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Data discovery is the activity of finding where sensitive data resides so that it can be adequately protected or securely removed. IS&T distributes Identity Finder, a software tool that can easily retrieve electronic data stored on computers and servers.

Available To 
Students, Faculty, Staff, Affiliates

Benefits and key features

Whether on a Mac OS or Windows computer, Identity Finder seeks specifically for data that, if inadvertently exposed or breached, would possibly expose MIT to reputational harm and significant financial costs. It would also require notifying the individuals affected. Such data includes Social Security numbers, credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, and driver's license numbers.

Identity Finder is centrally managed and configured for accurate search criteria. Additionally, it:

  • Provides scheduled scans
  • Allows for instant reporting to the desktop if sensitive files have been detected
  • Scrubs, encrypts, shreds, or quarantines detected files
  • Scans web history, email and email attachments, local and networked file systems


An MIT staff or faculty member, or a student authorized to access computers used for MIT's research and business purposes. 

Getting started

Faculty and staff: Download the Identity Finder software to an individual computer. If more than one copy is needed for your team or business area, contact your local IT support, or contact Areas with a DITR contract can request copies through their DITR consultant.

Students: Download a free and slightly limited version of the software from the Identity Finder website.