How I Freed Up Storage at the Speed of SaaS

By Martin Male, CIO |  Storage, SAN

While most companies cannot afford on-premise data governance solutions, the SaaS delivery model cuts out many of the inherent challenges. We chose the SaaS-based Aprigo NINJA data governance solution for its ease of setup and use. This solution quickly scanned through all of our files' metadata and provided us with the following file information: size of folders in the environment; stale files that could be deleted to push out storage upgrades; and data that didn't belong on the network such as IM, iTunes or other personal applications.

From there, we were able to confidently eliminate redundant or outdated files to free up the server capacity.

SaaS also enabled us to have centralized remote management in a distributed environment. We installed a single application client at each of our locations and they all reported back critical resource management information, to provide us the unified file management visibility we needed in an easy-to-read dashboard. It literally took us a few minutes to be fully operational. The project to eliminate files was done in a day.

4. Centralized Rights Management Boosts Productivity

While it was great to solve our immediate capacity management problem, our newfound visibility into our infrastructure showed that we had inadequate access rights management on some confidential files.

Let's do some quick IT math: the average terabyte has 5 million files with the average storage infrastructure storing 1.5 terabytes. This means that my small team is responsible for more than 60 million files spread across eight separate sites. The YK1 IT team needs to ensure that files, folders and shares that belong to the staff and teachers are well protected and not accessible by students. Given the fact that that data is created by the end-users themselves, and with the same end users changing permissions and granting rights, we often lacked the necessary visibility and control.

Managing access management rights puts us in a vulnerable position should any YK1 employee either decide to go rogue or, what is more common, simply forget to set the appropriate level of protection. To safeguard ourselves, we had to manually go through folders to make sure they were not exposed to the "Everyone" group. Understanding who has access to sensitive folders required us to go back and forth between the file system and Active Directory documenting things in Excel. Even then we would get a static view that was soon out-of date. Our SaaS-based data governance solution changed that because it allowed us to quickly view several user and file access properties including: what is accessible to whom; which folders are exposed to the 'Everyone' and 'Domain Users' groups; and which folders have explicit permissions for users, breaking role-based access control.

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