Location: Adelaide, Australia
Products: DatAdvantage, Data Transport Engine
AnglicareSA has its origins in Anglican Church-based charities going back more than 150 years ago. While it retains strong links with the Anglican Church, AnglicareSA Inc was incorporated in 2000 and it operates independently with its own management structure and its own Board of Directors. AnglicareSA is a member of Anglicare Australia and has a close association with Anglicare organisations in each state. They have more than 1500 staff and more than 630 volunteers who work in a wide range of roles at more than 30 major sites across metropolitan Adelaide.
Through the talent and commitment of staff and volunteers, Anglicare SA make a positive difference to the lives of over 47,000 elderly, homeless, unemployed and financially disadvantaged people every year. Caring for a broad range of people, this not-for-profit organisation offers a wide spectrum of services for all stages of life and its various challenges. Services include family support and community assistance, an autistic learning centre and a Aged Care Residential facilities.
AnglicareSA’s IT team is tasked with ensuring all the organisation’s systems are fully operational, that its customer information remains secure and that the 2,500 AnglicareSA employees and volunteers have the right access to their data to get their jobs done.
AnglicareSA, a primarily Microsoft Windows environment, planned to migrate to a Citrix virtual Desktop environment. To do this, the organisation determined it needed to centralise its data and maintain strict access controls. Teresa Barton, AnglicareSA’s support officer within the information and communication technology team explains, “Our system is currently extremely complex. We have a broad geographical spread and diverse service portfolio. In addition, the majority of our employees are not based on site. While we do have the facility for a handful of users to remote connect to our network, not everyone can but we know that this is the way things are moving for us.” Most of AnglicareSA’s case notes are stored in Word documents – what is typically termed as ‘unstructured’ data. Teresa adds, “To be able to control access we needed a way to govern that data and report on what was happening to it.”
With nothing available within its current systems to help address these challenges, AnglicareSA started exploring external options and through an existing advisor, Varonis was introduced. After a demo, DatAdvantage seemed to answer many of the challenges AnglicareSA faced, so the solution was installed and tested on a small set of core services. This test was invaluable as Teresa recalls, “It just happened that, during this proof of concept, someone maliciously moved some data and DatAdvantage spotted it right away. It was someone that had left who’d deleted data, and by running the report I could see what had happened and was able to rectify it. There was this major catastrophe averted just because we were testing the solution. DatAdvantage proved its worth immediately.”
Having successfully seen DatAdvantage in action, an installation was carried out across all 60 servers within AnglicareSA’s environment, adding one or two servers each week to ensure the project remained manageable. With every server monitored by DatAdvantage, every file touch and activity is stored within a database that is sortable and also searchable. Teresa explains how invaluable DatAdvantage is on a daily basis: “DatAdvantage is very good at pinpointing when someone has deleted or moved files.” Detailed information on every file event is provided, and Teresa can use this data to run reports and analyse results to identify anomalies.
Teresa continues, “There was one person that was ‘creatively’ tidying up files and we did a daily report on that person’s activities for a couple of weeks just to make sure that they weren’t tidying up the wrong stuff. You simply couldn’t keep an eye on them all the time manually. DatAdvantage collected what they’d deleted in the day, and if we saw something that shouldn’t have been, we could easily put it back and then raise it with their manager.”
As with any help desk, Teresa receives calls on a daily basis to help locate lost files. Rather than spending hours trying to find the file in AnglicareSA’s 60 servers, now she just runs a report in DatAdvantage and within minutes can pinpoint exactly what happened to the lost file.
The main driver for DatAdvantage’s introduction was to restructure AnglicareSA’s different security groups. Teresa uses its bi-directional permissions visibility to determine what security groups have access to what folders and files. By simply clicking on any user or group, everything they have access to turns green, in tandem instantly highlighting which users have access to that data. Instead of duplicating existing security groups, she can determine appropriate access on a case by case basis. Teresa imagines, “Varonis DatAdvantage will save months of work. I would have had to work my way through each and every server, opening every folder which is nested within other folders to work out all the various threads as often they have different securities within the files. Instead, I will simply run a report with a specific security group and what it has access to, then pull those results into an excel spreadsheet and work out what it should and shouldn’t have access to.”
Although the project is still in its infancy, Varonis’ Data Transport Engine is already instrumental in AnglicareSA’s data management processes. It securely and automatically archives data and migrates data across platforms, as Teresa explains, “We’ve recently started using online archives in exchange and we’re using DatAvantage to find these files – even in places such as ‘my documents’. This wasn’t something we’d initially intended to use Varonis for which is testament to its versatility.”
In conclusion, Teresa adds, “I find the system so user intuitive that it’s really easy to see new ways to use it to complete labour intensive tasks. On the rare occasion that I have had trouble finding what I’m looking for, Varonis has been really responsive. There was one report I wanted to run, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. I contacted the support team who asked me to send my question, via email, and within 30 minutes I had a technician on the line talking me through how to run the search. Fantastic.”
With DatAdvantage, rather than spending hours trying to find deleted or moved files, AnglicareSA can run a report in minutes which will pinpoint exactly who did what to which file and when.
Using DatAdvantage, AnglicareSA can simply run a report for each security group to help determine who should or shouldn’t have access before provisioning in the new virtual environment.