Havas Media Group

How Varonis gives Havas Media control over data access and permissions, ensuring data security

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The Customer

Location: London, England

Industry: Media & Communications

Products: DatAdvantage for Windows

Havas Media is the media division of the global marketing and communications group Havas.

Varonis DatAdvantage helped us to get rid of the chaos, or what could have been chaos, that comes with figuring out permissions when companies are acquired under a new brand. Varonis helped make the transition much smoother. In IT, it’s a common problem to deal with permissions that seem correct, but don’t filter down properly, so you get a lot of helpdesk calls from users who can’t access what they think they should be able to. Varonis’ ability to find inconsistencies using visual indicators has been a huge help, and errors have been greatly reduced.

John Clark – group network manager, Havas Media Group

Business Requirements

Visibility into user and group permissions: With so much unstructured data spanning multiple companies after a buyout, Havas Media needed a solution that could help it efficiently facilitate user data access and file access permissions across the company as it grows.

Easy control over data access and permissions: Havas Media needs to ensure on an ongoing basis that only the right employees have access to the appropriate client data.

Ensure data security: With a growing number of high profile brands on its client roster, Havas must be prepared to prove that its data is secure.

The Varonis Solution

When multiple media companies were merged under the Havas Media Group brand, John Clark, group network manager at Havas Media Group, quickly realised that distinguishing the permissions for the various companies’ data wasn’t going to be an easy task. Clark came across Varonis DatAdvantage for Windows at an exhibition, where he “saw it, liked it and wanted to implement it.”

According to Clark, who previously worked for Media Planning Ltd., a company acquired by Havas Media Group, “Because we had been bought out, and combined with three other companies, sorting out all of the permissions for the different companies’ data was an enormous challenge. To get it right, we needed some sort of solution to help us do it − Varonis fit the bill and has done a good job.”

Havas Media manages DatAdvantage internally across two data centers that serve five locations worldwide and are comprised of 130 terabytes of data in a NetApp environment. With over 650 users needing access to different client information, the biggest threat to that data is incorrect file permissions ­− and controlling data access is no easy feat.

DatAdvantage features that appealed to Havas Media’s IT team include:

  • DatAdvantage makes it easy to see who’s doing what by tracking and monitoring file activity, analyzing user behavior and reporting on all activity happening on file servers, making permissions management straightforward.
  • With DatAdvantage, Havas Media can intelligently identify and govern who owns and can access which data, create alerts, and report on activity which satisfies all client requests.
  • Varonis DatAdvantage combines user and group information taken directly from Active Directory with the permissions metadata on their file systems to deliver a complete picture of the organisation’s access control landscape.
  • Using this intelligence, DatAdvantage can automatically highlight users and groups that are inactive, redundant, or unnecessary and highlight areas where permissions can be safely reduced. This allows Havas Media to quickly troubleshoot problems, reduce risk, and answer questions about who can access data, which is extremely important when it comes to some of its higher profile clients.
  • DatAdvantage monitors every touch of every file on the file system, normalizes, processes, and stores them in a normalized database so that they are quickly sortable and searchable. Detailed information for every file event is provided; all data can be reported on and provided to data owners. Data collection does not require native object success auditing on Windows.

Havas Media Group implemented DatAdvantage in less than half a day, and over the next six months the data access permissions were sorted and corrected. Clark pointed out that he found the Varonis support team to be excellent, stating that it is “one of the best support companies I’ve ever come across.”

Results

Chaos Avoided

“Varonis DatAdvantage helped us to get rid of the chaos, or what could have been chaos, that comes with figuring out permissions when companies are acquired under a new brand. Varonis helped make the transition much smoother,” Clark explained. “In IT, it’s a common problem to deal with permissions that seem correct, but don’t filter down properly, so you get a lot of helpdesk calls from users who can’t access what they think they should be able to. Varonis’ ability to find inconsistencies using visual indicators has been a huge help, and errors have been greatly reduced.”

Reduced Possibility of Insider Threats

“With Varonis, we can prove that people don’t have access to data they shouldn’t have access to. Clients often require proof of who has access to their data and who has touched their data, making it harder to look after, so Varonis has helped us to automate the permissions process while giving our clients peace of mind that their data is safe,” said Clark. “DatAdvantage gives us an advantage over the competition when we pitch new clients.”

Improved Productivity

By using DatAdvantage, Havas Media Group significantly reduced the time it takes for the IT team to find out who is accessing, using, and deleting information from its Windows environments. This not only helps improve security, it also decreases the time it takes to conduct internal audits and create reports and, last but certainly not least, gives its clients peace of mind that their data is secure.

Clark also pointed out that the company continues to grow and that it has plans to move at least 80% of its infrastructure to the cloud. With so much unstructured data moving around and being put in different environments, Clark realized that it would be “hard to find and even harder to police,” however, with help from DatAdvantage, he and his team are confident the transition will be much easier.

“Changing security privileges on large amounts of unstructured data can cause all sorts of havoc, especially if a mistake is made. But being able to avoid mistakes by testing changes before implementing them obviously causes less stress on the company, especially the IT department. Varonis DatAdvantage has been very good at helping us do this.”

In the future, Havas Media’s IT team hopes to implement Varonis DataPrivilege to improve the way file access is granted to individuals; doing so will take some burden off the IT team who would otherwise have to do it manually. With DataPrivilege, access is granted directly via the data owner, rather than IT personnel. Clark is also trialing DatAnswers with Havas Media’s new business team, which will help them to quickly find documents and search files a lot faster. Finally, Havas Media is also considering Varonis Data Classification Framework to help its Chief Data Officer understand where the company’s riskiest data is.

“I am very pleased with Varonis DatAdvantage, and hope to plant seeds that will grow from acorns to oaks when it comes to implementing other products in the Varonis suite,” concluded Clark.

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Varonis Risk Assessments quickly show you where your most vulnerable data is stored, who is accessing it, and what needs to be done to secure it. Find out more here.