Quest extends access control to unstructured data

Quest extends its Quest One line of access control software for locking down unstructured data

Extending its line of identity management software, Quest Software has released an application to help administrators more easily control who accesses documents on the corporate network.

While enterprise applications such as Oracle's PeopleSoft are pretty well-locked-down when it comes to user access, organizational networks are often populated with many files that are more widely accessible, such as spreadsheets or source code files, noted Jonathan Sander, an identity management analyst for Quest.

The Quest One Identity Manager Data Governance Edition extends the company's Quest One Identity Manager line of software to unstructured data. The software helps administrators "make sure when a breach takes place [they] are in the best position possible to ensure people are not walking off with data," Sander said.

Data is called unstructured when it does not reside in a database, but rather in a document that resides directly on the file system. Spreadsheets, word processing documents, PDFs, presentations, images, and audio and video recordings are all forms of unstructured data.

Administrators can't keep control of who accesses unstructured data as closely as they can for data in databases, Sander said. File systems provide access control but they require considerable work in establishing user permissions and extracting usage data from system logs. An administrator can "find all the file shares and SharePoint sites, but wouldn't haven't a clue about who owns these things," Sander said.

According to Quest's understanding, organizations want to have greater accountability and control over who can access unstructured documents on their networks. The software would be most beneficial for establishing access for users who may be requesting material they don't normally require, rather than for the users accessing the same set of material on a daily basis, Sander said.

In a survey, Quest found that 50 percent to 100 percent of enterprise data is unstructured, yet only 15 percent of organizations can determine the proper owners of all their unstructured data. About 68 percent of these respondents have set up processes to give their employees permission to access data, though these processes tend to be manual and take up the time of the system administrators.

Establishing proper access control appears to be an ongoing challenge for many organizations. This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was criticized by the Government Accountability Office for not having sufficient controls in its IT systems to identify and authenticate users.

Quest One Identity Manager Data Governance Edition provides an interface for administrators to more easily control access to unstructured data on an internal network. The new software acts as an additional authentication layer between the user and the data. It works with files on drives formatted with the Windows NTFS file system, and is based off of NTFS' built-in access controls. It allows administrators to define the owners of data, groups and guests that can access data. It authenticates users and provides usage reports to administrators. The software does not manage email, even though email is considered unstructured.

The software works in conjunction with the organization's user directory, either Active Directory or another LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)-based system.

Approximately 5,000 organizations already use Quest software to manage access for their employees, according to the company. Last month, Dell announced that it is acquiring Quest for US$2.4 billion, an acquisition that should be finalized by the end of the year.

Pricing for the Quest One Data Governance Edition starts at $35 per managed person.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?