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February 25, 2010

Climb a Mountain and Have a Mimosa


On Monday, Iron Mountain announced their acquisition of Mimosa Systems. Iron Mountain is synonymous with data storage and is a household name among IT professionals.

Lawyers, however, are probably not as familiar with the company and so I wanted to provide a few thoughts on why this news is significant from an e-discovery perspective.

Iron Mountain has historically been associated with off-site storage for paper and digital data. The namesake of the company is the iconic Pennsylvania mountain where the company stores some of the world's most valuable treasures 220 feet below ground in a hyper-secured limestone cave.

For most IT professionals, Iron Mountain embodies the concept of off-site storage for backup media. After all, you gotta have an off-site backup somewhere, and Iron Mountain will pick it up and take care of it for you.

Over the last several years, Iron Mountain has greatly expanded their services to cover document management, records management, disaster recovery, and much more. And why not? They're already well-trusted for storing your data, so the company has made the natural extensions into other services around data management.

One of those areas is e-discovery. Several years ago, the company launched the to provide some general and humorous information around e-discovery awareness (the company hired John Cleese as "Dr. Twainweck" for several short video clips).

In October 2007, Iron Mountain acquired Stratify for $158 million in cash. Stratify was a strong contender in the document review scene and continues to grow under the shadow of the mountain. In fact, Stratify acquired San Francisco based Legal Imaging Technologies, Inc. just last month on January 27, 2010 to "augment its eDiscovery production capabilities."

And now this past Monday, Iron Mountain acquires Mimosa Systems for $112 million (good buy!) in cash which further rounds out their coverage of the EDRM so they can better compete with the likes of EMC and Autonomy.

I just reviewed Mimosa NearPoint for in December, and I posted on this blog that the product represents the "blurring" of the line between IT-centric tasks such as e-mail archiving, and traditional legal duties involved with e-discovery. Lawyers must now start to comprehend that "e-discovery" doesn't just refer to document review, and indeed that e-discovery involves vital facets of the workforce that never studied law (e.g. IT professionals, records managers, project managers, network administrators, etc.).

It will be interesting to see how this acquisition works into the overall flow of services from Iron Mountain. The Stratify acquisition already spawned the on-premises "eVantage" product from Stratify which nicely balanced the off-site, hosted Legal Discovery Review platform. Mimosa NearPoint handles the grunt work of archiving e-mail, SharePoint respositories, and file systems, and it typically handed the data off to the Mimosa eDiscovery Option which is what I focused on in my review. There is definitely some overlap between the two systems, but Iron Mountain can now take advantage of the "on-premises" archiving side of information management.

Another take on the acquisition from Clearwell's CEO Aaref Hilaly.

One additional perspective on the acquisition from Barry Murphy, former Mimosa employee.


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'Iron Mountain has greatly expanded their services to cover document management, records management, disaster recovery, and much more."

actually Iron Mountain started in the records management arena by offering storage space for inactive paper records expanding through the acquisition of competitors such as Pearce-Leahy, Bell&Howell and many, many locally owned or regional vendors. Overtime it expanded its offerings into scanning, confidential destruction and eventually getting into various IT offerings

"They're already well-trusted for storing your data..."

that is but one opinion. Ask the customers whose records were destroyed in various Record Center fires in New Jersey or the giant fire in London several years ago. Ask why IM continues to try and loosen the requirements of NFPA 232

Ask the various companies whose computer data was lost while in IM's care

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