The critical importance of Enterprise Rights Management

Anyone wondering why Enterprise Rights Management (ERM) is growing in importance need only review the news stories of the past few years. A US government consultant accesses the passwords of 38,000 FBI employees. The UK’s department of Revenue and Customs loses discs containing personal information of 25 million Britons. Laptops containing sensitive data — in one case the Social Security numbers of up to 26 million US military veterans — seem to be lost or stolen with alarming regularity. Now a Research Brief from ABI Research addresses the market for information security in the enterprise.

The manufacturing, financial, healthcare, government, and life sciences sectors are ERM’s early adopters.

ERM operates at the level of the individual document, generally using a client-server model to attach rights and restrictions to specific files. (At least one vendor has also hinted at offering ERM as a hosted service.) While the technologies involved are not revolutionary or radically different from one another, vendors are constantly adding new features and supporting more file formats.

Just five large firms — market leader Microsoft, EMC, Oracle, and Adobe — and one smaller one, Liquid Machines, serve the world’s ERM demand. (EMC and Oracle entered the market by acquiring Authentica and Stellent respectively; Stellent had previously acquired a DRM company called SealedMedia.) Although ERM implementations are found in Asia and Europe, the bulk of demand and revenue come from the United States.

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