Email and file archiving vendor Zantaz Inc. announced yesterday that it has purchased its data classification and email policy management partner, the privately held Singlecast, for an undisclosed amount.
Zantaz, which offers onsite and outsourced email and file archiving software and services, said Singlecast's software would first be added to its email archiving products, but that it intends to eventually add the intellectual property to its file archiving and SharePoint archiving products as well.
The difference between Singlecast's software and products from other data classification vendors, like Kazeon Inc. and Scentric Corp., is that Singlecast can classify files and apply user policies, both after the data is created or received (post review) and automatically at the point it is created or received (prereview).
"When a message is in transit, and if it triggers [a policy], Zantaz can apply a workflow that instructs the server to conduct an action on its behalf," Reny said. These actions include inserting a classification as a tag in the message X-header (archival products look at and use this tag), block the message, mark the message with disclaimers or warnings, reroute the message or blind carbon copy an individual in the organization.
Of the most interest to storage users is the fact that the prereview process can, at least theoretically, help curb the growth of email storage archives by preventing certain messages from ever being stored.
"For example, customer X could create a policy that states that if a user emails a file over 2 MB to more than two users, [the Singlecast software should] block the message and notify the user to post it … where it is not subject to long-term retention policies," Reny said. "In a large organization, this could have significant long-term storage savings."
"Data classification vendors, like Kazeon and Scentric, do [classification] 'after the fact,' " said Brian Babineau, analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "This product can work like a spam filter and can apply policies before the email is ever committed to the messaging server."
Users can also choose to apply policies to the messages after they are received by the messaging server, if that is their preferences. Multiple policies can be applied to messages at once, and each policy can be removed without affecting the others.
"For example, if you have five lawsuits all involving the same person, and one is dropped, you can remove that one litigation hold without affecting the other four," Reny said.
Finally, users can also set policies that prevent emails that are not in compliance with regulations or company policies from being sent, according to certain flagged keywords or communication between certain groups of people. "The whole idea," according to Reny, "is to stop something bad before it happens."
According to Babineau, Singlecast has two competitors with similar capabilities, Orchestria Corp. and MessageGate Inc., each of which has a partnership with Symantec Corp. Orchestria, the biggest of the three companies, also has a partnership with IBM, and MessageGate recently announced a new partnership with email archiver AXS-One Inc. Such products are not necessarily mutually exclusive to indexing and classification products like Kazeon's, Babineau said. Singlecast can export its classification information to Kazeon's repository.
Meanwhile, according to Babineau, users should be on the lookout for more mergers of Singlecast's competitors with their email archiving dance partners over the next 18 months.
"I think it comes down to convenience for the user," Babineau said. "It will be easier for users to get classification and email from one vendor, and this acquisition could act as an 'earthquake,' setting off more consolidation in this space."