October 24, 2014
ARMA 2014: Stephen Chan, senior director of Products and Information Governance, will present “Informational Convergence—corporate departments are increasingly in need of corporate wide classifications that span the needs of security, legal and records management.” His presentation will take place at 11:15 a.m. PDT (2:15 p.m. EDT) on Sunday, October 26 in the San Diego Convention Center, Hall Room 528.
Despite being named 2013’s Vertebrate of the Year, this little fellow did not appear on the cover of People, US, or other checkout counter fare.
Still, some of you may already know of the naked mole rat, a unique and unusual species and one of the best examples of convergent evolution.
Apart from their singular appearance, naked mole rats have quite a few remarkable characteristics. They are insensitive to pain. They do not get cancer. They live as much as 30 times as long as typical rats. They are like little yogis, decreasing their heart rate and metabolism when needed to survive periods of shortage.
But what’s most interesting, however, is that they are eusocial animals, living in colonies much like bees or ants with a single queen, a few males, and otherwise sterile workers and soldiers.
Despite their similarities, naked role mats, which are mammals, evolved this behavior independently from bees and ants, which are both part of the order Hymenoptera. This type of coincident in evolutionary biology is called convergent evolution, which describes biological systems that independently evolve similar traits to adapt to similar environments or to overcome similar survival challenges. It’s when a behavior is so advantageous that more than one organism evolves it.
Now what does this little guy have to do with our blog? Well, in the same way that convergent evolution exists in nature, so too can it come about in technology, and I believe we’re seeing the same thing happening with information governance, specifically with regards to content classification, which can be called Informational Convergence.
Whether you’re an attorney, a records manager, or a CISO, you’re a stakeholder who is highly concerned with risk and looking for tools that can help classify and identify where information breaches would be most disruptive and damaging. To do this, companies are demanding strong, sophisticated classification tools to identify important or sensitive data. Where informational convergence comes into play is despite the broad types of stakeholders that need classification, all need the same thing, accurate classification. It does not matter what topics firms are classifying for, so long as it is accurate. What organizations do with their content after classification has taken place, such as legal hold, quarantine, disposition, etc. is still important, of course, but the domain where the most improvements are being demanded and must be made are with new, accurate, and cost effective classifying technologies.
While convergent evolution in nature occurs where two different organisms evolve similar characteristics or behaviors, informational convergence describes how groups or departments within organizations are demanding the same or similar capabilities. As technology vendors, we want to identify and meet new customer needs. As Proofpoint, we’re identifying the organizational domains with the greatest need when it comes to classification, particularly where our current coverage areas are strong. In Proofpoint’s case, this in the areas of e-discovery, security, and records management.
Over the next year, technologies related to classification both novel and tried will continue to pop up. Proofpoint will look to innovate in ways that can best provide customers with a holistic solution that classifies across a broad range of roles and in a highly accurate and cost effective manner, creating a robust and durable solution, just like the naked mole rat.
Stephen leads products for the Information Governance team at Proofpoint. Successfully merging 15 years of expertise in the areas of e-discovery, compliance, and records management together with their most relevant technologies, Stephen drives thought leadership in the industry and has advised the SEC and Global 1,000 organizations. Prior to Proofpoint, Stephen was co-founder of several enterprise and consumer software firms, served as primary investigator on two government funded research projects, and has been published in over twenty magazines and books. Stephen is a graduate of the University of California at Davis and Harvard University.