Start-up nexTier Networks has officially launched its data-leak prevention (DLP) appliance that can monitor and block unauthorised and sensitive content in transmission.

The nexTier product, called Information Search and Security, includes a method the company calls "Semantic DNA Vector" for crawling through enterprise-stored file documents and determining their meaning. According to nexTier founder and CEO Tarique Mustafa, "it can extract the meaning of content. If you had a mergers and acquisitions document, for instance, it has the intelligence to figure that out."

That analysed content becomes the basis for monitoring the transmission of sensitive content. Mustafa says this methodology distinguishes the Information Search and Security appliance from other DLP offerings, which he claims are less automated and more manual.

The nexTier appliance, which supports up to 4Gbit/s, is expected to ship next month. Pricing starts at $50,000 (£25,184).

NexTier's technology has roots in artificial-intelligence research Mustafa did as a graduate student at University of Southern California. Mustafa also founded Network Utilities, served as principal architect at Nevis Networks, and held technical positions at Symantec, DHL Airways and MCI WorldCom.

The Santa Clara, California-based start-up, founded in May 2007, has received $2 million in funding from Ecosystems Ventures and Archimedes Capital, and has 20 employees.

In addition to the DLP appliance, nexTier plans to work on hosted software agents for endpoints and servers to expand its DLP offerings in the future.