As the volume of corporate data continues its exponential rise, enterprises are faced with the daunting task of continually upgrading and expanding their storage infrastructures.
But is more storage really the answer?
Index Engines, a privately held firm based in New Jersey, argues that it is not, and as such it partners with enterprises to implement a policy-based data-management framework that can help eliminate "legacy data."
"Adding additional storage to keep up with this growth has been the standard response to this challenge," said Jim McGann, vice president of information discovery at Index Engines. "[C]orporate compliance and legal teams are rebelling against this trend. They understand that keeping a copy of all user data and email forever is no longer a viable option."
McGann cited an estimate from the market research firm Gartner that user data is soaring by 80 percent each year, but because of a variety of risk factors, such as lawsuits and regulatory oversight, "legacy user data has become a liability."
"As organizations develop policies to protect themselves from liability and risk, they must then execute them against their large enterprise storage environments," McGann said. "Index Engines is architected to implement these policies against hundreds of terabytes -- even petabytes -- of user content."
The company's discovery platform offers a holistic view of online and offline data assets, and it indexes online data in concert with native support for the applicable enterprise storage protocols.
Legacy data is often found in offsite storage vaults in the form of old backup tapes. Residing on those tapes are snapshots of corporate networks that Index Engines' Octane product can access and manage independent of the original backup software. This frequently results in the remediation of 90 percent of the data in accordance with the policies the company has developed with its customers.
Index Engines' aggressive approach to data management and what it calls "defensible deletion" can be a tough sell for enterprises with legal and IT departments that have a long tradition of complete retention.
"Many organizations have lived with a policy of 'save everything,'" McGann said. "Transitioning from this environment to one where only relevant data is archived, and useless data purged is challenging. This process requires IT organizations to work hand in hand with legal and compliance teams to update and implement information management strategies."
To help bolster its case, Index Engines has enlisted the services of compliance and legal advisory firms that can help clients develop new information-governance policies and guide them through their implementation. The firm has also released data-mapping technology that organizations can use to get a holistic view of their data assets that can inform the new management and deletion policies.
Index Engines' Octane portfolio includes individual products to address archiving, network data, backup tapes and other specific storage challenges.
The company partners with service providers that work directly with clients to manage their data centers and control costs. It also maintains its own direct-to-customer business.
Looking ahead, Index Engines is planning to introduce new analytical functions to help legal and compliance teams sift through a company's storage environment to automate the processing and review of information related to litigation. Additionally, Index Engines is planning to improve its archiving technology to enhance and streamline policy management and long-term preservation of files and email.
Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects for more than four years, most recently as the Washington correspondent for InternetNews.com, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn here