SuperGlue helps data stay legal

Informatica's metadata-management system is designed to help corporations deal with increasingly stringent and complex data-protection requirements

Enterprise software developer Informatica on Wednesday launched a Web-based metadata management system, designed to help organisations meet the legal requirements set out in the UK's data protection act and the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in the US.

Informatica claims its SuperGlue solution is the first of its kind, offering a dashboard-style interface that enables large companies to view information about the data stored on their various applications in order to better understand and more easily audit complex information. This could be especially useful for financial institutions that need to ensure their records are consistent, valid and can be traced back through multiple systems.

James Mullock, a partner at UK-based law firm Osborne Clarke, said that although SuperGlue would initially appeal to companies with operations in the US -- which need to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation -- there are also laws in the UK, such as the Data Protection Act and Freedom of Information Act, which require companies to prove the validity of their data.

"Both the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act require organisations to be able to prove beyond doubt that their data is accurate, and that it has been deleted when no longer required. A solution that can prove where the data originated and demonstrate what happened to it while held by the organisation, then prove it was deleted as required, will have widespread value," said Mullock in a statement.

Chretien Minke, director of advanced products at Informatica, said the software could also help businesses ensure their decision makers are supplied with consistent data.

"A huge enterprise could deploy SAP along with major data warehouses, but somewhere in the system, there could be a person that says, 'this process never works properly, so I always copy it into a spreadsheet, do this and that, then feed it back'. That kind of interception does not wash quite the way it used to," he said.

Software such as SuperGlue could help keep a lid on this kind of data corruption by making it easy to track what happens to data via metadata -- or data about data. "Metadata is one of the most important missing pieces of the puzzle to ensure this consistency," Minke said.