varonis_logo_2010.jpg Varonis (news, site)  has been dealing with unstructured data for a long time, so the extension of its DatAdvantage software to Microsoft Exchange is a logical move given the spread of Exchange deployments globally and the growing evidence that email management is still being neglected across most enterprises.

While recent research by AIM (news, site)  has shown that in terms of records management, emails are still causing major headaches, Varonis’ DatAdvantage for Exchange tackles one of the key areas where email is being neglected, notably email governance.

While it is probably unnecessary to emphasize how important governance is for compliance now, and how important it will become with more stringent regulations, one of the core elements of effective email governance is effective folder management and it is precisely this that Varonis says it can offer with DatAdvantage.

Automating Folder Governance

DatAdvantage for Exchange offers users automation of mundane tasks like mailbox access management, email tracking, access auditing and management of unused public folders, which apart from diluting a good deal of the risk associated with manual email management, also offers considerable time saving opportunities.

In practical terms, what this means is that DatAdvantages offers enterprises the ability not only to identify public folders floating around your Exchange system, but also identifies who owns them, what they are being used for and who has access to them.

Access is one of the areas that needs governance across all email systems and DatAdvantage also offers the possibility of identifying who actually needs to have access to what folders, and who should be excluded.

This reduces the risk of data going where it shouldn’t have any business going – including external destinations - and also makes administering email accounts considerably easier.

DatAdvantage for Exchange

So how does it do this? At the administrator end it applies Varonis’s Metadata Framework to public email folders alongside file services and SharePoint sites and all through the DatAdvantge UI.

From the UI and because many of the functions in DatAdvantge are automated, administrators are given activity patters across the entire platform that shows who owns what data as well as where active and inactive folders reside along with optimization processes that consolidate or migrate folders as needs be.

The result is that administrators can clean up shared mailboxes and delegate appropriate rights to those mailboxes, audit and track message activity and delete folders as required. Features include:

  • Permissions visibility: Offers views of mailboxes and users and groups that shows permissions, permission errors and improper permissions
  • Audit trails: Full audit trails with filters and sorting that shows when email was sent, by whom and to who as well as where and when it was opened
  • Permissions modelling: Enables administrators view different permissions scenarios before they are applied so as to avoid excessive permissions and disruptions when they are applied
  • Data storage: Identifies stale data and data that be deleted for minimizing storage costs.

Records Management and Email

Apply this to the problems identified by AIIM last week about records management and email. The research showed that while two thirds of companies have records management policies, many of them still have to define a policy on emails.

For those that do store emails, 18% are storing them on Exchange archives, but 9% are still keeping them on local drives. A further 5% print and file emails, while 16% have absolutely no policy at all.

Varonis’s DatAdvantage, apart from managing permissions, also identifies useful information contained in emails and those emails that can be deleted.

While this doesn’t constitute a complete records management policy in respect of emails, by identifying what is useful, where it is located and who owns it, DatAdvantage for Exchange should help companies formulate some kind of policy around emails and records management. Costing between US$ 8000 and US$ 12,000 it is available as of this week