Many businesses are now increasingly keen on monitoring what data their staff are accessing, especially when it resides outside conventional enterprise systems and databases (so called unstructured data). So says data governance software provider Varonis, which also revealed it is planning a major new software upgrade in the new year.

Unstructured data is typically made up of emails, Word documents, and third-party files, and is rapidly becoming a growing headache for today's IT and storage managers. HP last month warned that IT managers were "grossly underestimating" the explosion of unstructured data in the enterprise.

Speaking to Techworld last week, Varonis spoke of witnessing a growing need from companies looking to audit unstructured data usage. "This can either be because of regulations, or internal reasons, or an incident that has happened, or the company is anticipating an incident," said Johnnie Konstantas, VP of marketing.

According to Konstantas, regulation is a big pull for this auditing. "The world is changing, companies want transparency about who is using what data," she said. "Companies have been ignoring unstructured data for years because there was no way to protect and sort it. But as many have shown, unstructured data is rapidly growing."

"80 percent of a company's data store is unstructured data, and until a few years ago it wasn't protected," she said. Back in July, Varonis funded a survey that found corporate information stored on file servers and network attached storage (NAS) devices was in danger of being compromised. This was because IT governance policies and access rules in many companies are incapable of dealing with a massive growth of unstructured data.

Konstantas also revealed a major upgrade for Varonis' two main software products, due out next month.

DatAdvantage is currently in version 3.7, while DataPrivilege is at 3.5," she told Techworld. "Both products are going to version 4.0 towards the end of January. All I can say at the moment is that it will revolutionise the way people think about access control. Automation is the theme," she said.

The flagship product, Varonis DatAdvantage, provides IT departments with the visibility and auditing needed to determine who can access their unstructured data. It is continuously updated to show who is accessing what data.

The other product is Varonis DataPrivilege, which is more of an entitlement management product. Varonis strives to put data management in the hands on data business owners rather than department heads or the IT department. "After all, the director of the finance department knows best who should be accessing company account or financial data," said Konstantas.

"Business owners are increasingly charging department managers to protect their critical data, not the IT department," she said. "The responsibility in the past has been in wrong place, it wants to get out of the IT department, but the technology had not previously been available."

DatAdvantage is priced by number of human users in your file directories (printers or severs not included). According to Konstantas, pricing tends to start $100 (£67.45) per user, with more users equalling more discounts.