Thursday, May 17, 2012

Interview with John Patzakis, Founder and CEO of X1 Discovery

John, the last time you were interviewed at Forensic Focus you were the Vice Chairman and Chief Legal Officer at Guidance Software. Now you're the founder and CEO of X1 Discovery - tell us about that move.

I am proud to have been a co-founder and part of the senior team at Guidance Software for ten years. The early days at Guidance were exciting as we sowed new fields, just as we are doing now at X1 Discovery. At Guidance, we first pioneered Windows-based forensics, which was the new paradigm and represented an order of magnitude improvement over Dos-based forensics. Then circa 2004, we introduced and championed the concept of enterprise in-house eDiscovery, a strategy that ended up being Guidance’s main force of growth leading to our IPO in 2006.

So after leaving in 2009 and engaging in consulting projects through 2010 I began discussions with X1, an Idealab Company that I always thought had excellent search technology for both the desktop and the enterprise. At first the intent was to sit on the board as an investor but then I learned about the IP they were developing for social media, and I also became excited about the promise of X1’s enterprise server to be a very robust eDiscovery early case assessment and first pass review solution. So to make a long story short, the board at Idealab – which is our parent company -- offered to have me head up X1 Discovery as a spin-off to X1 Technologies, with ownership of all our intellectual property. It was a great opportunity and the Idealab board has been very supportive and enabled me to recruit some outstanding talent and assemble a great team.

What does X1 Discovery do? What makes it different from the other eDiscovery companies which have entered the market in the past few years?

At X1 Discovery we are pioneering the new fields of forensics and eDiscovery of social media and cloud-based data. I have always been interested in where the puck is going as opposed to where it is now, and we believe the X1 Discovery’s disruptive technology is already years ahead of the field. We accomplished this by leveraging our vision and industry experience to effectively build on the patented X1 Search Technology.

Tell us more about your products, X1 Social Discovery and X1 Rapid Discovery.

X1 Social Discovery, launched in October 2011, is basically like EnCase or FTK for social media and website collection. It is a desktop application specifically designed for computer investigators and legal professionals that we believe is the clear market leader in its class. X1 Social Discovery’s two core benefits are scalability and defensibility. It can collect tens of thousands of social media items in a few hours and up to millions in a few days, and then instantly search and filter those items with the patented X1 fast-as-you-type indexed search. X1 Social Discovery is very defensible as we are establishing a chain of custody with case management, evidence segregation, logging, and MD5 hashing of all collected items. Also, social media sites are accessed read-only, which is important as visiting a live Facebook page can easily cause changes to the page and its metadata. Finally, we collect all available metadata on social media sites. A Facebook item alone has over two dozen unique metadata fields and we preserve and collect all of them.

Our other product, X1 Rapid Discovery is a proven, and now with the release of version 4, a truly cloud-deployable, eDiscovery and enterprise search solution that enables users to quickly identify, search, and collect distributed data wherever it resides in the IaaS cloud or within the enterprise. Just this past week we were the first eDiscovery company accepted into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Solution Provider program. Importantly, its a non-appliance software solution that is very easy to install and configure. So in addition to the cloud, X1 Rapid Discovery is quickly deployed in the field on the investigator’s own hardware to collect data from servers and/or to index, cull and search through up to terabytes of collected data...

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