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Omega Bank Selects Ambeo to Audit Data Access for Compliance of Customer Privacy Regulations

  • July 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

REVIEWER: Dan Mertz, MIS director of Omega Financial Corporation.

BACKGROUND: Omega Financial Corporation is a bank holding company headquartered in State College, Pennsylvania. Through its subsidiary banks, the company provides a full range of consumer and commercial services. Consumer services include Internet and telephone banking, an ATM network, personal checking accounts, interest checking accounts, savings accounts, insured money market accounts, debit cards, investment certificates, fixed- and variable-rate CDs, club accounts, secured and unsecured installment loans, construction and mortgage loans, safe deposit facilities, credit lines with overdraft checking protection, IRAs and student loans. Commercial banking services include small- and high-volume business checking accounts, online account management services, automated clearinghouse origination, payroll direct deposit, commercial lending, commercial cash management services and repurchase agreements.

PLATFORMS: Omega runs the InformEnt data warehouse solution from Fiserv CCS. The environment is Oracle9i on a SunFire V880. The users access the data warehouse using Brio. Ambeo's Usage Tracker and Activity Tracker software is bundled in the NetServer Appliance, which provides for a True Zero Overhead implementation.

PROBLEM SOLVED: With recent passage of regulations regarding customer privacy, we needed to show how sensitive customer information is being used. Ambeo Usage Tracker's Column Activity helps us to ensure that access to customer data is within acceptable limits. After the database has been monitored for a sufficient period of time, the Usage Tracker's Dormant Column report will help us manage data loading and collection. One of the variable expenses in running our warehouse is the cost of data collection. Usage Tracker will help us eliminate collection of unused data and reduce our expenses without impacting end-user reporting.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Ambeo product is completely transparent to our database users and does not affect database response in any way. All queries submitted by our end users are captured by Ambeo. One area that our auditors are interested in pursuing is monitoring of "suspicious" queries - that is, queries run by users accessing tables not normal to their job function or queries outside the normal hours of business. In addition to auditing accesses to tables and columns, we can use Ambeo to collect metrics about query volume, query performance, application usage, what our activity looks like from an individual database user perspective and how the usage of our data warehouse is changing over time. The data collected by Ambeo is stored in an embedded database on the NetServer Appliance. Because all of the SQL submitted by our end users is captured, we are also able to work with our end users to help them tune their queries.

STRENGTHS: Purchasing a solution as an "appliance" allowed for a fast and simple installation. The NetServer Appliance plugged into the network and came up with only phone support from Ambeo. End-user query activity was immediately captured. The system gathers data without affecting our data warehouse's performance. Ambeo's support staff is knowledgeable and responsive.

WEAKNESSES: Usage Tracker's default report set is somewhat limited, but that is offset by the availability of the DB schema. Because the captured data is available to off-the-shelf business intelligence tools, custom reporting is not an issue.

SELECTION CRITERIA: It was important to us that the capture of usage information not affect performance of our data warehouse. It was also important that the solution be easy to install and support. The NetServer Appliance contains all of the Ambeo software, which allowed for the ease of installation. Nothing needed to be installed on our data warehouse platform or our end-user client workstations. Also, Fiserv worked with Ambeo to validate that the NetServer Appliance could meet the data usage and activity tracking needs of the Fiserv CCS user community. A key criterion was the ability to resolve views down to the table and column level.

DELIVERABLES: The NetServer Appliance is a small rack-mountable unit that includes Ambeo's Usage Tracker, Activity Tracker and a reporting package. As an example, we were immediately able to look at what columns were accessed for the day and by which users. The usage data Ambeo collected is stored in an embedded database on the NetServer Appliance, which is accessible via the Ambeo reporting package or standard BI reporting tools.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Ambeo support has been prompt and knowledgeable.

DOCUMENTATION: Ambeo provides comprehensive documentation electronically. Context sensitive online help is available on the NetServer.

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