Autonomy Zantaz has launched Desktop Legal Hold, a product which enforces legal compliance on files across networked desktops and laptops.

When an organisation is subject to a legal discovery request it has to produce all electronically-stored information pertinent to that request. US courts have taken a hard line with organisations unable to comply, whether maliciously or inadvertently.

A problem is that electronically discoverable data (EDD) can be stored on datacentre systems, distributed but constantly networked PCs and sporadically networked laptop computers. The information can be in multiple formats and hard to find.

Autonomy Zantaz has produced IDOL, its Intelligent Data Operating Layer software which resides on central and distributed systems.

When an electronic discovery request arrives the IDOL software can be instructed to search the organisation's entire set of electronic file systems to find pertinent files through:

- Keyword search,
- Boolean logic rules
- metadata search, and
- conceptual search.

Remote systems respond to central search requests by interrogating the local storage media. The Desktop Legal Hold product:

- Monitors all information that comes across the screen or is stored on the hard drive including PDFs, emails, and instant messages (without the need for a network connection) and, once alerted, locks it down in place preserving data so that it can’t be deleted or changed,
- Collects all data from the filesystem and files including versioning, hidden changes, recycle bin contents, and deleted items, and retrieves information from the “empty” space on hard drives,
- Automatically overcomes spoliation, obfuscation, mis-classification and non-classification of important data by intentional or unintentional acts,
- Includes technology for remote forensics, data loss prevention, and original file preservation at the sector level,
- Automatically integrates with market leading EDD, review and production products.

Once a disconnected desktop or laptop system reconnects to the network, identified files are uploaded to a central archive.

Mike Lynch, the CEO of Autonomy, which acquired Zantaz earlier this year, said: "Laptops have become the Achilles’ heel of businesses today when it comes to electronic discovery. We are the only company to take a holistic view of the market by offering the full set of solutions for use by both IT and Legal departments across the entire Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM),” he claimed.

FRCP refers to the US federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The company says that the cost of external discovery services on the one hand, and potential court penalties for non-compliance with discovery procedures on the other, more than covers the cost of the software.

Desktop Legal Hold is available now. The price is around £10 per desktop.