Does this mean that Rights Management is now going mainstream?

On 9 November 15 Microsoft announced that it would buy an Israeli based company “Secure Islands”.  So what benefit and expansion would this give to Microsoft?  Well, Secure Islands provides data classification, protection and loss prevention technologies for many types of files.  This allows customers to apply data protection to all applications.  Secure Islands uses or builds upon Microsoft ADRMS, a rights management package that Microsoft has been selling for many years.  Due to Microsoft ADRMS complexity and difficulty to use, many companies have written software that uses ADRMS as a base platform but improves usability and enhanced features such as data classification.  Secure Islands is one of these companies which also includes Gigatrust, Brainloop and Titus software to mention a few, all that use ADRMS to a greater or lesser degree.

So what does this mean for the industry? Microsoft is acquiring technology companies as fast as they can, so this is nothing new.  However, why would Microsoft want to buy something that they already have or that makes their own product look inadequate?

Firstly, with this purchase, Microsoft is responding to their customers needs who have been saying for many years that ADRMS is too complex and is unusable in its current form. Through the Secure Islands purchase, customers can now classify documents automatically, protect those documents and share securely within internal boundaries using one, integrated product.  This is a great advance over base-level ADRMS.

Secondly, Microsoft is endorsing the Rights Management technology, which is something we already know is worthwhile, but is great news for the industry, as it raises the profile for the need of this kind of support across all businesses.

However, it should be noted that Microsoft has now bought one of its partners which then puts it in competition with all the other companies who rely on the poor capabilities of ADRMS to sell their products.  Microsoft is now in competition with Gigatrust and the others who will now have to change their development plans.  What this will do for other partners who enhance Microsoft functionality, remains to be seen.  In any case, there is one winner, Microsoft, and many losers who now have to think again.

Guardian Technologies has been selling rights management software from Seclore for many years as customers struggle to protect information that is sent over the internet to third parties.  The rights management market is big business and Microsoft has just put a heap of money into it to ensure it keeps its customers happy and expands the market for all.  With the need to collaborate securely with partners, third parties and outsourcers, sending confidential information has meant that control is lost.  With rights management, files are encrypted but with controls as to who can access the files.  Our experience with rights management has been verified as the key market area for customers and that skills to design, deploy and configure information protection architectures are now much sought after.

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