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The volume of unstructured information residing on organisation network drives is growing exponentially.  Many are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of this content, which includes all Microsoft Office documents and a variety of other file formats. Organizations face a major challenge when trying to understand what content is where and the nature of information within that content, and often turn to File Analysis software.

File Analysis software is an emerging solution, made-up of disparate technologies, that assists organizations to understand the ever-growing volume of unstructured data, including:

  • File shares
  • Email databases
  • Enterprise file synch and share (EFSS)
  • Records management, enterprise content management (ECM) systems and Microsoft SharePoint
  • Data archives

There are many vendors that supply this type of software, each with slightly different functionality.  The leading players claim that file analysis software can help your organisation determine what information you have, whether it’s valuable, where it belongs, and what you should do with it.

Gartner provides the following definition: “File Analysis software enables data architects, legal and security professionals, storage managers and business analysts to understand and manage unstructured data stores, reduce risk and costs, and make better information management decisions for unstructured data”.

A broader Market description describes File Analysis tools as products that analyse, index, search, track and report on file metadata and file content, enabling actions to be taken according to what is identified.

These tools can be used to support overall retention policy initiatives and can support the process of moving information based on business-driven rules to appropriate content repositories where information governance policies can be applied.

On completion of the analysis, tools typically provide metadata and contextual information to enable better information governance and organisational efficiency for unstructured information management.

By leveraging file analysis capabilities organisations can:

  • Understand the nature, location, and value of their unstructured content
  • Classify large volumes of documents
  • Meet compliance regulations
  • Identify and protect sensitive data
  • Reduce storage costs through de-duplication
  • …and much more
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