Greenhill & Co.

How Greenhill ensures only authorized users has access

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The Customer

Location: New York, NY

Industry: Financial & Banking

Products: DatAdvantage

Greenhill & Co., Inc. (NYSE: GHL) is a leading independent investment bank focused on providing financial advice on significant mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, financings and capital raisings to corporations, partnerships, institutions and governments.  The company was established in 1996 by Robert F. Greenhill, the former President of Morgan Stanley and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Smith Barney.

We liked DatAdvantage because it told us right away the access rights that certain folders had, which people had access to those folders, where the content was moving to, and if that access should be tightened.

– John Shaffer, CIO, Greenhill & Co.

The Challenge

As the CIO of Greenhill & Co., Inc., John Shaffer sought a data governance solution that could provide visibility into employee access rights, and identify areas of overly permissive access. Additionally, Shaffer’s team needed a way to determine when content was moved or deleted, how it was being used, and by whom.

Trying to manually manage and protect information for a global company like Greenhill can be time-consuming, ineffective and error prone. Shaffer’s team needed automated analysis of the organization’s permissions structure to more efficiently determine which files and folders required owners.  This included having the ability to analyze actual access activity to identify likely data owners.

Further, managing access and permissions to sensitive information was a significant challenge. For example, Shaffer’s team was often unable to determine the impact that a change in access might have until productivity became impacted.

Evaluation Parameters

Shaffer became familiar with Varonis when the company was moving its data to network storage appliances. Given Varonis’ existing partnership with NetApp, a colleague recommended DatAdvantage as an option to manage and automate its access and permissions rights.

“We liked DatAdvantage because it told us right away the access rights that certain folders had, which people had access to those folders, where the content was moving to, and if that access should be tightened.”

Having dynamic, cross-functional teams accessing data sets in numerous locations can be difficult if not impossible for IT to determine who has access, needs access, who’s accessing, and who owns the data. Further, managing permissions across multiple platforms such as file systems, NAS devices, SharePoint sites and email systems can be a daunting task– especially given that most data auditing, classification, ownership identification and access control solutions are just now evolving to the same place search was 10 years ago.

The Solution

“There was a certain ‘coolness factor’ to Varonis,” Shaffer explains. “People always want to blame the computer for human errors – this offers proof of where documents were being moved to and by whom.”

Varonis DatAdvantage automates access and permission management for unstructured and semi-structured data on file systems, NAS devices, SharePoint site and Exchange mailboxes. The software provides visibility into existing access controls and data usage, and makes recommendations for tightening up access and group membership. DatAdvantage also provides customers with the ability to model or sandbox permissions and group membership changes before permanently committing to them without impacting productivity.

“Varonis proved to be a useful tool to determine proper Windows rights and tighten them up accordingly,” said Shaffer. “Plus, it allows us to test access change scenarios before actually implementing them, which is incredibly valuable for our team.”

Shaffer has used Varonis DatAdvantage for nearly six years and notes that the installation and upgrades were “painless.”

His team is currently looking to expand their deployment with Varonis DatAdvantage for Exchange, which provides ongoing Exchange management tasks such as mailbox access management and consolidation, email activity tracking, access auditing and stale public folder and mailbox identification. By automating the way Greenhill performs daily Exchange management tasks, DatAdvantage for Exchange can deliver up to a 70 percent time-savings.

Business Benefits

Visibility of Greenhill Data Usage

Greenhill uses the reporting capabilities within DatAdvantage to provide comprehensive views of data utilization and authorization levels across shared files and archives.

Adaptive Authorizations

DatAdvantage provides Greenhill with an understanding of what data users are actually accessing and using, and offers recommendations about access privileges without creating unnecessary or potentially damaging changes.

Actionable Data Intelligence

Varonis captures every file access event (open, create, delete, modify, move, etc.) by every person accessing the monitored data, allowing Greenhill to quickly manage and monitor event anomalies around sensitive data.