Close your mouth; open your ears: The best way to win hearts and minds on data security
Back in September, I was at a DataGravity board meeting when I got a text message asking me to join a call with a prospect – a company that had taken us up on our free data security assessment offer and was reviewing the results.
I excused myself from my meeting and hurried to a nearby conference room. You know how it is – scramble, scramble, mobile phone, GoToMeeting, remember the passwords, etc. I was in a hurry; I wanted to jump in and walk the company through the report we’d put together. When I tuned into the call, though, I realized this prospect was ready to take the steering wheel from us, anyway.
He had invited about a dozen people from his firm to go through a demo of the DataGravity product and the findings in our assessment report. The company, which collects large amounts of data, had used the DataGravity assessment to examine one test virtual machine as a proxy for what the rest of its population of more than 100 VMs held. After introductions, I gave everyone on the call an overview of DataGravity, what we had developed with DataGravity for Virtualization, and where we saw the future for delivering data awareness other tools can’t provide. With that, we started to demonstrate the product through the webcast link and asked if they had questions. When questions came up, I noticed our contact inside the company did most of the answering.
You know you have something special when your prospects run their own sales calls. No sooner did our contact answer the questions than he asked to take over the demonstration to show features he thought would be most relevant to his audience. He drove the rest of the meeting. After minimal experience with DataGravity, he was able to find a file that contained personally identifiable Information (PII), show it to his colleagues with the secure numbers highlighted in the preview pane and reconstruct the story of how it got there over the course of the assessment. This discovery was major for the internal audience.
Most people doubt they have PII in their data – until they see it. There are just some types of information that tend to float around, getting plugged into this report or that study, sometimes finding its way into the finance department and maybe even someone’s desktop in a spreadsheet for some action item, and then, mostly innocently, it is forgotten. That’s what we see most of the time. Data moves with people. It’s so frictionless and simple, you often forget this shadow is right there behind you, until all of a sudden, it’s wandering around the office alone.
While I sat back and listened, our contact surfaced this kind of data. Then, he went to the DataGravity file analytics page and showed his team that 30 percent of the information stored had not been accessed in more than 12 months. They could save a lot of money, he said, by deleting or archiving it. He explained that this could also be an opportunity to architect a governance policy. Within 10 minutes, the “ah’s” and “oh’s” of his audience turned into action items to assess other VMs, and so it went for the entire call.
This customer began the journey to data awareness with a simple, free audit of its data to see what lurked inside. What they found was more than they expected, and it pushed them to take action to meet compliance goals and avoid PII fines.
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