Category Archives: Enterprise Search

In-Place Data Analytics For Unstructured Data is No Longer Science Fiction

By John Patzakis

AI-driven analytics supercharges compliance investigations, data security, privacy audits and eDiscovery document review.  AI machine learning employs mathematical models to assess enormous datasets and “learn” from feedback and exposure to gain deep insights into key information. This enables the identification of discrete and hidden patterns in millions of emails and other electronic files to categorize and cluster documents by concepts, content, or topic. This process goes beyond keyword searching to identify anomalies, internal threats, or other indicators of relevant behavior. The enormous volume and scope of corporate data being generated has created numerous opportunities for investigators seeking deep information insights in support of internal compliance, civil litigation and regulatory matters.

The most effective use of AI in investigations couple continuous active learning technology with concept clustering to discover the most relevant data in documents, emails, text and other sources.  As AI continues to learn and improve over time, the benefits of an effectively implemented approach will also increase. In-house and outside counsel and compliance teams are now relying on AI technology in response to government investigations, but also increasingly to identify risks before they escalate to that stage.

Stock Photo - Digital Image used in blog

However, logistical and cost barriers have traditionally stymied organizations from taking advantage of AI in a systematic and proactive basis, especially regarding unstructured data, which, according to industry studies, constitutes 80 percent or more of all data (and data risk) in the enterprise. As analytics engines ingest the text from documents and emails, the extracted text must be “mined” from their native originals. And the natives must first be collected and migrated to a centralized processing appliance. This arduous process is expensive and time consuming, particularly in the case of unstructured data, which must be collected from the “wild” and then migrated to a central location, creating a stand-alone “data lake.”

Due to these limitations, otherwise effective AI capabilities are utilized typically only on very large matters on a reactive basis that limits its benefits to the investigation at hand and the information within the captive data lake.  Thus, ongoing active learning is not generally applied across multiple matters or utilized proactively. And because that captive information consists of migrated copies of the originals, there is a very limited ability to act on data insights as the original data remains in its actual location in the enterprise.

So the ideal architecture for the enterprise would be to move the data analytics “upstream” where all the unstructured data resides, which would not only save up to millions per year in investigation, data audit and eDiscovery costs, but would enable proactive utilization for compliance auditing, security and policy breaches and internal fraud detection.  However, analytics engines require considerable computing resources, with the leading AI solutions typically necessitating tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of high end hardware for a single server instance. So these computing workloads simply cannot be forward deployed to laptops and multiple file servers, where the bulk of unstructured data and associated enterprise risk exists.

But an alternative architecture solves this problem. A process that extracts text from unstructured, distributed data in place, and systematically sends that data at a massive scale to the analytics platform, with the associated metadata and global unique identifiers for each item.  As mentioned, one of the many challenges with traditional workflows is the massive data transfer associated with ongoing data migration of electronic files and emails, the latter of which must be sent in whole containers such as PST files. This process alone can take weeks, choke network bandwidth and is highly disruptive to operations. However, the load associated with text/metadata only is less than 1 percent of the full native item. So the possibilities here are very compelling. This architecture enables very scalable and proactive compliance, information security, and information governance use cases. The upload to AI engines would take hours instead of weeks, enabling continual machine learning to improve processes and accuracy over time and enable immediate action to taken on identified threats or otherwise relevant information.

The only solution that we are aware of that fulfills this vision is X1 Distributed GRC. X1’s unique distributed architecture upends the traditional collection process by indexing at the distributed endpoints, enabling direct pipeline of extracted text to the analytics platform. This innovative technology and workflow results in far faster and more precise collections and a more informed strategy in any matter.

Deployed at each end point or centrally in virtualized environments, X1 Enterprise allows practitioners to query many thousands of devices simultaneously, utilize analytics before collecting and process while collecting directly into myriad different review and analytics applications like RelativityOne and Brainspace. X1 Enterprise empowers corporate eDiscovery, compliance, investigative, cybersecurity and privacy staff with the ability to find, analyze, collect and/or delete virtually any piece of unstructured user data wherever it resides instantly and iteratively, all in a legally defensible fashion.

X1 displayed these powerful capabilities with ComplianceDS in a recent webinar with a brief but substantive demo of our X1 Distributed GRC solution, emphasizing our innovative support of analytics engines through our game-changing ability to extract text in place with direct feed into AI solutions.

Here is a link to the recording with a direct link to the 5 minute demo portion.

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Filed under Best Practices, collection, compliance, Corporations, eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery, Enterprise Search, GDPR, Uncategorized

X1 Wins Key Honor at VMworld: 3rd Major Award for 2015

By John Patzakis and Barry Murphy

X1 continues to garner widespread acclaim in 2015 for providing enterprise end-users with the fastest, easiest-to-use, cloud-enabled enterprise search software from any device through X1 Search Virtual. The experts in this domain recognize that X1 is providing a game-changing capability in this new era of enterprise virtualization and mobility, while traditional enterprise search tools are simply not built to support the new paradigm.

Earlier this month, a panel of judges comprised of recognized experts and editors chosen by TechTarget’sSearchServerVirtualization.com, awarded X1 “Best of VMworld 2015Best of VMworld_500Awards Finalist in the Desktop Virtualization and End-User Computing Category. The judges evaluated 153 nominated products on display at VMworld 2015, and based the winners on innovation, value, performance, reliability, and ease of use.

X1 SearchTM Mobile brings X1’s award-winning user interface for desktop search to the mobile device, providing lightning-fast and secure search of email and files while on the go. This means users will no longer settle for the limited, slow and inconsistent “Exchange-only” searches of current smartphones. X1 Search Mobile enables full email (including archived emails) and desktop search from the mobile device, keeping workers productive no matter where they are. Notably, X1 was the only software provider at VMworld 2015 offering enterprise search for virtual environments with real time access from any device. High level discussions with Gartner and other key industry experts and executives confirm that X1 is far ahead of the pack in delivering this unique and disruptive capability.

How disruptive? According to Jack Madden, noted analyst and blogger on enterprise mobility and end-user computing, in a live video interview, “You know what else I like about [X1 Search Mobile] is it can …take the place of enterprise file synch and share products, because that is all your files in the background, and not to mention all your inbox (emails and attachments) and they’re right there, mobile enabled, with a policy around them. There is a lot there.”

This capability is made possible by X1’s virtual “always-on” index enabling access to your files from any device, which is the main use case for Box, Dropbox, and other EFSS tools. But with X1, you also access your emails from the same interface, with built in X1 search and an overall better user experience. And best of, this can all be accomplished through an enterprise’s existing on-premise virtual or private cloud infrastructure.

The 2015 recognition began in April, when Gartner named X1 a Cool Vendor in EndPoint Computing. According to Gartner’s report, “X1 can improve end-user experience on hosted virtual desktops by maintaining Windows and Outlook searches, which are often lost in the transition away from traditional PCs.” Platforms like VDI and DaaS hold great promise, but the user experience with VDI is often sub-optimal, thereby hindering widespread adoption. X1’s recognition by Gartner as a Cool Vendor validates our innovation in cloud and virtual environments, as well as our commitment to provide a stellar end-user experience.

And for the third award, PC Magazine published a very strong product review for X1 Search (version 8).  X1 won the desktop search category with the prestigious “PC Mag Editor’s Choice” designation. Some key takeaway quotes:

  • Basic setup for the program couldn’t be simpler
  • The program’s search capability is impressive, both for its ease of use and its sophisticated features
  • If you can take advantage of X1 Search’s ability to extend its reach to SharePoint or cloud-based email and Box, or make use of its ability to build much more sophisticated search phrases than Lookeen can handle, X1 Search is the obvious choice.

To get three major awards in one year is obviously gratifying and validates that the approach to support enterprise virtualization and mobility through a stellar search experience is a winning strategy to support our customers as they rapidly embrace the next generation desktop. We look forward to continuing to deliver an unmatched search experience across data anywhere, on any device.

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Filed under Enterprise Search, Mobile Search

Using Search to Solve the Email Overload Problem

by Barry Murphy

There was an interesting article from The Information Governance Initiative about email overload and information governance. The quote that caught my eye is “in today’s fast-paced business world, the name of the game is productivity.”  X1 Search is a tool that many are using for just that – business productivity search. But, more than that, X1 Search can complement information governance efforts and help solve the email overload problem.

The IGI article states that “IG practitioners need to take a proactive approach in order to truly understand the realities of email overload and the entire scope of their organizations’ communications.”  I believe that IG is extremely important, especially in an information economy. The challenge is that it can be hard for IG to gain real traction unless companies have a senior executive with clout, power, and money who cares about it. Whether or not that executive exists at a given organization is hit or miss at best. IG programs will take time to gain traction and help employees be more productive.

But the email overload problem continues to exist. And, it is not simply about inbox management. Rather, it is across email that is on a server, or in an archive, or in a PST file. It is easy to forget that many organizations still have PST files on desktops or have moved them out to file servers. There is a customer using X1 to solve the “PSTs on file shares” problem.  What this customer does is use X1 Rapid Discovery to index the PSTs once, and then use X1 Search as the interface to that information. Users can quickly filter through years of emails to find exactly what they are looking for and to take action on it.

This customer uses X1 to complement IG processes and policies. With Rapid Discovery, those PSTs are now easily discoverable for litigation needs, instead of the previous need to forensically image desktops to get at the information. This creates a win-win and negates the need to do expensive migration of PSTs to an archive or to the cloud. At the same time, employees can deal with the email overload problem better because they are much faster at finding the right emails to do their jobs. It is an interesting use-case whereby the customer solved several problems at once and did so in a pragmatic way. The employee happiness with the X1 Search tool is the cherry on top of the sundae because it is a lasting benefit over the long-term.

IG projects can be painful and time-consuming and, if funded properly, often go nowhere. Fitting X1 into your IG program can save time, save money, and keep employees productive at the same time. For any organization seeking a quick IG win to prove the value IG brings to the company, X1 should be on the list.

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Filed under Best Practices, Business Productivity Search, Enterprise Search, Information Governance

X1’s Microsoft Enterprise Search Strategy: Better Than Microsoft’s?

By John Patzakis

microsoftIt seems obvious to say, but Microsoft is furthering its supremacy in the enterprise. While Microsoft has always dominated with is ubiquitous OS, it is dramatically consolidating its presence in terms of data sources. Outlook is only increasing in market share with corporate Gmail largely a flop and IBM’s Lotus Notes in full retreat. SharePoint continues to spread across enterprises large and small, dominating the ECM landscape. OneDrive for business, with its tight integration with the Windows 10 OS, essentially zero cost, and built-in active directory security, looks to eventually capture the enterprise file synch and sharing space. And Office 365 combines Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive into an integrated cloud offering (but not search – more on that in a bit). Finally, Skype for Business and OneNote round out the data sources that we believe will soon constitute up to 90 percent of enterprise data relevant for business productivity. So I would argue that we are entering a new era of Microsoft dominance.

And actually, this good news for X1 users, and we believe a key reason for the resurgent high growth we are seeing here at X1. Why? Each of those mentioned Microsoft data sources are either currently supported by X1 or will be supported within 12 months’ time, and X1 provides a much better user search experience than even Microsoft does. As an example, any X1 user will tell you X1 provides a much better search of Outlook and Exchange email than Outlook itself, and the simple viewing of this SharePoint video should convince anyone that our SharePoint search experience is far superior than that of native SharePoint. The same is true of local and network documents and very soon OneDrive (September 2015), and after that Skype for Business.

But even more important than having a better search experience for individual Microsoft data sources, what X1 uniquely provides is a popular and intuitive unified interface or a “single pane of glass” from which to search all of these various data sources. To be able to search your emails, your files, your SharePoint, your OneDrive, and all the other Microsoft data sources from that single interface is extremely compelling. In fact, Microsoft itself does not really have a single pane of glass capability. You cannot effectively search your SharePoint or OneDrive from Outlook, just as you cannot search your emails, Skypes or your local documents from SharePoint.

This new era of Microsoft data source dominance presents important considerations for organizations when selecting enterprise search solutions. Many enterprise search solutions are simply not architected to effectively support this new paradigm and thus are fighting against the Microsoft current, instead of providing a unified search platform, such as X1, that augments and strengthens a company’s Microsoft strategy. To summarize, here are five key reasons X1 excels in this new Microsoft era:

  1. X1 Starts with End User’s email and files. Most enterprise search solutions address enterprise data sources on Intranets, databases, and file shares, but ignore the end users email and local documents. This is missing about 80 percent of the end user’s key business data, while focusing on the data in the margins. To be successful in this new Microsoft era, a true productivity search solution should begin with the end users’ local emails, attachments and documents and extend to SharePoint, file shares and other key enterprise sources, all in a single pane of glass.
  2. No or Minimal Data Migration. Other enterprise search tools uniformly provide web portals for employees to search for their content. This is fine for some Intranet sites and other web-based data, but is not where you want search your day-to-day emails and working documents. And when it comes to SharePoint, any suggestion that such data should be migrated out of SharePoint just so another enterprise search vendor can search it on a similar website is a non-starter. For a successful Microsoft strategy, the indexes must be on a local, physical or virtual desktop (or laptop), indexed in place, or federate to the built-in native FAST indexes. Data migration out of Microsoft data sources no longer make any sense and should be a thing of the past.
  3. X1 Supports Virtualization and Cloud. The next generation enterprise is virtual, whether cloud or on premise. With Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft data sources being able to be deployed in these and on-premise virtual environments, enterprise search, including desktop search (VDI and DaaS) platforms need to do so as well. This is a significant challenge for most enterprise search tools that are either hardware appliances or require intricate and labor intensive installation onto physical hardware.
  4. X1 provides a better search experience than Microsoft does. “Good enough” is not good enough when it comes to search. It does not make sense to invest in an enterprise search solution for business productivity search, unless there is a significant improvement in the end-users search experience for emails, files and SharePoint data. The main reason enterprise search initiatives fail is because the stakeholders do not appreciate that business productivity search is all about end-user experience. Without the end-users embracing your search platform in practice, as X1 users do, the project will fail, no matter how cool the analytics and advanced algorithms sound in theory.
  5. Unified Single Pane of Glass. Providing one single pane of glass to a business worker’s most critical information assets is key. Requiring end-users to search Outlook for email in one interface, then log into another to search SharePoint, and then another to search for document and OneDrive is a non-starter. A single interface to search for information, no matter where it lives fits the workflow that business workers require.

These are all very important factors for buyers of enterprise search solutions to consider in the new Microsoft era, and we of course believe X1 is uniquely up to the task.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search, Cloud Data, Enterprise Search, Virtualized Environment

X1 Changes the Game in Hybrid Cloud Search with Box Connector

by Barry Murphy

The Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) category is hot right now.  This is not a surprising fact.  In the research document Parting Enterprise Users From Consumer EFSS Solutions Will Be a Challenge, Gartner estimates that, “by 2018, 50% of an enterprise’s data will reside external to the data center.”  EFSS vendors provide enterprises with more structured ways to collaborate and share information both on-premise and in the cloud.  The Gartner document goes on to state that, “an off-premises public cloud implementation of EFSS can help an organization isolate data from its data center and simplify easy sharing of information assets to individuals outside the firewall and located across multiple regions.”  For these reasons, EFSS vendors like Box are growing rapidly and gaining large enterprise customers.

Obviously, if half of an enterprise’s data will reside external to the data center, then half will still live within the data center or locally on users’ machines.  No matter where data is being stored, though, the fact remains that the ability to search that data will be critically important.  Workers still demand unified access to their most important information assets, and they want a highly intuitive search experience with fast-as-you-type search results regardless of where the data lives.  In other words, users require business productivity search.  X1, with the Box connector, provides just that in a way that not only pleases users, but also gives IT a lot of flexibility.

With X1’s Box Connector, users can now add Box accounts as data sources, and search emails, files, SharePoint, and now Box content in a single-pane-of-glass.

Box screenshot

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Not only do users get a single interface in which they can search across all of their critical content, but they also get all of the benefits that simply come with X1 – fast-as-you-type search results, full-fidelity document preview, and post-search actions (PSAs).  In the case of Box content, the PSAs are valuable because they are specific to things users would normally do within Box.  For example, directly in the X1 interface, users can elect to send a document as an attachment or as a link.

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In addition, users can integrate Box more directly into their personal workflows because X1 will allow a PSA on content from other data sources (e.g. SharePoint) to Box.

This is important, as IT organizations like the flexibility that X1 provides in terms of how users can search Box content.  There is an option to index Box documents and store them in the users local index.  The content is not stored locally, but the index is, so users get immediate results.  Of course, it may not be feasible to have an index stored locally for a variety of reasons, so there is also an option for users to remotely query their Box account without the need to store each item in the local index.  IT also has fine-grained control over how indexing takes place.

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Any solution that makes both end-users and IT happy is a promising one.  In this way, X1’s hybrid cloud search capability is a game-changer. As more and more organizations systematically use EFSS vendors like Box, this federated search capability will become even more important.  And, the great news is – it’s available right now from X1.

So far, beta customers are extremely enthusiastic about the search experience that X1 provides for content in Box.  In fact, we strongly believe that no other solution provides this kind of search experience across local and Box content.  Customers tell us that they can search and filter through Box content faster than ever before.  At X1, we would respectfully challenge anyone to identify a better solution for this purpose – neither we nor our many joint X1/Box customers are currently aware of one.

We invite you to try for yourself:

X1 Search is available for sale at $49.95 per license for single users (Box connector included), with an annual support fee of $19.95. Buy now >

Silent installation of the X1 Search client and other enterprise deployment options are available for large-scale deployments. For more information about enterprise licensing and purchases, please contact info@x1.com.

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Filed under Business Productivity Search, Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, Hybrid Search, Information Access