Data Discovery


In our more than dozen years of protecting enterprise sensitive data, we’ve learned a few things about where a security program can stumble. Topping the list is inadequate sensitive data discovery.

Lessons learned:

  • 1Your knowledge of where your sensitive information is located is likely obsolete.
  • 2Two-thirds of that data is in hard-to-find locations.
  • 3Dictionary search is outdated; too many false positives, and it cannot properly distinguish between bank account, zip+4, and national identifier.
  • 4Ignore application logic at your own risk.


If you don’t know where all your data is and who has access, you can’t protect it. At an average cost of $158 per record, that’s a big risk to take.



iDiscover™  doesn’t stop at a dictionary search. It does data matching.
 doesn’t stop at data matching. It looks at pattern matching.
 doesn’t stop at pattern-matching. It also does code analysis.

In every implementation without exception, MENTIS has found unprotected data in tens to hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of undocumented locations in organizations that are already vigilant. For example:

  • A patient care technician stored information through the fastest way possible and not where IT intended it to be stored. Think: in unvalidated text fields such as DESCRIPTION fields where a patient’s Social Security number could be embedded deep within the text.
  • Key/Value tables created by the vendor without appropriate documentation. Think: VALUE fields, which could store both bank account data and social security numbers.
  • Phantom tables where sensitive data is stored for short durations for reporting purposes. Think: temporary, staging, or interface tables.

iDiscover™ found volumes of data in these places when rudimentary “discovery” had failed to do so. Other solutions can find some of the information in some of the places some of the time. MENTIS can find all of the places all the time.

“In the seventeen years’ working on this system, there is no way I would have known that.” –
iDiscover™ customer on the surprising volume of sensitive data that they did not know was in their system

Sensitive Data intelligence

MENTIS’ analysis shows that more than two-thirds of sensitive data is found in unexpected locations. A current case study further exemplifies the complexity of identifying, not just locations, but also who have access to it. The MENTIS approach towards sensitive data intelligence allowed this customer to restrict access to data while still allowing role-based access as needed: security that works WITH the business.

First launched in 2008, the iDiscover™​ revolution meant that security teams could finally have real intelligence on their sensitive data assets. Evolving continuously since then, iDiscover™​ is still the industry’s most radically accurate and comprehensive solution.

iDiscover™​ makes finding sensitive data simple, with built-for-purpose, unique functionalities such as:

  • Going beyond dictionary matching to matches based on values and application logic;
  • Preconfigured, out-of-the-box data classifications of direct and potential customer-identifying data. Data classifications are also configurable to allow flexible definitions;
  • Support for a variety of data sources: popular relational, hierarchical, file systems, text, documents, and external files;
  • Optimized scan architecture for scalability and high performance;
  • Allowing role-based access;
  • Comprehensive reporting;
  • Intelligence packs for Oracle E-Business and PeopleSoft applications.


  • Find ALL locations of sensitive data with minimal false positives.
  • Generate shared enterprise sensitive data intelligence for masking, monitoring, and retiring.
  • Allow collaboration and participation among all stakeholders - application owners, architecture, security, and administrators.

"Incomplete discovery is problematic. Missing fields cause masking failures, user dissatisfaction, and a false sense of security. With iDiscover™ this is a problem solved."

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