IT Policies

Review: Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0

For many enterprises, data governance is more the mere best practice, it is an absolute necessity. Managing access down to the individual employee level requires a sophisticated set of applications. This is the level where the Varonis Intelligent Data Use platform shines.

For many enterprises, data governance is more than mere best practice, it is an absolute necessity. Managing access down to the individual employee level requires a sophisticated set of applications. This is the level where the Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0 shines.

Specifications

Minimum Hardware Requirements
  • Single server with
    • Dual CPU or HT/dual core (3.0GHz and above)
    • 2GB RAM
    • Disk space - 250GB
Recommended Hardware
  • IDU server
  • 2 CPUs or more (3.0GHz and above)
  • 4GB RAM
  • Disk space - 1TB
  • Probe(s)
  • 1 CPU (3.0GHz and above)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Disk space - 60GB
Software Requirements
  • DatAdvantage IDU / DataPrivilege Application Server:
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP1 or 2003R2 SP2 or 2008 Net Framework 1.1
    • Internet Information Services (IIS) with ASP.NET and COM+ (for reporting)
    • Database and reporting services (see below)
  • Database and Reporting Services:
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Standard or Enterprise with SP4 (Personal Edition is not supported), installed locally on the DatAdvantage server (remote SQL instances are not supported)
    • SQL Server Reporting Service Enterprise Edition with SP2; Reporting can be installed on any server
  • Or
    • Microsoft SQL server 2005 Standard or Enterprise including Reporting services, with SP2 (Express and Workgroup Editions are not supported), installed locally on the DatAdvantage server
  • Or
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 evaluation edition including reporting services with SP2

Who is it for

The Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0, which incorporates the DatAdvantage and DataPrivilege packages, is designed for the enterprise running Microsoft Windows Server and Active Directory as well as enterprises running Unix/Linux and LDAP or NIS that needs to manage access to data down to the department, team and even individual level.

What problem does it solve

While there are many built-in tools and applications available for managing Windows Server and Active Directory permissions, they are designed to be used by the IT Department. Decisions about whom may access what data is passed from the department level to IT through help desk tickets and other inefficient means and then those permissions are passed back down by IT through various Group Policy and Active Directory tools.

The Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0 allows the department heads, team leaders, and other business stakeholders to set access policy through a simple interface without having to wait for IT to take action. The platform gives the enterprise more flexibility in data governance, increases efficiency, and allows for more nimble action at the deepest levels of the organization.

Features

  • Interface: The graphical user interface is very familiar to most users and is very similar to Windows Explorer and other simple folder navigation applications.
  • Shift decision making: Using the Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0 allows an enterprise to place the policy and decision-making concerning data governance in the hands of the employees that are actually stakeholders in the process. This means that the IT Department is not required to make assumptions about access, but can rely on the managers at the proper level to make those decisions.
  • Timeliness and efficiency: With the system established, access and other governance decisions can be made and implemented in mere minutes without involving several departments and the conveyance of information by e-mail or help-desk tickets.

What's wrong

  • Learning curve: The Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0 may have a relatively simple interface for users, but the applications do require training to use effectively. While many of the tools normally associated with data governance are only used IT professionals, the Varonis DataPrivilege application must be used by the general employee population, which may not be as technically sophisticated.
  • Culture shock: The general principle of placing decision making concerning data governance in the hands of employees deep in the organization may be a significant change of policy for many established organizations, especially those with established hierarchical structures and controlling IT departments.
  • Cost and scope: The scope of the Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0 does not come cheap. Not only will the entire organization have to buy-in to the concept, the initial software installation and training cost will be significant. This suite of software is most likely to be used in larger organizations with very specific and vital data governance needs.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

For medium to large enterprises, data governance is major procedural and policy headache. And for those enterprises that are required by law or other authority to maintain detailed and accurate information concerning access, data governance is essential.

The Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0, and the DatAdvantage and DataPrivilege packages that make it work, can make data governance much more efficient. By placing the decision-making in the hands of those stakeholders with actual knowledge of the governance requirements, this enterprise-wide application can enforce policy evenly throughout an organization.

User rating

Have you encountered or used a Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of the Varonis Data Governance Suite 4.0 in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

3 comments
ahedge
ahedge

As a Varonis partner, we work with customers on their data security projects. One thing that the Varoins suite reveals is how difficult it is to protect your server data without a tool like this. The amount of security holes in most organizations is astonishing. This is a great product. http://castletips.blogspot.com

firebat2k3
firebat2k3

I thought it was a fair write up, but I would counter that someone needs to weigh the cost and time to implement and use over not knowing what their data state is. I would simply ask someone is ignorance bliss? Knowledge is not a luxury. Just my two cents

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Does your organization have a formal data governance policy? How do you enforce it? Do you have the tools you need or are you looking for a better way to management your data management?

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