Disappearing Inc. changes name, adds focus on enterprise

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Disappearing, Inc. has been making old emails disappear since last fall. Now it has made the name Disappearing, Inc. disappear as well.

The company has changed its name to Omniva Policy Systems to coincide with the release of Policy Manager 3.0, its first product intended for enterprise use. The company's original Disappearing Email product focused more on individual users, says John Dawes, vice president of product marketing for the San Francisco-based firm.

Omniva doesn't actually make email disappear at all. Rather, it encrypts messages using the 128-bit Blowfish algorithm, ships them out in HTML format and gives users control over the keys that decrypt them. When the message is received, the HTML is rendered and a call is made to an Omniva server to fetch the key that decrypts the message. The sender dictates how long that key will be made available. Once that period expires, the key is destroyed and the message - no matter where it may reside - can't be read.

The product works with Microsoft Outlook, and Dawes says the company is working on a Notes version.

Policy Manager 3.0 provides tools that let enterprises devise policies governing the lifespan of corporate emails and ensure that the policies are followed.

The first such tool is Omniva Policy Studio, which allows administrators to set policies by individual, by group, or by company. Polices can also be configured to apply to all messages, so users don't have to take any extra steps. Users can override the policy for specific emails as needed.

"We enable people to effectively use this for the bulk of their messages and not interfere with the way they use email," Dawes says.

Another tool, Omniva Policy Monitor, tracks how often the policies are being applied, enabling managers to identify individuals, for example, who routinely override policies. It can also be used to halt the expiration of messages, such as to comply with pending litigation.

Fear of litigation is one of the big drivers behind implementing Policy Manager, Dawes says, since "Email is one of the first things to get subpoenaed." It costs $5,000 to $6,000 per PC to perform email discovery in such cases, according to figures from Price Waterhouse Coopers. But if a company can show it has email policies in place that effectively delete all email after, say, 30 days, that will dramatically reduce the amount of data available for discovery and, hence, the discovery cost.

Another new feature with Policy Manager 3.0 is a gateway that enables messages to be read on wireless Blackberry devices - which don't support HTML. The gateway renders the HTML messages on behalf of the device, gets the key, decrypts the message and sends it along to the Blackberry.

Pricing for Policy Manager 3.0 starts at $75,000 per year for 1,000 users.


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