Empowering Business Owners to Govern Access to Unstructured Data

Challenge

The City of Greater Sudbury is the largest municipality by land area in Ontario, and the second largest in Canada. Its diverse population of 160,000 residents consists of 30% who are Franco-Ontarian. Having a large geography relative to its population presents unique challenges. With 160 locations in its network, efficiency is crucial for the city’s IT staff who manage 2,000 full-time users. Security is also a top priority. With city employees frequently changing jobs to grow their careers, IT was having a hard time keeping up with user access requests to file shares.

Work orders that should have taken 15 minutes were taking much longer as IT worked to get email approval from users’ managers. Divisions such as Finance with sensitive information were regularly calling IT to ask for reports regarding who had access to its data. However, most divisions were not immediately notifying IT when people switched roles or left the organization, making it difficult to generate accurate reports.

Jim Dolson, Manager of Hardware and Technology at the City of Greater Sudbury, realized he needed to give division managers a way to see who had access to their data and resources. He also wanted to enable them to grant users access—and perform periodic entitlement reviews—to ensure employees have access to the information they need.


Solution

With StealthAUDIT and its Access Information Center (AIC), Dolson and his team are giving managers this complete view into user rights and permissions, as well as the ability to review and provision user access requests. They worked with STEALTHbits professional services for a week to implement StealthAUDIT and fine-tune its performance to meet city requirements.

Using StealthAUDIT’s probable business owner analytics, Scott Boulet, a Senior Support Technician on Dolson’s team, has identified 70 data owners across divisions who will be responsible for granting user access to 400 file shares. Boulet started deploying StealthAUDIT in the Water and Wastewater Services and Finance Divisions since both wanted a bird’s-eye view into user access. We’ve had a positive response from data share owners who want to stay on top of folder access and do their own reviews. We found that meeting with data owners to walk them through how to use StealthAUDIT has made them a lot more comfortable. They realize how much more efficient it’s going to be.”


Benefits

The City of Greater Sudbury is about halfway through implementing StealthAUDIT and is already realizing a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced IT and Business Workload - By enabling data owners in the divisions to review and provision access to their file shares, help desk professionals no longer need to serve as the middleman between users and managers. Since provisioning takes place via automated, online workflows, both IT and division managers save time by no longer having to manage the process manually.

  • Improved User Experience and Productivity - By enabling users to request file share access online and receive approval in minutes or hours rather than weeks, they have a much better experience and are more productive due to having the information they need to do their jobs.

  • Faster Remediation of Access Issues - By using automated reports to see at a glance where users’ effective access is coming from, IT saves countless hours they would have spent sifting through orphaned groups, nested groups, and other toxic Active Directory conditions trying to figure it out. This enables IT staff to fix access issues quickly.

  • Increased Security and Efficiency - By implementing StealthAUDIT, the city can now govern data access across its 160 locations, gaining instant visibility to make needed access changes when employees are hired, change jobs, or leave. This capability has enhanced its security posture and operational efficiency.

Dolson comments, “We’re always looking for creative and efficient ways to enhance our data protection. In order to do that, we have to know who has access to our data, how they got that access, and which data owners are responsible for ensuring only the right people get access. Solutions like StealthAUDIT are the way of the future because they give us an efficient way to accomplish these tasks and maintain an audit trail.”


STEALTHbits Partnership

The City of Greater Sudbury is pleased with the flexibility the STEALTHbits team gave them to optimize StealthAUDIT for their IT environment. They’re also very happy with the responsiveness they receive from STEALTHbits support.

Recently, the City and STEALTHbits co-presented at the Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA) InfoSec 2016 Conference and received very positive feedback from participants. The City of Greater Sudbury is looking into ways they can leverage more of the solutions STEALTHbits offers to further enhance security and efficiency.


In Brief:

  • Largest municipality by land area in Ontario and the 2nd largest in Canada

  • 160 network locations and 2,000 users

  • Uses StealthAUDIT’s Access Information Center (AIC) to give 70 managers a complete view of user rights and permissions, and the ability to provision user access to 400 file shares

Quotes:

  • “We’ve had a positive response from data share owners who want to stay on top of folder access and do their own reviews. They realize how much more efficient it’s going to be.”

  • “Solutions like StealthAUDIT are the way of the future because they give us an efficient way to accomplish these tasks and maintain an audit trail.”