Tod, you have recently moved into the role of Director of Product Management and Development at AccessData. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little more about your role and what your day to day job is like?
Yes, thank you. I’m very excited about the step into this role, and the opportunity it brings to interact more with our customers. AccessData has always been committed to helping to solve the issues and concerns of the market. We are continually striving to give clients a greater voice so that we can elevate our products and their success. As such, over the past few years, we have shifted to a pragmatic marketing approach to product management and development, which means we take a much deeper look into each feature request to fully understand the context of why you are asking for that feature or what is causing an issue.This helps us deliver more robust solutions for our customers that solve their initial problem, but also help alleviate potential future challenges as well, and helps us better deliver on our commitment to our customers. I spent 7 years with AccessData in a customer support role, and that was always one of the most enjoyable aspects of the job—being able to interact with clients, offer solutions to their problems, and hear their thoughts on new products we could help bring to market that would address their biggest challenges. In my role now, I’m frequently interviewing clients, assessing the market opportunity for new products and presenting our vision, which in a way has a lot of similarities to what I did as a Technical Account Manager for a number of years, just on a larger scale! And I thoroughly enjoy it!
Speaking of product releases, AccessData recently launched AD RTK, a solution for enterprise-wide risk assessment and remediation. Can you tell us a little more about the product?
Yes, we’re very excited for this release!
Working through the pragmatic process mentioned above, about two years ago we started to identify a trend for assessing risk in an organization. The insights gained allowed us to develop a market solution in AD RTK, in a time when concern over growing data risks has come to the forefront of our business.
RTK is a unique solution. It’s designed to be easy for anyone to use – from IT to HR – to locate potentially privileged company information across the network, assess the risk associated with that data and where it is located and then determine the appropriate next step, whether that is to just report on it or remediate it. Users can execute targeted content scans against computer endpoints and network shares to locate PII, PHI, and other sensitive data that is in unapproved locations and quickly take action. It gives organizations complete visibility into where their data resides, which is critical in order to be able to protect sensitive data.
What drove the decision to develop RTK?
AccessData has always been focused on developing best of breed tools to help our clients manage their data in an investigation. Our AD eDiscovery and Enterprise tools help our clients in corporate manage their e-discovery investigations and respond to incidents swiftly and efficiently.
One of the things we continued to hear from our corporate clients was that they wanted to have better visibility into where their data is located, in order to proactively protect it. They need to be able to mitigate the risk of an unapproved endpoint hosting data, to prevent becoming the next victim of an incident. We felt that we could leverage our core forensics technology and the powerful agents used by those tools, presented in a purpose-built user interface, to provide the market with a different type of solution to address the need to locate and remediate data and reduce that risk. And that’s how RTK was born.
What market problems does AD RTK help solve for your clients?
Anymore, it’s no longer a matter of if, but when your company or agency will experience some type of data security incident. I think that one of the most underappreciated issues faced by organizations today is the ongoing danger of the loss, theft, and accidental disclosure of the vast amount of intellectual property (IP), sensitive legal information, regulated data, and private and personal data they manage. This information sprawls across networks making it seemingly impossible to really know where sensitive data resides.
Government agencies and departments that handle classified and sensitive data are also at risk of PHI and PII being accidentally leaked or intentionally stolen by internal employees. Companies and government agencies alike need tools that give them complete visibility into enterprise endpoints and the ability to remediate those risks in an easy, repeatable, defensible manner, so they can ensure they’re protecting their data and adhering to data privacy regulations.
How is it different from other risk and data loss prevention tools on the market today?
AD RTK is different than other solutions in a few ways. First, we’ve designed it to be very user-friendly, so HR departments or legal departments, for example, can use the tool to do a first-pass scan and determine if a deeper investigation is needed, freeing up IT staff resources for other things and reducing the backlog. Second, technology on the market today that is somewhat similar to RTK is often either bundled with very expensive endpoint security applications or data loss prevention solutions that cost a fortune, are very complicated to implement and configure, and are designed for more experienced technical users. RTK offers a powerful yet easy-to-use solution to address a growing challenge of locating and remediating data, at a fraction of the cost.
What has been the response so far?
Very positive. As part of our process, we continuously validate what we are building to select clients. As such, we started showing early copies of RTK last year and received great feedback. We’ve done several demos of RTK already, most recently at the CyberSecure event in New York last month, and the response has been very encouraging.
It’s easy to talk about a solution but to see it in action, how easy it is to assess your risk and privacy concerns, and how quickly you can find out where that sensitive material resides, is really exciting. It gives CISOs a good night’s sleep for the first time in years!
And GDPR going into effect very soon makes a tool like RTK even more desirable, as it enables organizations to proactively identify a potential data privacy concern and fix it so they remain compliant. Many clients that we’ve demoed to so far have recognized that a tool like RTK, leveraging the AccessData Agent technology our clients already have on their network, would give them an easy-to-use solution to proactively address some of their current data privacy concerns.
Are there new features coming in the tool?
Yes, there are always problems to solve in an organization in the ever-changing risk market. In the very short term, we are expanding our ability to connect to the most common data sources and fine-tuning our workflow based on some of that early feedback. We are already starting to plan out the third release due to the tremendous feedback and interest.
What else can we expect to see from AccessData in 2018?
AccessData is a staple in the forensic and e-discovery industry. We plan to stay ahead of the competition and increase our trajectory with continuous innovation. In a number of our products, we are opening up numerous API’s, giving our users greater control to integrate with products external to our application or extend the capabilities of our core products.
One example of this is the parsing API we released with 6.3. This allows users to extend our capabilities on what file types we recognize and parse. We are also extremely excited about our AD Enterprise release, continuing our longtime success in corporate post-breach investigations. 2018 is going to be a banner year for AccessData, with new product launches hitting their stride with RTK and Quin-C, partner agreements with Belkasoft and Brainspace, a continued focus on forensics with mobile analysis and expanding features related to large datasets. We’ve got a lot of exciting things coming!
AccessData offer industry-leading solutions to challenges of investigation, litigation and compliance within the digital forensics industry.