In modern business and government, your data is your goldmine.
It adds value to your organization, shows your history of expertise, and is used to make insightful decisions on critical matters. Like an actual goldmine, your data must be both secure and accessible. Without the former, anyone can walk away with your wealth of knowledge. Without the latter, your data does nothing more than take up server space.
There are ways to balance the need to keep your data safe while making it searchable and accessible to the correct people within your organization.
Involve Data Managers
The first step in delivering secure yet accessible data is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your data landscape. Most organizations have multiple data repositories, controlled by different departmental groups, and it is critical to involve the content or repository owners from each area.
Whoever oversees SharePoint, Documentum, file shares and other secure repositories should be involved in this process. Each will approach security differently, and will have their own set of needs and level of paranoia about access security.
Once you have the repository owners on board, it is time to devise strategy. This includes deciding what documents to make searchable, understanding how often access rights change, and creating processes to ensure that content owners remain comfortable as the data landscape expands and evolves. If they are not comfortable with the plan, they will find ways, be they political or physical, to block access.
While this will take some time upfront, something that busy managers are loath to give, without it the company will suffer from much greater time and productivity lost down the road.
The next step is indexing data into the search engine in a way that captures not only document content and metadata, but also document-level security information such as Access Control Lists (ACLs).
This “pre-binding” security approach is the most effective way to ensure the correct person can access the relevant data at the exact moment they need it. It ensures that access via search results abides strictly by the security rules set by the repository owners. By having permissions embedded in the index, when Sarah runs a search query, the search engine knows exactly what data Sarah has permission to view and only presents her with those specific results.