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Zantaz upgrades data retrieval

In the latest storage industry move to help companies comply with regulations, e-mail archiving company Zantaz announces tools for better data retrieval.

In the latest storage industry move to help companies comply with regulations, e-mail archiving company Zantaz announces tools for better data retrieval.

On Monday Zantaz unveiled Audit Center, a set of tools designed to let companies perform large, complex searches of information archived using Zantaz's Digital Safe service. That service keeps company e-mails, instant messages and documents on computer systems owned and managed by Pleasanton, Calif.-based Zantaz.

"Due to the explosive growth in requests for e-mail in regulatory investigations and as evidence in litigation, the ability to quickly and cost-effectively produce requested e-mail is extremely challenging for most firms," Zantaz CEO Steve King said in a statement.

Currently, users of the Digital Safe service can search for e-mails over a Web browser using criteria such as a date or a company name. Audit Center offers more advanced search methods, such as "fuzzy logic," to find words with similar spellings to a search request, and a "proximity" feature, where users can look for words that appear within a certain distance from each other, Zantaz said. Users also can employ Boolean logic operators such as "or" in their search requests.

Other features of Audit Center include an unlimited number of search results and the ability to conduct multiple searches at the same time, Zantaz said.

Doug Chandler, an analyst with research firm IDC, said the Audit Center product should appeal to companies in highly litigious industries and those that are subject to regulations. But he said Zantaz faces competition from records-management company Iron Mountain, which also offers e-mail archiving. In addition, some businesses will choose to handle e-mail archiving within the computer systems they manage on-site, Chandler suggested. "There are undoubtedly companies that don't want to outsource," he said. "Maybe the data can't leave the premises."

The need to comply with a number of relatively new government rules is expected to spark a great deal of tech spending. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which sets new privacy rules for medical records kept in digital files, is expected to result in IT spending ranging from $1 billion to $17 billion.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires sweeping corporate disclosure and financial reporting reform, also could be a gold mine for tech companies. According to AMR Research, companies will spend up to $2.5 billion to comply with the law by the end of this year.

Tech players seeking a piece of the compliance pie include storage company EMC, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

Zantaz said its e-mail archiving technology is being used by IBM in a compliance initiative Big Blue launched recently.

Without the automated approach possible with Audit Center, companies might rely on a professional services organization to handle complex information requests, said David Greene, a director of product marketing at Zantaz. The process would involve reviewing backup tapes, printing out many e-mails and paying paralegals to scour them for relevant information. "People are still doing it today," Greene said. "It costs millions of dollars."

Zantaz has its own professional services unit that uses technology from Audit Center to perform searches on behalf of customers. The new Audit Center product makes the technology available to Zantaz customers at their own desktops, the company said.

The volume of e-mail used in the workplace is growing quickly. In a study this year, research firm The Radicati Group found that the average corporate e-mail user sends or receives about 9.6MB of e-mail data daily, up from 5MB last year. The study predicts the figure will climb to 46MB daily by 2005.

Zantaz also has been growing quickly. The privately held company has averaged more than 400 percent annual revenue growth since 1996, Greene said.