Digging up the dirt on data discovery

11th November 2019BlogRob Batters

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In this blog post, Northdoor explains how the number and variety of data repositories can make it difficult for organisations to track how and where personal data is stored, and how this poses a challenge in relation to data privacy and data protection regulations. The blog introduces GeoLang’s Ascema Platform for Sensitive Data Discovery and the joint GeoLang-Northdoor service offering.


Where’s my data?

Tracking down personally identifiable information can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. With data typically stored across myriad repositories—from on-premises endpoints, servers and external drives to cloud applications and cloud storage—most organisations cannot pinpoint where or how personal information is stored.

This is a particular concern in light of tightening data privacy and data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which give individuals greater power over their personal data, including the legal right to access, amend or delete personal information held by organisations.

But don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!

Northdoor has been around for 30 years. In that time, we’ve accumulated extraordinary volumes of personal data, spread across innumerable PDFs, Word documents, databases, file systems, cloud applications, email archives and dozens of other repositories.

We understand the challenges around locating and managing personal information only too well. That’s why we have partnered with GeoLang, an award-winning cybersecurity solution provider, to provide a world-class data discovery service.

Tried-and-tested, trusted solution

We had been looking for a solution to address our data discovery needs for more than a year. Most products were tricky to install, needed considerable compute resources to run, and took far too long to scan and process data. Then Rob Batters, Director of Managed & Technical Services here at Northdoor, was introduced to Ascema.

The Ascema Platform for Sensitive Data Discovery uses built-in machine-learning algorithms to identify, protect, and report on personal data across the corporate infrastructure, both inside and outside the enterprise firewall, including cloud deployments.

Unlike other products that we had looked at, the GeoLang solution covered pretty much every file type we could throw at it. The installation—a simple manager/endpoint agent deployment—was very straightforward. A powerful search function, real-time alerts and executive summary reports (known as “HERO reports”) have given us a complete and comprehensive overview of sensitive data across the enterprise for the first time.

Ascema has cemented its position as a must-have tool at Northdoor—one we are delighted to be able to share with our clients.

Taking back control

The Ascema Platform forms the basis of a joint data discovery service offering that combines GeoLang’s world-class software with expert Northdoor consultancy.

Available as either a one-off scan or a continuous monthly, quarterly or annual service, a team of Northdoor consultants install the Ascema software at client sites, run the scan and compile the results in HERO reports. These reports provide detailed information on the types of data found, where it resides, whether it should be considered ‘sensitive’, and therefore whether the results constitute compliance with a framework standard like the GDPR. This insight enables organisations to take proactive steps to remediate potential risks and non-compliance.

We have plenty of real-world experience using the solution to satisfy our own data privacy and protection policies and are eager to use this knowledge to support client deployments. The Ascema Platform has helped us to take control of our data. We can help you do the same.

For more information on how Northdoor can help you stay on top of your data, contact us today.

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