Autonomy boost for e-discovery

Autonomy boost for e-discovery

Search specialist Autonomy has released a new tool aimed at helping managers meet compliance targets

Search giant Autonomy has launched a new document preservation tool, designed to help IT managers and legal teams in their e-discovery and compliance efforts on client devices.

Developed by the firm's Zantaz subsidiary, Desktop Legal Hold works by monitoring and locking down any relevant information including emails, PDFs and instant messages, across mobile devices such as laptops, USB devices and smartphones.

The tool uses Autonomy's Intelligent Data Operating Layer (Idol) platform to identify any information which is relevant to firms' legal hold policies, using keyword and Boolean rules, metadata and conceptual search, according to Autonomy.

It does not require a continuous network connection but instead monitors and preserves content offline, locking it down locally until a connection is established, and then uploading the information to a central server, explained Autonomy's Nicole Eagan.

Many conventional document preservation tools use require IT teams to manually image a user's entire hard drive, which is time-consuming and likely to pick up "a lot of irrelevant or personal information", she said.

"This solution avoids these problems, preserving privacy and enabling compliance. We can also search the empty or hidden spaces on the hard drive to find information that has been accidentally or deliberately hidden or deleted."

Mike Davis of analyst firm Ovum said the announcement highlights Autonomy's recognition of the growing e-discovery market.

"It’s a one-stop shop for e-discovery –- if you think you're vulnerable it's not [ideal] to stick two products together," he added. "Autonomy is a big brand and when you're investing in a risk management solution like this you also want to minimise the risk of your investment."

Craig Carpenter, vice president of e-discovery solutions at enterprise search vendor Recommind, argued that legal holds are becoming increasingly critical for firms outside the US. "It's great that this choke point in the legal process is being highlighted by big vendors coming into the space," he added.

Justin Byrne, a partner at law firm Eversheds, said document preservation is "a sensible area to target" for Autonomy as it is a key issue for legal teams. "At first glance it helps monitor remotely and preserves information on the desktop but there are also complex issues related to keyword searching, which is a very imprecise science," he added.