Low Cost U.S. Airline

How a U.S. Airline Successfully Navigates Data Turbulence With Varonis DatAdvantage

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The Customer

Location: U.S.

Industry: Aviation / Transportation

Product: Varonis DatAdvantage for Windows

A Domestic Low Cost Airline in the U.S.

Where do you begin when you have piles and piles of data Varonis has helped us efficiently organize and assign data ownership. We can now better keep an eye on who should have access and why–we were able to cut permissions back by about 80%. Having this clarity has made us more agile. Our business divisions are more aware than ever of the important role they play in regards to the security of our corporate data. I’m pleased as punch with DatAdvantage.

– Airline’s Windows Systems Engineer

Business Requirements

Reduce Risk

The IT team at a domestic airline company in the U.S. set out to find a solution that could help them identify risky information sitting on internal servers, and at the same time make sure that employees only have access to data that’s relevant to them.

For example, if you’re a member of the safety team, to which data should you have access? According to a member of the airline’s IT staff, “That’s nearly impossible to decipher without some way of parsing through all of the unstructured data that we had. The only other way we could find out was to guess, which wouldn’t be a practical approach, particularly since people move around on different projects.”

Another goal of the company’s identity and access management project was to streamline the business process of HR activities such as on-boarding and offboarding employees, hiring, rehiring, etc.

Compliance
In addition to employee data, a great deal of the company’s corporate data is comprised of information related to the many regulations outlined by NASA and the FAA with which the company must comply. This includes maintenance records, weight and balance, pilot and crew data information. A repair manual for an MV80 aircraft, the airline is required to keep and account for every version. Any airline data related to security reports, safety reports, and safety manuals must first be reviewed by the FAA.Another goal of the company’s identity and access management project was to streamline the business process of HR activities such as on-boarding and off-boarding employees, hiring, rehiring, etc.

Why Varonis?

Varonis DatAdvantage for Windows ensures that only the right airline employees have access to the right data at all times, all access is monitored, and abuse is flagged, thereby reducing the risk of exposure.

The solution was of particular interest to the airline because it provides a complete, bi-directional view into the permissions structure of unstructured and semi-structured file systems.

“Where do you begin when you have piles and piles of data? Varonis has helped us efficiently organize and assign data ownership. We can now better keep an eye on who should have access and why–we were able to cut permissions back by about 80%. Having this clarity has made us more agile. Our business divisions are more aware than ever of the important role they play in regards to the security of our corporate data. I’m pleased as punch with DatAdvantage,” said the airline’s Windows Systems Engineer.

A Manager of Systems Engineering at the airline, added, “We were able to justify the Varonis purchase because overall we knew it would reduce risk of internal and external threats to our most critical assets. Having the complete assurance that our data is where it’s supposed to be is a great feeling and saves us a lot of time and energy. In this day and age threats are always a possibility, but with Varonis our concerns have been greatly diminished.”

Many of the airline’s records are proprietary and therefore must remain private. With DatAdvantage, the airline will always know who has access to this data and why. It can also show the airline when a file was edited and by whom – having this level of detail is critical because when a document is updated, even if the edit is only a typo correction, the company must resubmit the file to the FAA. Having this capability alleviated one of thebiggest bottlenecks as they no longer need to spend valuable time on figuring out which file version is the correct one to share with the FAA.

Results

Improved Productivity

With Varonis, day-to-day tasks such as access controls are more straightforward and efficient: DatAdvantage’s access, workflows, and revision control features helped the company to refine its groups, many of which the airline found out during the evaluation process were empty. There were several instances in which folders were set up with three levels of access, so they had three groups – read, write, modify, for example. With DatAdvantage, the IT team can search for empty groups, delete them, and set clear policies and access awareness for important group folders.

Manual Reviews Are a Thing of the Past

Before DatAdvantage, it would have taken the airline months to conduct a manual review of all of its data. The process would have involved going through all the access control lists, go through all the groups, figure out who was in the group, then what department they were in. Then go figure out, talk to the department heads, that’s what you would have had to do.

The Benefits Provided by DatAdvantage Freed Up Time for the IT Team to Focus on Other Areas of the Business

According to the Windows Systems Engineer, “DatAdvantage freed up months of my life. I can now get more involved in other projects. Overall it’s had a positive impact on our Windows team, help desk, and network operations center – basically anyone who touches the file shares on our side, now has more time to dedicate elsewhere because they’re not having to do all of the legwork previously required of them.”

Reduced Risk
Almost instantaneously, DatAdvantage gave the airline’s IT department the insight it needed to effectively limit employee access to sensitive information without sacrificing company productivity.

DatAdvantage also helped the IT team to quickly identify data owners and put them in charge of the access and monitoring of their data, a crucial tool from IT’s perspective, as they had previously struggled to communicate with employees to help identify accurate data files for compliance purposes.

Identify Stale Data = Reduced Storage Costs

A reduction in storage costs was an additional (and unexpected) benefit realized by the company. Installing DatAdvantage opened the IT team’s eyes to a vast amount of stale, irrelevant data on their servers, and they were able to archive or delete nearly 10% of the company’s data instantaneously. This freed up valuable storage space, saving the company money and time.

The Manager of Systems Engineering continued, “While our main focus was data management, a really nice benefit from Varonis software was our new ability to save expensive storage space. There is no practical way to go through thousands of home folders by hand, and Varonis DatAdvantage notified us that there were several instances of employees storing unnecessary data that they were likely not even aware of. This also served as a great opportunity for employee education in how to safely and appropriately store data.”