Vontu, whose product line is designed to prevent leakage of sensitive data by monitoring corporate networks, says it’s now developing software that will look into corporate desktops and servers to find inappropriately stored data.

The software, called Discover, is scheduled to ship next quarter as part of the Vontu 5.0 suite. It will use “crawling” technology to go into targeted file servers and personal computers to look for confidential data that shouldn’t be there, says Steve Roop, vice-president of marketing. Industry analysts say such searching capabilities are new to the nascent data-leakage prevention market, as IDC dubs it, but are already being used in corporate content-management systems.

Vontu’s direct data-monitoring competitors, including Tablus, PortAuthority Technologies and Reconnex, don’t have products that crawl into servers and desktops, but there are parallels to products from StoredIQ and BlackBall, says Scott Crawford, senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates, in Boulder, Colo.

“There are products that crawl into computers for legitimate reasons to find data for purposes of policy control,” Crawford says. “This is where Vontu is starting to overlap into another area of enterprise management.”

There are corporations that design their own crawling applications, says Jim Hurley, vice-president of research at Aberdeen Group.

Both analysts say that regulations, including HIPAA, are factors driving corporations to beef up efforts to prevent unauthorized disclosure of sensitive data. Data-leakage prevention products, while effective in identifying confidential data, are sometimes criticized for generating false positives.

In recognition of that, Vontu is working to improve the digital-hash technique it uses to create a “fingerprint” of sensitive data.

Vontu Discover will start at US$100,000.

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