Liverpool University cures Dropbox security worries with Varonis file sharing

User base expands beyond 4,000

The University of Liverpool has started using Varonis's DatAnywhere file sharing system after worries that the unmanaged use of consumer cloud storage services such as Dropbox by staff and students was generating unmanageable security risks.

In the early post-pilot stages of its rollout, the University set a target of reaching a user base of 1,500 within a year in an effort to counter the population of 3,000 unsecured Dropbox accounts in use among its 4,700 staff and 32,000 researchers and students.

In the event, the target was met within a single week, with 1,366 registering to use DatAnywhere in a matter of days. This has since risen to more than 4,000.

A key objective of the University was to replicate and extend the features on offer from Dropbox-like services while gaining the ability to secure, monitor and eventually de-provision file sharing. DatAnywhere gives the ability for University users to access files on a range of PC and mobile platforms from any location while ensuring that confidential documents are always stored on its servers.

DatAnywhere integrates with the University's Windows Active Dircectory, which manages authentication and file permissions.

"No one now has access to shared data, unless they already had it or are provisioned access," commented the University of Liverpool's systems manager, Andy Williams.

"IT still retains control over who can and can't access files, particularly those deemed confidential. We can also revoke access centrally, and it will replicate across everything at once, saving time and reducing complexity."

Users get personal 'home' folders on departmental servers, offering external file sharing by policy, including of extremely large files that would normally require physical media to move around.

"[DatAnywhere] has proven to be an excellent resource for uploading and storing medical images, which are a central part of our EUFP7 funded clinical trials it is essential for the proper functioning of our trial. If we didn't have access to this, we would have to devise some other way to receive files from our collaborative centres," said a professor working within the University's Ageing and Chronic Disease Institute.

The University has taken a pragmatic stance on migrating people using other systems to the new secure environment, starting with a written policy outlining the principle that confidential documents should never be stored on non-approved platforms.

Interestingly, it isn't so far insisting that Dropbox and other file sharing users stop using data for non-confidential documents but the hope is that use of these will wither over time.

Varonis recently reported another win for DatAnywhere when Ipswich Hospital started using the same system.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags dropboxsecurityUniversity of Liverpoopublic sector

More about DropboxVaronis

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place