision conference. This year’s theme was the massive “Symantec 4.0” reorganization and strategic overhaul initiated this January by the new CEO Steve Bennett. In the keynote, Bennett acknowledged that Symantec has great individual business lines and assets, but has fallen short of customer’s needs for integrated solutions. I won’t even try to cover all of the changes in leadership, business units, products and road maps. Instead, I will stick to my perspective on the potential eDiscovery impact for current or prospective Symantec customers. Keep in mind that Symantec has never been known for fast and nimble development cycles. I believe that Symantec 4.0 needs to deliver an initial round of functional, coherent offerings in the next six to nine months convince a skeptical market that the changes are working.Symantec 4.0 Themes

  • Intelligence
    • eDJ take – leveraging top down dashboards, reporting and analytics across enterprise – can they leverage Clearwell’s new Transparent Predictive Coding beyond legal review?
  • Efficiency
    • eDJ take – simplifying complex administration across systems and sources
  • Cross Everything
    • eDJ take – solutions independent of environment, system or hardware that can protect, manage and discover across all customer data – can Symantec deliver a strong preservation and collection solution beyond EV?

Symantec seems to recognize that their portfolio is dominated by siloed point solutions and has a plan to create merged or integrated solutions. The roadmap should resonate with customers who are struggling to manage the data growth explosion in new mobile, virtual and cloud sources.Information FabricThe proposed Information Fabric offering would be a centralized database that relates policies, users, systems and metadata to create analytic visibility that supports proactive/reactive initiatives such as migrations, intelligent archiving, retention expiry and more. HP-Autonomy pioneered a similar unified data management vision, primarily to very large enterprise customers with regulatory requirements to justify the heavy investment in a full text enterprise wide index. Preliminary indications are that the proposed system would collect prioritized meta-data from Symantec managed systems and function as an integration hub between those systems.It is my perspective that Symantec’s environmental/hardware independence could bring the Information Fabric (think interactive data map) into the reach of a much larger pool of SMB customers, especially given the company’s recent success with appliances. I would further speculate that Symantec could create an appliance (virtual or physical) that combined backup, DLP, archiving and discovery underneath of the data map dashboard. Smaller customers could consume appliance or cloud delivered data protection, service continuity and accessibility with one budget item. All of this is my own extrapolation on a very new Symantec road map, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.Mobile DevicesI was surprised to see that Symantec has created a new Enterprise Mobility unit to address the challenges of BYOD and remote workforce productivity. Mobile device discovery is my hottest research topic and a serious pain point with corporations. Symantec expanded their mobile device management (MDM) product with ‘app wrapping’ (released last October) functionality to secure business applications and data on personal devices. Corporations have been asking for a way to segregate corporate ESI from personal data. Symantec has a long term goal of attaching the encryption, policy and controls directly to the enterprise data itself, to be truly device/environment independent. The majority of analyst questions directed at the panels of Symantec executives and key customers revolved around mobile content. The customers were tackling BYOD with a phased access approach and trying multiple control routes to balance user productivity against data risk. One good customer quote, “It’s about securing the data. It should not matter what the device is.”For existing Symantec customers, I wanted to call out two little known products/features that could be leveraged today.Data Insight 4.0 will be generally available in Q2/Q3. Think of this as the engine that will harvest the metadata from unstructured file shares and SharePoint to feed the new Information Fabric database.  It can already generate data profile reports and track file system activity to establish user ownership and behavior patterns.Enterprise Vault Data Classification Services is available for customers on Enterprise Vault 10 and leverages the classification engine from Symantec Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to apply retention to archived data. Many existing customers may not realize that they can implement this today to support their defensible deletion initiatives. eDJ consulting team is certainly seeing a strong interest in products and practices that can minimize the user impact of classifying records and maximize the expiry of corporate junk.Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.” This Vision conference certainly proved to me the truth that homes and companies will grow and change when we leave them. So far, Symantec 4.0 gives me hope that they may be on the right track. Corporate IT, legal and compliance departments are facing a rapidly evolving set of challenges that include mobile workforces, exploding enterprise data, cloud-based systems, social media, new regulations (Dodd Frank) and ever-changing discovery requirements. Every provider must be willing to innovate and create new solutions to stay relevant and retain customer loyalty. Symantec 4.0 talks the talk, now we get to see if they can walk the walk. They have delivered the Clearwell-archive integrations, can they take it to the next level of enterprise discovery?Greg Buckles, eDiscoveryJournal Contributor and Lead Analyst 

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