When I last checked in on ActiveNav, my takeaway was that the company seemed very interested in applying their eDiscovery technology to new use cases, specifically corporate governance issues. It made sense: eDiscovery as a practice is stabilizing among the established players and while it’s a great business to be in, opportunities for significant expansion beyond the status quo may rest outside the eDiscovery battlefield.

Apparently that was an accurate sense of the mood at ActiveNav, because the company announced today that it would launch a new “Data Mapping as a Service” option to assist data privacy and compliance teams in identifying and mapping sensitive data.

Developed with the goal of achieving Zero Dark DataTM across all types of repositories, ActiveNav’s InventoryTM product discovers and maps data in minutes for compliance with a range of privacy regulations, including GDPR, CPRA and others.

It wasn’t too long ago that the world celebrated the idea of cheap, infinite storage. Just keep everything and whenever things get tight, throw another server at it. But the underbelly of that mindset is an overwhelming glut of data hiding in the nooks and crannies of the company’s information footprint. Instead of waiting until litigation or — worse — a hack, organizations with robust amounts of data should be trying to get a handle on what they’ve got before something bad happens.

“Data mapping is a fundamental component of many legal and compliance routines. Knowing where data and systems exist has typically been identified by humans, but today, technology is being used to support human knowledge that tends to have natural flaws,” said Eric Derk, Managing Director of Forensics at Ernst and Young, LLP. Besides the wasted time spent creating and maintaining manual, static maps, there is a high cost of human resources and risk of error associated with this approach. Siloed methods do not provide holistic views of an entire data universe, and unknowingly put organizations at risk, resulting in a false sense of security that leaves organizations vulnerable to the exposure of sensitive data.

And that’s a key point — it’s not enough to figure out what you have with a snapshot because data jumps around. What entities need is a way to stay on top of where data is all the time.

That’s where AI driven solutions that apply customizable, prebuilt rules to locate and flag potentially troublesome data comes in to keep the entire universe of data under constant surveillance. The wave of privacy laws won’t slow down, so companies need to figure out how they stay on top of what they’ve got. That’s where the robots come in.

“Historical data mapping efforts have failed and are in need of a major reboot,” said Peter Baumann, CEO and Founder of ActiveNav. “Privacy and Compliance teams are fooling themselves into believing they have the right solutions for discovering sensitive data, but they often don’t know what data they should be protecting and how they should protect it. Inventory shines a light on the problem in an automated, persistent way that originates from our decades worth of work helping the largest enterprises monitor and manage sensitive data.”

It’s a development worth watching because the thing with legal tech is that most of the innovations we see have the potential to apply to more use cases than originally intended. ActiveNav’s found a new wrinkle to offer concerned clients up the stream from the eDiscovery situation.

Earlier: The Jump From eDiscovery To Governance Is Not As Giant As You Might Think

HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.

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