Clearwell E-Mail Platform Eases Compliance

The company's Email Intelligence Platform works with businesses' e-mail systems to identify violations of regulatory or corporate policies.

Clearwell Systems is introducing its Email Intelligence Platform on Jan. 23, providing corporate e-mail systems with an e-mail analysis layer that rests on top of e-mail storage and is capable of tying into files, e-mail archive software and file servers to positively identify violations of regulatory or corporate policies.

By examining the unique properties of e-mail—for example, sifting across attachments, distribution threads and timestamp properties—the new Clearwell Email Intelligence appliance allows customers to streamline e-mail search techniques and bolster compliance without adding extra manual labor costs, said Aaref Hilaly, president and CEO of Clearwell. The combination software and hardware product can extract from e-mail specific patterns to help speed accurate discovery and recovery processes.

The Clearwell Email Intelligence Platform only supports Microsoft Exchange deployments. However, Hilaly said that a Lotus Notes version of the appliance is on the companys road map. The price of the box is decided according to data analyzed by the system, be it by the gigabyte or by the terabyte of storage capacity.

Once the Email Intelligence Platform is installed inside a data center, it first goes out and crawls an organizations Microsoft Active Directory repository to create an organizational map of whos who inside a company. Its next step is to crawl all existing corporate e-mail systems, information stores, archives, and Exchange Servers to create a central index from which to work. Once Clearwell algorithms are applied to e-mail to pull intelligence from a wide variety of relevant content, customers can see the exposed information via personalized dashboards featuring an aggregation of relevant topics, discussion threads and workflow methodology.

According to the 2004 Socha-Gelbamnn Electronic Discovery Survey, the cost of responding to a regulatory audit can reach $250,000, with projected e-mail discovery costs in the United States expected to reach $1.8 billion in 2006.

"There is tremendous interest in e-mail and what it will tell you when it comes to an information request because that is todays statement of record. No one writes memos and tucks them away in a desk anymore. Today it starts and ends with e-mail," Hilaly said.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about how one construction company automated the process of storing e-mail.

John Petruzzi, director of enterprise security for Baltimore, Md.-based Constellation Energy, said that in 2005 his group spent 45,000 hours responding to 225 different information requests from the Federal Energy Commission to various other sources. Since Constellation Energy is a publicly traded company owning three nuclear power plants with a hand in natural gas, generating electricity and global coal shipments, Petruzzi is no stranger to regulatory scrutiny and mushrooming volumes of data requests.

"Quite honestly the company is booming in the last few years. We have tons of different regulations impacting us. You have HR-related issues to how people are using your system all the way to compliance …. And it goes beyond e-mail to data retention," Petruzzi said.

"I need to have some good numbers behind any [new technology] decision I need to make as I go into financial folks who understand return on investment. By having the Clearwell product in house, it will not take years to get that return," he added.

By dealing with various levels of sensitive data, Petruzzi said in many ways his organization is similar to a banking environment where employees are "not quite frankly allowed to talk to one another." For example, one employee set may be controlling an energy grid while another controls the sale of power in another market. That area in particular is examined by auditors who request to see if there was any type of communication between two such parties. Providing that data to auditors on manpower alone is an arduous process, he said.

"You could be talking about hundreds of people and terabytes of data to sift through. Quite honestly before Clearwell came about this was a very tedious and manual process, with less than intelligent keyword capabilities out there. E-mail is a big part of that process," Petruzzi said.

Petruzzi turned to Clearwell despite running Hewlett-Packards RISS (Reference Information Storage System) product. He said although RISS did feature quality search capabilities, the product was not granular enough to compensate for comprehensive e-mail data requests such as associated attachments and threads.

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