Niagara College Leverages Qostodian Recon to Discover, Classify and Protect Student Data

Niagara College Leverages Qostodian Recon to Discover, Classify and Protect Student Data

Product

Industry

Education

Location

Ontario, Canada

The client

Niagara College Canada

Niagara College educates 9,000 full-time students, including more than 500 international students from more than 60 countries, and employs 600 faculty and staff. Their Continuing Education Division offers 600 courses yearly to 15,000 registrants.

Highlights

Highlights

The Challenge

To implement the underpinnings of a strong data governance program, an initiative was launched to discover all data on college servers, classify it according to security level, and clean the troves of data they manage.

The Challenge

To implement the underpinnings of a strong data governance program, an initiative was launched to discover all data on college servers, classify it according to security level, and clean the troves of data they manage.

The Solution

The team installed Qostodian Recon in minutes, and scanned hundreds of gigabytes in less than two hours. With Recon, they ran searches by specific data elements, and received results that fully contextualized the data

The Solution

The team installed Qostodian Recon in minutes, and scanned hundreds of gigabytes in less than two hours. With Recon, they ran searches by specific data elements, and received results that fully contextualized the data

The Results

Recon’s user-friendly reports were distributed directly to staff members in each department. The reports helped successfully drive a college-wide effort to improve data clarity and awareness, and implement control standards as data is migrated into the cloud.

The Results

Recon’s user-friendly reports were distributed directly to staff members in each department. The reports helped successfully drive a college-wide effort to improve data clarity and awareness, and implement control standards as data is migrated into the cloud.

The reports Recon delivers are logical, clear and easy to read. We quickly sorted through thousands of records, weeded out false positives, and made recommendations on where members of each department should focus their time.

-Claire Rosati, Associate Director, Project & Portfolio Office at Niagara College

The reports Recon delivers are logical, clear and easy to read. We quickly sorted through thousands of records, weeded out false positives, and made recommendations on where members of each department should focus their time.

-Claire Rosati, Associate Director, Project & Portfolio Office at Niagara College

The Challenge

Academic institutions such as Niagara College are storing more data than ever before. From collecting tuition to receiving alumni donations, cataloging interactions with campus police, and keeping track of visits to college-provided health services, academic institutions manage as much sensitive information as any modern business – if not more.

With two campuses, 23 departments, and thousands of domestic and international students, Niagara college staff is responsible for safeguarding personal data as it travels across servers, drives and email clients.

A frontrunner in data protection among academic institutions, Niagara´s Board of Directors (many of whom previously worked in banks and other industries sensitive to cyber risk) formed a data governance team to proactively manage their data security.

To allow for even greater controls to be enforced, the team launched an initiative to migrate the data they manage into the cloud. In order to prepare for the migration, the team prioritized three tasks: the discovery, classification and cleaning of the troves of data on the college’s servers

The Solution

While Niagara operates various data discovery tools to support PCI Compliance, none could satisfy the data governance team’s data discovery requirements.

According to Claire Rosati, Associate Director of the Project & Portfolio Office at Niagara College and program manager for the data governance efforts, “Looking at the audience that would need to take action on the data, the results from existing tools were not usable for us. It would require someone to go line by line, without the ability to sort by data type.”

Niagara College turned to a trusted resource for a recommendation on a more user-friendly tool. “We have a strong relationship with a top consulting firm, and they couldn’t say enough good things about the Qostodian Recon tool,” said Claire.

Within minutes, Claire’s team was able to install Recon and begin scanning data.

“Whereas our existing tools took days, Recon took less than six hours to scan several terabytes, and less than two hours for hundreds of gigabytes,” said Mat Steglinski, Senior Business Systems Analyst at Niagara College.

With Recon, Claire and Mat could run searches by specific data elements rather than files, and receive results that provided full context, placing every piece of information they needed to make an informed decision at their fingertips.

The Result

One of the data governance team’s main goals was to drive buy-in for the project across the college’s many functional areas. It was essential that reports were easily understandable and actionable to a wide variety of audiences.

“The results that Recon provides are something that anyone can use. The reports were logical, clear and easy to read. We were quickly able to sort through thousands of records, weed out false positives, and make recommendations on where members of each department should focus their time. We especially liked the ability to directly access the document in question in the results Recon provided,” said Claire.

Additionally, Claire and Mat found it helped them pick out the most critical issues to address. “Our functional team only has so much time to work on this. The data that’s in those results allows us to prioritize. Time is finite, and we were able to ensure that we focused on the items that were most important to us,” said Claire.

And, while data cleanup is challenging, Recon inspired confidence. “As a project manager, I’m happy that we have the results. I trust the results. They increase the chances of success of the entire data governance and migration project.”

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