SealedMedia Updates Enterprise DRM Tools

By Matt Hines  |  Posted 2006-04-10

SealedMedia Updates Enterprise DRM Tools

SealedMedia introduced its latest enterprise digital rights management software package, promising simplified ease-of-use and improved ability to track and protect the flow of information throughout businesses.

The eDRM software provider is pitching the SealedMedia Version 5.0 revamp of its applications as far easier to install and manage than both earlier iterations and rivals products, allowing companies to better apply information distribution policies to their data.

The product also claims the ability for users to conduct detailed audits of their data access and distribution records to comply with federal regulations.

Along with an updated portal interface which allows for expanded remote administration of the tools, SealedMedia claims to have greatly reduced the process of integrating the system with other technologies.

Via partnerships with Adobe, Microsoft, and IBMs Lotus unit—companies that all have products promising to deliver some of the same capabilities as SealedMedia—the firm said it has been able to reduce the amount of time needed to introduce its package into enterprise messaging architectures.

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SealedMedia is also promising more targeted tools for addressing compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, including the ability to segregate employee data access policies based on workers specific job responsibilities.

Other upgrades include the ability to support company-wide administration of data policies across multiple software platforms.

Enterprise DRM is one of the many approaches being promoted by various technology vendors as a way for companies to better handle how their workers share and interact with important data, for reasons ranging from compliance to information security.

SealedMedia is one of a few independent software makers looking to address the problem, along with a slew of other companies, such as enterprise content management specialists to network security applications vendors, that are attempting to build such tools into their existing products.

Having the ability to work independently across those companies products is what gives SealedMedia an advantage, said George Everhart, SealedMedias CEO.

"One of the biggest challenges facing the enterprise in how they manage all the different types of data they have is, how to do so with something across their applications in a common way, with common policies," said Everhart.

"Corporations dont want to have to make decisions about how they manage content policies based on what version of some type of software program they have; they want to do so uniformly."

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Can SealedMedia Compete with

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While many types of technology vendors are telling customers that they can offer businesses the ability to enforce policies and index information about how data is accessed and shared, Everhart contends that having a separate technology onboard to do that work makes more sense.

As evidence, he points to his companys larger installations with customers including Telecom Italia, which licenses SealedMedia for 90,000 workers, and the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense.

Also being introduced is SealedMedia Express, the companys new line of packaged eDRM tools for use on specific types of business projects. The first of the bundles is aimed directly at companies going through the mergers and acquisitions process.

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Rather than forcing business directors to meet in carefully-guarded rooms to view sensitive documents about each other during the M&A courting process, the package allows companies to share more information electronically, while placing strict controls over the manner in which data can be viewed or distributed.

Rhodia, a Paris-based specialty chemicals company, began using SealedMedias eDRM tools in mid-2004 to help share information with its partners and with companies it was looking to acquire.

While the firm already used enterprise content management specialist Documentums eRoom software for such communications, company officials said they added SealedMedia to increase security and tracking capabilities.

"People working in M&A really appreciate this tool because the security is real, the use of the tool is easy and they can be confident with the confidentiality of the documents they want to share," said Christophe Monch, collaboration service manager for Rhodia.

"Bidders like this process because they can see documents without traveling too much, and because they can work at the pace they want."

Industry analysts said that SealedMedias technology is viable, based on its ability to be applied at either the software platform kernel or applications level, but observed that the company may have trouble competing with its larger rivals, namely Adobe, EMC and Microsoft, as those companies begin to focus more on eDRM-like technologies.

Bill Rosenblatt, a consultant with New York-based Giant Steps Media Technology Strategies, said that SealedMedia clearly has enterprise grade technology, but observed that the vendor will need to make a lot of noise to ward off the larger companies.

As a result, he said that the company, and a well-funded new rival Liquid Machines, will likely become acquisition targets themselves.

"Id predict eDRM as a big growth market, but the primary hurdle is customer education, as many potential customers dont really know much about it and theres no specific targeted role in a company who would buy this type of thing," Rosenblatt said.

"The arrival of Microsoft and EMC in the space is evidence of the opportunity, nailing down the customer remains the tough part."

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