Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Barry Murphy. Published: 2012-01-16 09:46:35Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. As the buzz around The Cloud has built over the last few years, one company remained noticeably silent about plans for The Cloud – Symantec.  Rival companies like IBM and Autonomy began introducing cloud archiving products in addition to existing on-premise archiving products.  With its market-leading archiving product Enterprise Vault, Symantec no doubt felt the competitive impact of cloud solutions, but when queried about a cloud strategy, the company would only mention its partnership with LiveOffice.  Turns out, LiveOffice is the Symantec cloud strategy – Symantec has acquired LiveOffice for $115 million.

This acquisition signals that Symantec is going to fight hard for its information governance business unit.  Enterprise Vault continues to be a leading on-premise archiving product, but it has been losing ground to competitors.  This summer, Symantec bought Clearwell Systems to address more of the eDiscovery process than collection and preservation and to add functionality for processing, review, and analysis and applications for early case assessment (ECA). That acquisition gave Enterprise Vault more credibility within the eDiscovery market, but did nothing to address The Cloud.  Buying LiveOffice shows that Symantec realizes the critical need to offer its own cloud-based solution.  We have not been formally briefed by either Symantec or LiveOffice about the acquisition, so we cannot say for sure how the company will bring information governance solutions to market.  Once we know more, we’ll report back.  We are certainly looking forward to hearing the strategy from Symantec.

I asked eDJ colleague Greg Buckles – a former member of the Enterprise Vault team at Symantec – for his quick thoughts on the acquisition.  Here’s Greg’s take:

  • This acquisition brings Symantec’s OEM cloud offering into the fold and gives them a direct, proven offering to go up against Autonomy’s Digital Safe.
  • It will be interesting to see if Symantec’s back up divisions could be leveraged for some kind of ‘omnisource journaling’ to feed a corporate cloud archive. I have always thought that the back up systems made a great offline archiving source, like Mimosa did with transaction log shipping for Exchange.
  • Although it looks like Symantec suddenly now owns three separate eDiscovery GUI’s, we believe that Discovery Accelerator and Live Office Email Discovery deliver on the simplified search, retrieval and first pass capabilities that meet the requirements of many customers. The Clearwell platform’s host of features is an appropriate investment for more mature customers with a high litigation profile. Not everyone needs to drive a Rolls to get to work every day.
  • It will be interesting to see if Symantec next looks at acquiring a SaaS office application provider such as Intermedia.net (a Live Office partner) to be able to compete with Office 365 services.

Clearly, Symantec’s work is not done.  It takes time to digest a company (Symantec is still in the process of digesting Clearwell after all) and create a strategy, so there will likely be some bumps in the road for potential customers trying to figure out what Symantec will be offering.  eDJ views this acquisition positively, not only because Symantec gets a proven cloud archiving offering, but also because it gets a leader for information governance that it already knows.  LiveOffice CEO Nick Mehta was previously GM of the Enterprise Vault group, so he should be able to make the integration go more smoothly.  It will be fun to watch the competition heat up amongst the cloud providers.

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