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Varonis Digs in For Governance

The emphasis on record retention in light of Sarbanes-Oxley , SEC 17a-4 and HIPAA is forcing corporations to look for new data-management options.

Data governance, a script for the people, permissions and processes that are employed in proper data use, is listed as an area many CIOs want to explore to solve the dicey compliance dilemma.

Looking to blaze a trail through this nascent segment of the data-management market, Varonis Systems today rolled out the latest version of DatAdvantage, software that controls who may access word processing documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, and other unstructured data in an enterprise.

The software is designed to let IT departments reduce the likelihood of data misuse and ensure appropriate permissions to sensitive company information, said Johnnie Konstantas, vice president of marketing for Varonis.

"You have hundreds of terabytes of this data for the average enterprise sitting on file shares and the controls to that data are fundamentally broken," Konstantas said. "The reason is, it's virtually impossible for IT to keep track of user access needs and permission to every single folder."

DatAdvantage 2.7 lets IT administrators view current user permissions to data, including permission types and inheritance; audit how the data is used; and control who gets access to the data using analytics that assess user behavior.

Konstantas said the audit capabilities tell admins not only who accessed a file and when, but what they did with it, including opening, deleting, modifying or renaming it.

Administrators can then trigger changes in the computer system with a mouse click, or see the impact of changes in a "sand box," or test bed, before implementing the modifications.

Behind DatAdvantage is Varonis' Intelligent Data Usage (IDU) analytics platform, which Konstantas said employs "elegant but very sophisticated mathematics under the covers" that allows the software to tell admins who should be accessing data, as well as their business relationship to that data, with roughly 99 percent accuracy.

DatAdvantage version 2.7 is available now from Varonis channel partners, with pricing based on the number of data users. Licenses for installations of 50 to 250 users start at $25,000. Varonis expects to roll out an upgrade to its governance framework, DataPrivilege, in May.

New York-based Varonis' customers include Condé Nast Publications and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but Varonis founder, President and CEO Yaki Faitelson said Varonis' customer base also includes businesses from financial services, health care and manufacturing markets.

With 50 customers and more than 100 installations, Varonis is coming into its own seemingly in the nick of time as unstructured data is doubling every three months.

Moreover, while larger vendors such as IBM  and EMC  are providing point products to deal with governance issues, Varonis is a pure-play along with Securent, which specializes in entitlements, and Agiliance, which helps customers maintain compliance with internal policies and industry regulations.