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Analytics tool for IT admins safeguards Office 365 data

IT admins who need a hand with data governance can apply data analytics to keep corporate Office 365 data safe.

With more enterprise use of cloud-based storage and employees using personal cloud-file storage system for work, IT is struggling to enforce policies to ensure that corporate data remains safe.

Startup Knowledge Vault this week unveiled a cloud-based analytics tool designed to help IT administrators analyze their cloud email and storage systems. The tool will allow admins to make better decisions for governing corporate data in the cloud.

A lot of customers have Box, DropBox and Office 365. The challenge, however, is deciding how IT can retain control of the data, determining who has access to the data and understanding how it is being shared externally, said Jamie Redmond, senior developer at Knowledge Vault in New York.

The service allows admins to view an IT environment, analyze it, and set up the right policies and controls to ensure compliance and data governance for the business. It works with existing systems management software such as Microsoft Intune. Other competitive tools include Cogmotive Office 365 Reports and 365 Command, while Microsoft's Power BI for Office 365 is a major data analytics tool.

In its initial implementation, Knowledge Vault supports Exchange online and on-premises, as well as Office 365. Over time, the company will offer a broader set of connectors to support other services. The company plans release in the next quarter support for Box, and, in the second quarter 2015, support for OneDrive.

Knowledge Vault is also developing application programming interface hooks to allow the service to work with other analytics tools.

The product will be licensed based on the mailbox and connector for other cloud-based services. It costs $0.25 per mailbox, per connector each month.

Industry observers said the product fulfills a gap because it provides a comprehensive view to control and monitor data throughout the organization.

"This gives the understanding of where your data is, how it's being used and [provides IT] with control over it," said Paul Burns, president of Neovise LLC, a consultancy in Fort Collins, Colo.

Despite Knowledge Vault's status as a startup, one IT admin thinks the tool could have a big impact in the industry.

"Most analytics people I've had conversations with come back with graphs from Excel in 1995," said Mike Drips, a solutions architect at Houston-based WiPro. "The cool part [here] is the visual form of data."

Drips also believes the service's cloud delivery is important but could pose an obstacle for some organizations.

"It's cloud-based, and most of these other companies are still trying to spell 'cloud,'" he said.

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