Dave Ruel

Dave Ruel of Hanzo and Isaac Madan of Nightfall – Thought Leader Interview: eDiscovery Trends

Time for a unique thought leader interview on eDiscovery Today!  My latest interview is with two technology veterans who were part of a recent notable partnership announcement, Dave Ruel of Hanzo and Isaac Madan of Nightfall!

Dave Ruel is the Head of Product at Hanzo, a pioneer in the contextual capture, and preservation of dynamic web and collaboration content for corporate legal and compliance departments. Dave has more than 20 years of experience in software and product development and has spent considerable time in the legal, compliance, and information governance space. He has helped develop a broad range of products and solutions for big data challenges and is passionate about emerging technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and visual analytics.

Isaac Madan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Nightfall, a data classification and protection platform built for the cloud. Before launching Nightfall, Madan was an investor at Venrock where he focused on early-stage investments in SaaS, security, infrastructure, and machine learning. In 2020, Madan, along with co-founder and CTO Rohan Sathe were named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Enterprise Technology. He earned his BS in Computer Science and MS in Bioinformatics from Stanford University where he was a Division I athlete and Schneider Fellow.


Doug Austin: Dave and Isaac, from the perspectives of each of your companies, why did you enter into this partnership and what will it mean to your customers?

Dave Ruel: Over the course of 2021, the product team at Hanzo was constantly being asked, does Hanzo have a DLP solution? We are not a classic DLP solution at all, but the question continued to persist over several months. From a product perspective, your ears “perk up” when you are being asked for the same feature repeatedly. Hanzo certainly didn’t want to rebuild the wheel for DLP, so I searched for companies that had DLP expertise, especially DLP for Slack. One company that stood out as one of the top-tier solutions in the space was Nightfall. 

Right around that same time, Hanzo’s data science team was finishing work on message behavior analysis; in fact, we’d been working on behavior analysis for a better part of a year. Many things came together for me when Nightfall also released their developer platform in the October timeframe. I saw the potential for an excellent partnership that would allow Hanzo to offer customers a DLP solution while also giving us more capability to locate sensitive data inside Slack messages or potentially any other data sources we collect. Thanks to Nightfall’s developer platform and the APIs allowing us to tap into their capabilities, Hanzo didn’t have to rebuild the wheel for PII detection, PHI detection, and so forth.  We were able to blend Nightfall detection together with our own behavior AI. And, it all came together at almost exactly the same time. So, I reached out to the Nightfall team, and that’s where the conversation started. For us, Nightfall checks so many of the PII boxes for functionality our clients had been asking for while giving us a great springboard to introduce Hanzo’s behavior analysis at the same time.

Another thing about this partnership that I’m genuinely excited about is that it’s more than the sum of its parts. Bringing DLP capabilities and linking them into discovery and investigation as a combined solution adds tremendous value to our customers. It completes the ability to not only, for instance, identify potentially concerning content in real-time but then to take action on that content, such as placing holds or conducting an investigation. I also like the synergy between the two companies as we have really enjoyed collaborating with the Nightfall team.


Isaac Madan: I’ll echo what Dave said. I think DLP and eDiscovery are quite natural complements. Both involve analyzing high volumes of unstructured data. And this partnership enables both Nightfall and Hanzo to each provide significant additional value to our respective customers and provide differentiated value in the market, which is truly exciting. Beyond that, protecting sensitive data, and data security and compliance remains top of mind for companies as cloud adoption scales while regulation intensifies. Doing this across the cloud is very difficult and complex – it requires training and tuning detectors, parsing files and unstructured data, and building and scaling machine learning models – which in itself involves intensive research and resourcing to ensure high accuracy results and reduced noise. All of that speaks to why we launched the Nightfall Developer Platform that Dave highlighted, which delivers a robust set of APIs for content inspection and data protection. We handle the data detection and classification infrastructure so that companies like Hanzo can focus on building and delivering their core value while also providing incremental value to customers. Partnering with Hanzo allows us to deliver on the vision of powering sensitive data classification and protection in any application. And equally, as Dave said, it’s been delightful to work with the Hanzo team and for us all to swim in the same direction.

We’re just getting started! Part 2 with Dave Ruel and Isaac Madan will be published Wednesday!

BTW, Hanzo and Nightfall will be conducting the webinar Drive Data Intelligence with Collaborative Data on Tuesday, May 24th at 1pm ET! For more information and to register, click here!

So, what do you think?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclosure: Hanzo is an Educational Partner and sponsor of eDiscovery Today

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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