Category Archives: Information Management

As Desktop-as-a-Service Gains Traction, Do Not Overlook Productivity Search

by Barry Murphy

Oftentimes, federal government agency IT departments are technology early adopters because of mandates to cut costs and increase efficiencies and business agility. It is not surprising, then, to see FCW.com pointing out that agencies are embracing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Benefits of VDI include simpler and more automated systems administration, better control over security (always a big factor for government agencies), and lower costs for client-side support. Those “hard” benefits are only part of the story – VDI also enables worker mobility (especially important to the Department of Energy) and helps enable more “green IT.” Because VDI provides a zero client environment, it can reduce the required power consumption per desktop, thereby reducing the environmental impact of the agency’s IT systems. This is perhaps more of a soft benefit, but a necessary one nonetheless.

As the FCW article states, there are now two options for deploying VDI: on-premise and through the Cloud, as Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS). There are good market options in both directions, with on-premise providers like Citrix and VMWare, and DaaS providers such as Amazon (with its Workspaces offering) and the aforementioned VMWare (with its Horizon offering). Whichever direction an organization chooses for its VDI, it is critical to remember that business worker adoption and acceptance is the key to ROI. In my experience, one thing that scares business workers when moving to VDI is the potential loss of easy access to their information assets. With VDI, it is a best practice to turn off Windows indexing, and that can leave a business worker without the ability to search for his or her information.

DaaS

With VDI in the Cloud, the DaaS provider will want to manage virtual computing resources diligently – also meaning that desktop indexing will likely be turned off. And with government agencies increasingly storing information in the Cloud, it can make search of that data a challenge. There is an opportunity to ensure a better business worker transition in these environments – build in productivity search requirements up front. Business worker access to information is an important component of easing any kind of end-user angst when transitioning to a new desktop environment. Providing these workers with unified access to common information like email, files, and SharePoint will help with change management and user acceptance. And it is important to stress again – without the end-users, there is no ROI on these VDI projects. Therefore, the upfront productivity search requirements should include a search solution that supports VDI environments and that is deployable in the Cloud, like X1 Rapid Discovery.

The move is on to VDI in the federal government, and industries like financial services and professional services are also in the midst of VDI roll-outs. These early adopters will set the trend of many industries. If the early adopters require excellent business worker productivity search experiences, acceptance of these new technologies will be much smoother and more successful. And that is good for everyone – VDI vendors and customers.

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Filed under Best Practices, Cloud Data, Corporations, Desktop Search, Enterprise Search, IaaS, Information Access, Information Management, Records Management, Virtualized Environment

Federal Government Agencies Face Information Management Challenges, Too

by Barry Murphy

Many moons ago, one of my first projects as an analyst with Forrester Research was to find the answer to a seemingly simple question: what is the industry standard for storing new types of electronic information such as X-rays and other images?  The client was a government agency that needed to store these records long-term and anticipated potentially needing to produce them in court many years in the future.  fed image 2As such, the agency needed to know how to store and find these records.  The answer proved to be anything but simple – in reality, the answer was that there was no “standard” for storing this new type of content.  My investigation into the topic led me to find this new market called eDiscovery and the rest is history.

The experience was interesting because it was my first foray into working with the Federal government.  I went into the experience with the assumption that Federal agencies would somehow be more advanced in their information management efforts.  Records management, after all, was (and still is) very important in government.  But, government agencies are just like other organizations – struggling to keep up with exploding volumes of digital information, under the gun to respond to information requests (whether it is in response to Congressional inquiries, regulatory requests, or litigation), and dealing with the needs for more modern IT infrastructure elements like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

The only difference between government agencies and other organizations is that agencies may be under even more stringent rules for complying with investigations and for dealing with digital information management.  President Obama’s Managing Government Records directive mandates that agencies manage electronic information as stringently as paper records have traditionally been managed.  Agencies are under even more of a microscope than corporations, yet face the same information management challenges.  Information assets are scattered across email, file systems, disparate SharePoint sites, and Cloud-based repositories.  In addition, some agencies adopt newer IT infrastructure elements such as virtualization and cloud computing to stay relevant.  For example, the Department of Energy deployed a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in order to enable worker mobility (Source: Zurier, Steve. Agencies Deploy VDI with an Eye Toward BYOD. Fed Tech Magazine, March 18, 2013). VDI allows agencies to implement initiatives like BYOD while maintaining top-notch security.

Keeping up with modern IT infrastructure, while simultaneously responding to thousands of information requests each year – whether it is in response to Congressional inquiries, regulatory requests, or litigation – is a challenge.  Before assuming that government agencies have the process under control, consider this: according to Deloitte’s Seventh Annual Benchmarking Study of Electronic Discovery Practices for Government Agencies, only 59% of respondents believed their agencies were effective in deploying eDiscovery capabilities compared to 73% in the previous year (Source: Deloitte’s Seventh Annual Benchmarking Study of Electronic Discovery Practices for Government Agencies, Spring 2013).

Why the drop in confidence?  Part of the reason is that traditional search and eDiscovery products fail to effectively support agencies’ IT environments in a way that creates a true solution.  Rather, traditional products have agencies creating centralized eDiscovery labs that require copying information from various systems to a central eDiscovery location.  This is both time-consuming and expensive.  To learn how to address information management challenges in federal agencies, click here to download a whitepaper that outlines the critical problem, its legal compliance implications, and compelling solutions that help agencies develop built-in search and eDiscovery capabilities that reduce costs and improve operational productivity.

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Filed under Information Management, Records Management

Barry Murphy Joins the X1 Team

Last week, I said goodbye to my time at the eDJ Group, a company in good hands that will continue to provide top notch eDiscovery and information governance consulting at a level of depth very few can match.   This week begins my new adventure as Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy at X1, and I am very excited about the opportunity.

Many have asked why I chose to join X1 and I want to take this space today to explain the reasons.  As an analyst for the past four years, I have had the chance to see – up close and personal – the challenges that enterprise IT and business people are trying to address.  One that comes up consistently is the ability to quickly find information in a world where the volume of it is increasing so rapidly.  While search might seem relatively simple, I can tell you that many clients pull their hairs out due to frustration with enterprise search deployments.

Thus, the first thing that hit me about X1 was the number of X1 customers whose top point to make about that product is that “it just works.”  Business people like the ease of use and clean, single-pane-of glass view of their information, Legal teams like how X1 Rapid Discovery makes eDiscovery more efficient and less costly, and IT teams like that the product can be deployed in increasingly virtualized environments.

Part of the attraction to X1, for me, is the fact that the company can address such a range of solutions via a powerful search engine.  It is not just about eDiscovery, though there is a product for that.  Rather, X1 will power many solutions by providing easy access to information – and the company does it in a way that just works.  It makes me think back to those old BASF commercials – the ones where BASF says, “we don’t make the products you buy, we make the products you buy better.”  I get a feeling that same message can apply at X1; something along the lines of “we don’t make the cloud infrastructure, we make the cloud infrastructure better and more valuable.”

Stay tuned for more details on how X1 will make other solutions better and continue to provide great search products in 2014.  I’m looking forward to this adventure.

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Filed under eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery, Information Access, Information Governance, Information Management

Highlights from Amazon’s Cloud eDiscovery and Search Webinar

Recently, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted a first of its kind webinar by a major cloud provider addressing the topics of eDiscovery and enterprise search. The webinar showcased solutions that allow organizations to quickly search, identify and act upon distributed data, whether it resides within the enterprise or within the AWS cloud. Vikram Garlapati, an Amazon Web Service Solutions Architect, lead off the discussion.

LTech CIO Eric Klotzko also presented. LTech is a cloud systems integrator and AWS partner supporting implementations of next-generation enterprise search and eDiscovery solutions that install and operate in virtual environments.Amazon Web Services2

Here are some of key highlights and takeaways:

Vikram Garlapati outlined the key benefits of the cloud, including the provisioning of resources on demand as needed as opposed to incurring large capital outlays that must meet organizations’ estimated requirements over a multi-year period. This applies to enterprise software as well, where cloud-enabled eDiscovery software can be provisioned on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis as needed.
The webinar featured a discussion featuring a compare and contrast between AWS’s Cloud Search and X1 Rapid Discovery. The presenters described AWS Cloud Search as a SaaS search engine geared toward the search of websites and static databases. Cloud Search is a solution popular with many developers in specific use cases. X1 Rapid Discovery operates in both a SaaS or IaaS (within the customers cloud instance) environment with an extensive feature set and an intuitive user interface. Vikram Garlapati stated that X1 supports “more of an enterprise scenario.”
Eric Klotzo underscored the limitations of traditional enterprise search solutions that are hardware appliance-based or require an extensive manual on-site install process, thereby rendering such solutions as non-starters for deploying into and operating within virtualized cloud deployments.
Eric also emphasized the importance of supporting hybrid cloud deployments as most cloud adoption involves an often long transitory period: “X1 can install into both the cloud and traditional on-premise locations, providing consolidated access to your data from a single pane of glass, which is very compelling.”

A recording of the AWS webinar is available here >

 

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Filed under Cloud Data, eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery, IaaS, Information Management, Preservation & Collection, Uncategorized, Virtualized Environment

SharePoint eDiscovery: Ten Times the Cost

Sharepoint no colorOur recent webinar on SharePoint eDiscovery challenges with eDiscovery Journals’ Greg Buckles featured a substantive and detailed discussion on the nuances, pitfalls and opportunities associated with eDiscovery of data from SharePoint sites. This topic is very timely as the majority of enterprises are deploying the Microsoft platform at an accelerated rate, with the solution reaching $1 billion in sales faster than any other Microsoft product in history. As SharePoint enables enterprises to consolidate file shares, Intranet sites, internal message boards and wikis, project management, collaboration and more into a single platform, it provides significant operational efficiencies as well as eDiscovery challenges. The vast majority of current SharePoint deployments are versions 2007 or 2010, and neither have meaningful internal eDiscovery or even export features.

Greg Buckles is a well-known eDiscovery expert with a strong command of technical issues concerning data collection from SharePoint sites. In his presentation, he addressed the particular challenge of preserving data from SharePoint in a targeted matter and in context. According to Buckles, current eDiscovery practices involve mass raw data exports from the platform, instead of a preferable practice of review and early case assessment in place to enable a far more efficient and targeted collection of only potentially relevant information. Bulk exports from SharePoint contain a mass of unstructured data that is out of context with no easy way to associate files, document lists, metadata fields and the many other native data types and fields. As a result, the data must be sorted out on the back-end in time-consuming and highly manual eDiscovery processing and review efforts.  Buckles reports that he routinely sees tenfold increases eDiscovery processing and review costs because of these challenges.

A full video recording of the webinar can be accessed here.

Another key SharePoint eDiscovery challenge involves its deployment architecture. By their nature, typical SharePoint deployments are de-centralized as the solution is geared toward supporting individual departments and “teams” as opposed to forcing data centralization to a single and large data center. Appliance-based eDiscovery solutions or remote collections do not work as it may take weeks if not months to copy a multi-terabyte SharePoint site over a network connection and a large corporation may have several dozens of SharePoint silos to collect from.  Manual collection efforts, which are geared toward mass “data dumps,” are as mentioned very costly and inefficient.

Instead, what is needed is a solution such as X1 Rapid Discovery can quickly and remotely install and operate within the same local network domain to enable localized search, review and early case assessment in place. X1 Rapid Discovery’s full content indexing and preview of native SharePoint document libraries and lists, as well as it robust search, document filters, intuitive review interface, uniquely enables targeted and contextual search, preservation and export of SharePoint evidence in its native format. In fact we believe it is the only solution available that enables true in-place early case assessment and eDiscovery review of SharePoint sites, including iterative search, tagging and full fidelity preview in place, without the requirement to first export all of the data out of the Platform.

To learn more, sign on to the recorded webinar or please contact us at info@x1discovery.com for a further briefing to learn how to save your organization or your clients tens of thousands of dollars on litigation costs associated with SharePoint.

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Filed under Best Practices, eDiscovery & Compliance, Enterprise eDiscovery, Information Management