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Big Data: Big Value or Big Trouble?

Like “the Cloud”, the term “Big Data” has many different definitions.  But no matter how you define it, Big Data is not a fad.

Some use the term to denote the incredible variety, velocity and volume of data that we are creating and using every day.  (Here is a very interesting infographic on that point).

Others use the term to represent huge data sets from which we can intelligently extract useful trends and business information.  In fact, the promise of Big Data is not just the ability to mine data for sales purposes, but also for customer and employee sentiment, and even the idea of “predictive compliance”.

Regardless, as with the Cloud, there is enormous potential value in Big Data — but there are also costs and risks that need to be weighed in the process.  Among these are the eDiscovery and security risks associated with keeping a significant amount of data past its (normally) useful life.  Our friend Barclay Blair has published some interesting thoughts on Big Data, the law and eDiscovery.

As in so many other areas, business will drive the need for big data initiatives; but compliance and legal need a voice in the process to adequately cover potential risks and issues.

Why SourceOne?

In this short four minute video, EMC’s own Gene Maxwell gives a straight forward presentation that answers the question, “Why SourceOne?” SourceOne is a next-generation archiving solution that captures and protects your valuable email, file and SharePoint content for company compliance and legal discovery.

Archiving To Help Solve BYOD

We have written before about the security, privacy, compliance and legal issues created by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon.  And if BYOD seems difficult here in the US, it’s far more difficult in the EU with its stronger protection of personal data.  With BYOD, personal information is being mixed with corporate information on an employee-owned device, often with no real corporate oversight, creating all kinds of new problems.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s office recently published guidance to assist organizations in dealing with BYOD concerns in the EU.  Of course, a main point is that having a clear and effective BYOD policy is a crucial step for any organization.  But one issue, along with its related advice, really caught our attention:

     “If copies of data are stored on many different devices. . . there is an increased risk that personal data will become out-of-date or inaccurate over time … [or] retained for longer than is necessary … [because] it is more difficult to keep track of all copies of the data.  Using devices to connect to a single central repository of data can help mitigate this risk.”   [Emphasis added].

Centralized archives, operating and retaining data according to company policies, serve this purpose.  For example, rather than having email (and attachments) stored on various email servers, in PST files and on devices for every custodian, it should be stored, maintained, accessed (and ultimately deleted) from a single instance email archive.  Each device can serve as a “window” to that centralized content so that it’s accessible as needed, and then deleted.  This avoids creating new instances of each message that are stored and managed for each individual device requiring access to the data.  And this same concept can be applied to documents from file systems, Sharepoint, even records management systems.

Not every organization will have to meet EU (or even EU-style) data requirements.  But centralizing and managing content is a solid best practice that will pay dividends no matter where you are located.

Interesting Q&A w @Guychurchward on mark

Interesting Q&A w @Guychurchward on market trends and #EMCWorld. Won’t miss his keynote debut Tues #EMCBackup http://ow.ly/kzBBV

Backup and Archiving – The Odd Couple?

At EMC, we have the opportunity to talk to customers like yourselves, about data protection and its key components backup and archiving. Customers commonly ask us about the differences and similarities of backup and archiving. They ask us, “I know I need backup, but do I also need archiving?”

Our friends at Enterprise Storage Group (ESG) also share this discussion with customers they speak with and not surprisingly, they share the same opinion about data protection as we do.

In this short six minute video, listen as Steve Duplessie talks about the importance of backup and archiving and how they complement each other. Together, backup and archiving are the “perfect couple”.

EMC SourceOne 7 Archiving and eDiscovery: A Key Pillar of any Data Protection Strategy

As you may have already read in this morning’s EMC Data Domain and SourceOne blog,  EMC is taking data protection to the next level, and to that point, the version 7 release of EMC SourceOne is now available.  SourceOne 7 represents the next generation archiving platform for email, file systems and Microsoft SharePoint content and includes SourceOne Discovery Manager 7, which together, enhance an organization’s ability to protect and discover their data. In fact, in ESG’s recent  “Data Protection Matters” video featuring Steve Duplessie, ESG’s founder and Senior Analyst, it was stated that  “backup and archive are different but complimentary functions” that both are “key pillars of a data protection strategy”, and that “backup without archive is incomplete”. I find this to be in perfect alignment with EMC’s strategy for data protection, and with this in mind, I’d like to review some of the great features of EMC SourceOne 7.

Let’s take File System data as an example. Have you ever needed to locate file system data in your infrastructure without a purpose built archive to assist? Perhaps searching data for business reuse, an eDiscovery request, an audit or investigation? How did that work for you? Often, it’s a time consuming exercise in futility, or at best, an incomplete exercise with non-defensible results. Well, with the latest release of SourceOne for File Systems, a quick search can produce an accurate result set of all files that meet your search criteria AND you never had to physically archive that content.  That’s because this release offers “Index in Place” which enables organizations to index the terabytes (or petabytes!) of data that exists “in the wild” without having to move that data to the archive. How cool is that? Users and applications continue to transparently access that data as needed, yet sitting on top is a layer of corporate compliance.  Now you can apply retention and disposition policies to this data, discover information when required and place only the data that needs to be put on “legal hold” into the physical archive.

SourceOne 7 uniquely addresses each form of content. Since our next gen archiving family was built from platform level up, all content types are managed cohesively, yet each type of content is archived in such a way that compliments the content itself. For instance, archiving MS SharePoint you can:

  • Externalize active data to:
    • Save on licensing and storage costs
    • Increase  SharePoint’s performance
    • Provide transparent access to the content
  • Archive inactive content to:
    • Further decrease storage and licensing requirements
    • Make data available for eDiscovery and compliance
    • Set consistent retention and disposition policies
    • Provide users with easy search and recall from the MS SharePoint Interface

When it comes to the IT administrator, there are plenty of advantages to SourceOne, as well. Our entire archive is managed from a single console; all email, MS SharePoint, and File System data is captured into one archive that eases administrative management burden and decreases the margin of error when creating and executing policies against all types of content. The IT admin can also monitor and manage the overall health of the archive server using their existing monitoring tools, such as MS SCOM.   Improved ROI of monitoring tools, marginal learning curve, and IT efficiency are all part of SourceOne 7.  And of course, for the IT admin there’s the comfort in knowing that the data is being protected while transparently available to end user.

EMC's Source Once

The shift in IT infrastructure certainly encompasses virtualization, and most organizations take advantage of our ability to virtualize SourceOne. This next gen architecture allows the “snap on” of worker servers (either virtually or physically) with no disruption to the processes running on the existing archive servers, allowing  for expansion and contraction of servers and services as necessary. And, with all the new auditing and reporting capabilities in SourceOne 7, it’s a breeze determining when you may need to consider either adding or subtracting servers/virtual machines to handle the workload, to examine trends, and to ensure compliance.

Every good archive deserves its own discovery tool, and with SourceOne Discovery Manager 7, you’ll find just that, an easy to use, intuitive interface that allows for discovery of all email, SharePoint and File System content within the archive.

Source One User Interface

With Discovery Manager you can:

  • Collect archived data (even that “indexed in place” data) to be managed as part of a matter
  • Place into hold folders
  • Perform further review, culling, and tagging
  • Export to industry standard formant such as EDRM XML 1.0/1.2   and others

Data protection based on growth and recovery requirements are changing and “one size recovery fits all” is no longer a viable option – to address all the data protection challenges takes a holistic approach to managing this business critical information.  EMC solutions which include SourceOne 7 for archiving and eDiscovery, in conjunction with our best of breed backup and hardware platforms, make this happen. On that note, please make sure to read about the new Data Domain 5.3 capabilities for backup and archive, in their supporting blog, here.   To find more information on EMC SourceOne, please visit our EMC.COM SourceOne Family and Archiving websites.

eDiscovery and Sharepoint

I am consistently surprised that the eDiscovery of Microsoft Sharepoint repositories does not strike more fear into organizations.  Sharepoint is complex, contains different types of documents/objects, can have rich metadata and is a key repository for business content.  Yet most organizations that we talk with state that they are not concerned with their ability to handle eDiscovery work on Sharepoint sites.

There are several potential reasons for this hands-off attitude:

- There are no significant reported cases where a party was sanctioned for failing to properly preserve or collect content from Sharepoint.  I did some of my own research in a few eDiscovery caselaw databases, and none of my searches located the word “sharepoint” in connection with a sanctions motion;

- Few litigants seem to be asking for Sharepoint content during discovery.  (Of course this is not a valid reason for organizations to ignore it.  The duty to preserve and produce ESI is not tied to whether the other party asks for the content.  But in reality, if both sides bury their heads in the Sharepoint sand, then no one knows whether relevant content is being ignored).

- Most organizations lack the tools and capabilities to discover from Sharepoint, at least beyond basic Office documents that might be stored in a site.  Whether Legal is aware that IT is not undertaking discovery of Sharepoint sites is a good question to ask.

What makes Sharepoint more complex than a fileshare, at least in eDiscovery?  Many different types of content can be stored in a site:  documents, email messages, OneNote files, webpages, community posts, microblogs, Lync IMs, and more.  Not all of this content is readily accessible, so eDiscovery teams may have difficulty in locating relevant content.  Even when found, the preservation and collection of that content can be difficult.

Metadata in eDiscovery is often a misunderstood issue, and Sharepoint has a lot of metadata.  For example, each user can define a set of metadata tags for use with documents.  This information is arguably not relevant in many cases, but it may be useful or important in locating relevant documents.  And since one cannot rule out relevancy before a case even begins, organizations need a plan to capture this information when necessary.

A more advanced but still important concern is with authentication and admissibility of the Sharepoint content.  The creator of a document can often be difficult to determine, even on a fileshare where the “owner” of that document may be clear (based on the directory structure).  In Sharepoint, the situation can be far murkier due to its collaboration capabilities.  For example, multiple parties may have contributed to a document but the identified owner and creator may not be part of that group.  (For some great background on these issues, download The Sedona Conference Commentary On ESI Evidence & Admissibility).

What can you do?

- Legal and IT should get together to discuss the organization’s Sharepoint deployment and determine whether it is (or should be) on the Data Map; and if so, how content can best be located, preserved and collected when necessary.  Microsoft has added some eDiscovery capabilities to Sharepoint 2013 but whether those features are sufficient, and how to handle prior versions of Sharepoint, remain a concern;

- The organization should consider (now!) policies relating to the retention of Sharepoint content.  This is a great step to take before the situation becomes too difficult to handle because Sharepoint adoption tends to grow very rapidly.

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