With unstructured data still causing serious headaches for enterprises, Quest has upgraded its Quest One solution suite to include Quest One Identity Manager Data Governance Edition, which specifically targets unstructured data by tightly controlling who has access to enterprise data.

Quest's Data Governance

In a pre-release briefing, Quest told us that the new governance component offers better control over information by giving data owners the power to decide who has access to data.

Quest understands data in the context of this release as documents, images, spreadsheets, presentations, PDFs, videos and other content. Unstructured data is data that does not fit existing business environment data models. The amount of this data in enterprises is exploding, causing big problems.

There is a subtle difference here with traditional data access controls where, normally, those controls are administered by IT. However, with this new component, control is given to the data owners along with the ability to analyze, approve and fulfill access requests to files, folders and shares across NTFS, NAS devices as well as SharePoint.

While that all sounds very complicated, the process is automated so that the request-and-approval workflows happen automatically, taking the burden of such decisions out of the hands of IT.

Before taking a quick look at some research on unstructured data that Quest has carryied out in recent months, let’s take a look at some of the features.

Identity Manager Data Governance Edition

Apart from the fact that the control of data has been handed over to the people that own the data, it also provides data owners and content creators with dashboards to view trends, understand histories and see current data access activity.

It also enables data governance based not only on policies outlined by management, but also based on the information that has been discovered by the solution offering answers to problems like who owns data in a share. Specifically, features include:

  • Restricted Access: Easy definition of access policies for organizations to ensure that sensitive unstructured data is on restricted access even in file shares.
  • Data Owner Assignment: Determines the ownership of data for all future data access requests.
  • Simplified Auditing: Monitoring of access to data through identities.
  • Automated Access Requests: Built-in workflows that automatically direct access requests from the portal to the appropriate data owner.
  • Access Verification: Ensures proper access to the right data with data access. This changes when the status of the data user changes.

Unstructured Data Problems

That the Quest One Identity Manager Data Governance Edition has been released, just as Quest has finished compiling some new research that covers all aspects of data governance is no coincidence.

While the report on unstructured data will not be released for a couple of weeks yet, some of the initial findings are significant, including the fact that for 86 percent of organizations the security of unstructured data is a top priority. More than half of those interviewed believe that between 50 percent and 100 percent of the data in their enterprise is unstructured.

Despite this, the research shows that only 15 percent of enterprises are confident they would be able to track data back to the appropriate owners. Even worse, they have no effective way of determining who possesses what information, or where information is stored.

In many companies there is also undue pressure on IT departments to regulate data, with 58 percent of enterprises saying that responsibility for "approvals" to access data is handled not by the owner of the data, but by IT.

The result is that more than two thirds of enterprises (68 percent) say that once a request for access has been submitted, it can take up to half a day for access to be granted -- or refused -- which in current business environments is not really acceptable.

We’ll have more on this research when if is finally released, but in the meantime, Quest One Data Governance Edition is available now and is priced at US$ 35 per seat in the US.