Published May 18, 1999
Volume 7, Number 5

Zantaz Creates the Electronic "Paper Trail"
New System Allows for Accurate Archiving, Retrieval of E-Mail

Randy Gausman, left, and Bill Bankert are bringing standard 
business practices to e-commerce.

By Jay Hipps
Network Editor

E-mail has gone from being an electronic novelty to a mission-critical business tool in a remarkably short time. While procedures are in place in most companies to keep track of transactions and correspondence on paper, the same cannot be said for many e-mail communications. 

Enter Zantaz.com. Their "Digital Safe" service captures and archives a company's e-mail, writing it permanently to a tamper-proof storage system. When files are needed, they can be accessed via a secure World Wide Web page. The integrity of the original document is not compromised and an electronic "paper trail" is established. 

Captured at the Speed of Light
The service has faced some unique technical challenges, report company founders Bill Bankert and Randy Gausman. 

"You're now talking about communications happening at the speed of light, so the document you're talking about wanting to review in the future literally exists for a fraction of a second as it passes between the sender and the receiver, and then it's gone," explains Bankert. "It's on both people's machines, but both of those are tamperable. Who attests to what happened when it was actually sent?"

Zantaz.com has received interest from companies doing e-commerce, and particularly from online stock brokerages, which are required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain auditable records of their transactions. The company has begun archiving messages for a major West Coast online broker and is involved in serious discussions with other major securities companies on both coasts. 

"Suffice it to say that if all the customers we're talking to were to sign up tomorrow, we'd have over 60 percent of the market in that area," says Bankert. 

No New Procedures
One of the company's key selling points is that using their service requires no new procedures for their clients. 

"We're in the background, it happens automatically," says Bankert. "You don't need any new software or hardware. If you have a browser on your computer, you have everything you need to use our service."

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