How Arnold ensures employee data access rights are always aligned with the business organization

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The Customer

Location: Boston, MA

Industry: Communications

Products: DatAdvantage

Arnold Worldwide is a highly creative communications agency focused on strong business results for large, national brands like truth®, TAG, Fidelity Investments, ESPN, Jack Daniel’s, Hershey’s, Amtrak and Ocean Spray.  Arnold is owned by Havas (Nasdaq: HAVS) (Euronext Paris: HAV.PA) and represents one of the lead agencies in the system, with three fully integrated service offices in the U.S.: the Boston headquarters, New York, Washington.

Varonis DatAdvantage gives us a better picture of how we are using the individual shares on the servers. Armed with this knowledge we can better plan for growth and resource utilization.

– Greg Folsom, CIO, Arnold Worldwide

The Challenge

Arnold Worldwide makes a commitment to its clients that the highest levels of information privacy will be maintained within the organization at all times. Since the nature of advertising services is such that Arnold employees have access to detailed product information and positioning and by extension the competitive advantage, of their client offerings, it is imperative that Arnold not only control and monitor access to proprietary data but that any work generated by Arnold on behalf of the client is also treated as highly confidential and valuable.

As Arnold’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Greg Folsom has the ultimate responsibility for delivering client data protection. Mr. Folsom’s department’s responsibilities include equipment and technology sourcing, server maintenance, email archival, disaster recovery planning and implementation and data management. What he is most proud of however, is his department’s charter to maintain the highest levels of client services through evaluation and leverage of emerging technologies.

So when it came to overhauling the way that auditing access to file share data was being handled, Mr. Folsom regretted to admit that it that was largely ad-hoc. “We did not conduct detailed audits unless there was a specific question regarding access or something unexpected happened with our servers requiring us to dig deeper,” said Mr. Folsom. “We did all of this manually and even then could only get partial visibility to the access event detail. Of course this situation was unacceptable, but there was no good alternative. Without an automated solution, real-time server monitoring would have been too much for even three people to perform.”

Evaluation Parameters

Arnold was originally looking for a solution that would give full visibility and detailed reporting on how client data on file shares was being accessed and by whom. It was of paramount importance that this information be available on demand and for all data access events without material impact to file server performance. “Based on our research we knew that DatAdvantage could fill these audit information gaps nicely for us. But during the evaluation process, we quickly figured out that the added power of DatAdvantage could save us time and open up an entirely new set of capabilities including the timely revocation of access privileges once a client engagement or project is concluded.”

The Solution

Arnold Worldwide chose Varonis DatAdvantage for the company’s file server auditing needs. The goals that precipitated the purchase were quickly met and exceeded. Arnold now uses the software to better manage who has access to files and to identify the most and least active user accounts. Key Arnold IT staff receive regular reports from Varonis DatAdvantage on which data has not been accessed for a given time span. Team members also receive reports flagging rigorous user activity that exceeds observed thresholds like the names of individuals who are copying large amounts of files to or from the file servers.

Arnold also now proactively manages access controls in a highly dynamic environment. Their internally mobile account staff receives access only to the data they need and only for the duration required by the business engagement, ensuring employee data access rights are always aligned with the business organization. “It gives us a better picture of how users were using the individual shares on the servers,” says Greg Folsom, CIO of Arnold Worldwide. “Armed with this knowledge we can better plan for growth and resource utilization. With the mounting costs of managing SAN based storage and backups, it allows us to target infrequently used data onto less costly storage.”

When it comes to return on investment for the Varonis product, Greg notes that a final figure would have to account for a number of factors including efficiencies in use of storage, time savings in generating data use reports as well as risk reduction by conducting timely permissions revocations. “At the end of the day it allows us to concentrate on other IT initiatives that move the company forward. That in and of itself is invaluable.”

Business Benefits

Strict access control

Advertising giant Arnold Worldwide commits to its clients that the only Arnold employees accessing client information are the team members approved to do so for their jobs. Varonis DatAdvantage not only enables Arnold to fulfill this promise, but also provides them with the reporting tools to substantiate it, giving IT teams visibility into who is accessing each file and folder and whether the file has been opened, renamed, deleted or created.

Timely user account removal

Arnold Account personnel often have need for temporary access to client information. Once the project is complete team members may be reassigned to other projects or clients. This means that the prior access needs are no longer valid. Varonis DatAdvantage monitors and analyzes user to file access patterns, and recommends revocations on the basis of that analysis.

Actionable Auditing

Arnold’s strict internal controls mandate detailed data use auditing and a record of all access. This record needs to be available on demand and without disrupting file server performance and availability. Varonis DatAdvantage enables Arnold to monitor all data and/or selected files, folders and individuals as situation and information sensitivity demands.