What is Data Access Governance? 

The term “Data Access Governance” has been getting mentioned prominently in security articles and reports – especially in the last five years. With such attention, many wonder what Data Access Governance means exactly, and how it differs from similarly sounding terminology. 

As with many technical terms, definitions among analysts, vendors, research organizations, and users tend to vary somewhat, but this definition from Gartner is succinct and somewhat easy to understand: “Data access governance (DAG) provides data access assessment, management and real-time monitoring capabilities for the unstructured and semi-structured data found in file repositories.”1 The objective of Data Access Governance then, is securing the access of file-based data – also known as structured and semi-structured data – through tools that report on and manage access permissions.  

We’re all familiar with the privacy regulations that mandate that personal identifiable information (PII) is kept secure and private. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) for example, was enacted to protect the privacy of patients’ health information. Data Access Governance has a similar objective of protecting sensitive and high-value data from unauthorized access.  

While structured data stored as records in application databases tends to include PII, unstructured data stored as word processing files, spreadsheets, presentations, media, and many other file types, can include legal, financial, strategic, and confidential proprietary information that needs to be protected from unauthorized access. And while there might not be regulations that mandate the protection of access to unstructured data, a security breach to high-value unstructured data can have catastrophic results to a business. 

Condrey Corporation addresses the objectives of Data Access Governance through the integration of its Galileo and Senergy products. Galileo identifies the unstructured data being stored by an organization and who has access to the data, where it is stored, who owns it, and if it is properly secured. Then Senergy provides the means of remediation through policies that can move files to a more secure location, restrict high-value targets from having access permissions changed, report on access attempts of high-value targets by unauthorized users, and much more. 

 1Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Data Security, 2019,” July 2019, ID:G00369064