Central Connecticut State University

How CCSU Intelligently Empowers Professors and Staff with Control Over Data Access 

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The Customer

Location: New Britain, CT

Industry: Education

Products: DatAdvantage for Windows, DataPrivilege

Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) is a regional, public university dedicated to liberal arts, sciences, and education. Founded in 1849 CCSU is Connecticut’s oldest publicly supported institution of higher education.

Once we showed everyone that they could now manage these permissions themselves without calling the IT help desk and with almost an immediate turnaround, most employees became proponents of Varonis’ DatAdvantage and DataPrivilege solutions and are thrilled to utilize them.

Rick Johnson, Systems Administrator, CCSU

Business Requirements

The Data Permissions Process Was Slow and Painful: Every six months the university’s IT team was required to report on who had access to what file shares – the process the school had in place was inefficient and frustrating. With student employees moving in and out of the university every year, and academic departments constantly shifting, understanding access privileges and ensuring that the right people did or did not have access was essential, but running these reports on a regular basis just wasn’t feasible. CCSU’s IT team needed a solution that could be trusted to automate the process for them.

Protecting Sensitive Data While Meeting Compliance Requirements: In addition to automating file permissions workflow process for IT and data owners, CCSU also wanted to establish a faster and more productive audit process, and of course feel confident that university data is secured from internal and external data breaches. The ideal solution would be able to notify them of any holes in the permissions structure, as well inform them of any employees who have access to more data than they need to do their job.

The Solution

The search led CCSU’s IT team to Varonis Systems, Inc. and its DatAdvantage for Windows and DataPrivilege solutions.

  • DatAdvantage ensures that only the right people have access to the right data at all times, monitors all activity, and flags abuse.
  • DataPrivilege gives business users the ability to easily review, grant, and revoke access through an easy-to-use web application.

Results

CCSU is now able to put control over file access in the hands of data owners, such as academic professors or supervisors, eliminating much of the burden previously placed on their team. They are also able to run fast reports that allow them to keep an eye on these access privileges, and ensure that no one is getting access to data that they do not need.

Faster, Precise Data Permissions

With DatAdvantage, CCSU IT can easily identify everyone at the University who has access to each folder and alter those permissions if necessary. File activity is logged in a single interface for their IT team, providing a window into who has the access to data, who has accessed it, and when. With DataPrivilege operating in tandem with DatAdvantage, CCSU is able to take an important, and – for their team – crucial, step further. DataPrivilege gives business users (CCSU professors and general employees) the ability to review, grant, and revoke access to folders that they oversee through an easy-to-use web application.

According to Rick Johnson, Systems Administrator at CCSU, “One of the biggest complaints we get at CCSU, as is the case at most universities, is about the amount of time that it takes for individuals’ file access rights to get removed after they leave or switch departments, or for new people to get access. Once we showed everyone that they could now manage these permissions themselves without calling the IT help desk and with almost an immediate turnaround, employees became proponents of the Varonis software and are happy to utilize it. No one understands the nature of their data better than a data owner, and placing the access management in their hands has made this process incredibly easier for us.”

Mitigating Risk with a Least-Privilege Access Model

Beyond improving the permissions workflow for IT and data owners, DatAdvantage and DataPrivilege also give CCSU’s IT team peace of mind in the security of the sensitive data that resides in these files. By allowing CCSU IT to conduct frequent, fast audits on data access, the software keeps them abreast of any holes in the permissions structure and any employees who have access more data than they need to do their job. Eliminating these excess permissions greatly reduces the risk of accidental or intentional leakage of any sensitive data.

According to Donna Stevenson, Operations and Database Support Specialist at CCSU, “In today’s world, we really have to understand our data and who is responsible for it in order to keep it secure, and placing access management in the hands of data owners with Varonis DataPrivilege has made this process incredibly easier for us.”