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StealthSEEK is a cost effective data discovery tool for Microsoft environments

IT Best Practices Alert By Linda Musthaler, Network World
January 04, 2013 11:29 AM ET
Linda Musthaler
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Network World - If you are old enough, you probably remember a series of public service announcements on TV that went something like this: "It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your teenager is?" It was an effective way to alert parents that they should keep tabs on the important people in their lives.

I'm going to borrow from that PSA and ask, "It's 2013. Do you know where your sensitive data is?"

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Many CIOs get uneasy with the answer to that question. Increasingly, the answer is, "No, not always." It seems these days sensitive information could be anywhere -- on servers, desktops, laptops, smartphones or tablets, or even in the cloud. This is a big concern for companies of all sizes and in all industries. It's too easy for sensitive data to be leaked, breached or stored in a location that violates regulations and compliance requirements.

STEALTHbits Technologies just released a new low-cost product that's part of its StealthTOOLS portfolio. StealthSEEK is designed to mitigate security risks associated with unstructured data by assessing the risk of data at rest in Microsoft infrastructures, including servers, shares, desktops and laptops. As of this writing the product doesn't work on mobile devices but it can work against file systems in the cloud.

STEALTHbits has experience in large enterprise assessment of infrastructure and the associated file systems. The company parlayed its file scanning technology into an easy-to-use tool for data discovery. You can download and install StealthSEEK and have results in minutes. This is very unlike the data discovery tools that are part of traditional data loss prevention (DLP) solutions that are far more expensive and resource-intensive to acquire and implement.

StealthSEEK performs two important data governance functions. First, it assesses the risk an organization has of data being exposed due to excessive access rights. For example, if there is a file share where everyone in the organization has access rights, the risk is high that someone will access the data inappropriately. A high-risk score indicates that access permissions may need to be tightened. You can do additional risk profiling as you continue to analyze the data according to its content.

Next, StealthSEEK locates sensitive data at rest based on search parameters. You can use defined search sets or customize your own. For example, you can look for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or proprietary information such as product or project information. The scanning engine can open and assess more than 440 file types. It can even get into archives and PST files and use keywords and conditions to search for specific content within these resources.

I mentioned that StealthSEEK is low-cost. There are two pricing models and you can choose the one that meets your needs. The first model is pay-as-you-go. It's free to download the software, but you pay to unlock the search results. What you pay is based on how much data you scan. This model makes it easy to try the product to see if it does what you need it to do before making a bigger investment. STEALTHbits even gives you credits to cover the cost of your first scan. The second pricing model is a simple perpetual license that allows you to scan as much data as you want, as often as you need to.

Linda Musthaler is a principal analyst with Essential Solutions Corporation.

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