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Symantec gobbles email warehouse LiveOffice

Cloudy archiving for just $115m

Security for virtualized datacentres

Symantec has gone and bought itself a cloud archiver, LiveOffice, for $115m, and is now integrating its archival storage and eDiscovering offerings more closely.

Symantec is basing a better information governance pitch on this acquisition.

Privately held and venture-funded LiveOffice was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Torrance, California. It reckons it is the top "global provider of cloud-based email archiving, email compliance, email discovery and email continuity solutions, with more than 20,000 clients and a 97 per cent client-retention rate." Its co-founder and so-called Chief Visionary Officer is Alexander Rusich and and Matthew Smith was the other co-founder.

Its CEO is Nick Mehta, who spent more than five years at Symantec and Veritas before moving to LiveOffice. Veritas was acquired by Symantec in 2005, Mehta becoming its VP and general manager of its Enterprise Vault information archiving and discovery software business. El Reg guesses it's welcome home time for Nick.

The LiveOffice business pitch involves a monthly flat fee per user for unlimited storage and search. Gartner positioned it in the visionaries square in its magic quadrant for enterprise archiving in December last year. It supports most if not all cloud email platforms.

LiveOffice is right up there with cloud file storage services too; its LiveOffice File Archive archives documents from popular online file-sharing platforms including Box and Dropbox. It captures, stores and indexes all files uploaded to each file-sharing service. In November last year LiveOffice said: "Box is currently being used by more than 100,000 businesses, seven million users and 77 per cent of the Fortune 500 - and 250,000 new users join each month. Dropbox touts 45 million users, one million businesses and more than 80 per cent of Fortune 100 companies - and another new user joins every second."

The picture is that this is a comprehensive offering that is easy and economical to use. Symantec will integrate its Clearwell eDiscovery offering, bought in May 2011 for $390m, with its Enterprise Vault offering. The Clearwell product is already integrated with LiveOffice.

Iron Mountain found cloud archiving and eDiscovery a financial minefield. Symantec reckons it could be a gold field instead, and has now invested over half a billion dollars to buy its way in to the market. Brian Dye, Symantec's VP for its Information Intelligence Group, says: “What were once disparate issues — information management, eDiscovery, and data security — are rapidly coming together due to the explosion of electronically stored information and the on-premise and cloud-based technologies that deliver and disseminate it."

ESG analyst Katey Wood said she believes Symantec is on to a good thing in "bringing together on-premise and cloud-based security, archiving, classification and eDiscovery" because it "can help organisations proactively classify, retain and discover information while reducing risk and avoiding costs".

What we can see happening is the Enterprise Vault gets itself a LiveOffice-style cloud tier and LiveOffice gets itself additional content types to become, eventually, Enterprise Vault in the cloud. We'll see if this actually comes to pass.

It is next to impossible to find out about LiveOffice's funding history. Summit Partners is its declared venture backer but the funding amounts are unknown. Summit made a minority investment in LiveOffice in June 2007 when it was already described as a LiveOffice backer. With its fast growth history and market position, we would imagine LiveOffice may have received up to $20m and that its backers are now walking with very big smiles to their banks. ®

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