Email Archiving Moves from Server Room to Court Room to Board Room

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Wikibon members Co-founder David Vellante and Michael McCreary of Pfizer present research results at Storage Networking World in Dallas on October 15, 2007.

Wikibon, the open source community for unbiased IT research, advisory and best practices is releasing a summary of today's presentation at Storage Networking World in Dallas. On October 15, Wikibon members David Vellante, Co-founder of The Wikibon Project and Michael McCreary, Senior Director Legal IT at Pfizer will present Unstructured Content Management: From Server Room to Court Room to Board Room.

The team will argue that an explosion in unstructured content, the flattening of the globe and legal liabilities are causing a crisis in corporate America whereby information is becoming not only an asset but a liability to organizations. Pressures from regulatory agencies, privacy concerns, litigation and lack of information security have exposed corporations to billions of dollars of risk that urgently needs the attention of CIO's and their business counterparts.

According to Vellante and McCreary, "Once relegated to an IT-only concern, initiatives like email archiving and content management are moving front and center in organizations today." The co-presenters will posit that high profile court cases and huge product liabilities have prompted CEO's and Boards of Directors to mandate the formation of cross-functional teams to address this problem with a sense of urgency.

Key aspects of the Wikibon team's research include the following findings:

  • The amount of unstructured content is growing between 70 - 100% or more at organizations outpacing the 10% growth of structured information;
  • The nature of unstructured content, its lack of metadata and propensity to be distributed outside of organizations present huge liabilities for organizations which vary by industry, the risk profile of the business and the value of information to the firm;
  • The legal community has discovered that emails are particularly vulnerable containing smoking guns that can be used to accuse corporations of wrongdoing;

Wikibon case studies show that highly regulated industries such as financial services are addressing this problem more quickly than non-regulated businesses, many of which remain dangerously exposed;

While many organizations are attacking this issue by implementing email archiving and automating information policies, this very automation is constricting users' ability to flexibly respond to business opportunities and is negatively impacting value;

The answer to this challenge is to holistically view unstructured information and the risks it presents and begin to develop records management policies that include auto-classification of information to proactively mitigate risk and reduce value contstraints;

Vellante and McCreary plan to lay out a vision of information management where information knowledge is moved from the applications to data objects using a virtual object model that is DRM-like in nature whereby data is self-describing, self-policing, self-securing and self-destructing. The pair plan to close the presentation with actions for IT in general and storage administration in particular that involve:

  • Initially focusing on risk abatement and keeping that goal simple and straightforward;
  • Organizing cross-functional teams from IT, legal, records management, audit compliance and the business to lay out a five-year vision of information management;
  • Approaches to begin to auto-classify information;

The session will take place at Storage Networking World at 1PM in the Information Management Track at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel.

About The Wikibon Project
Wikibon is a worldwide community of practitioners, consultants, and researchers dedicated to improving the adoption of technology and business systems through an open source sharing of free advisory knowledge. The community uses a wiki to capture, manage, and distribute world-class, "how-to" storage knowledge. Founded by executives from market research firms like META Group (now Gartner) and IDC and launched in February, 2007, Wikibon's research is fully available for anyone to use and edit. All content is vetted by peers and 'super-peers' within the Wikibon community.

David Vellante, Co-founder


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