Nira streamlines information security for EssenceMediacom

EssenceMediacom was built to keep pace with change while providing the breakthroughs that brands need to win. Here’s how EssenceMediacom uses Nira to protect crucial client data and safeguard shared drives in Google Drive with ease.

  • Location: United Kingdom
  • Industry: Advertising Services
  • Company Size: Enterprise (>200 employees)

EssenceMediacom offers predictive analytics, integrated media solutions, and commerce consultancy and implementation to help brands succeed and gain a competitive edge. From Auckland to San Francisco, the EssenceMediacom team helps clients add value and innovate, no matter where they are in the world. 

EssenceMediacom is a new type of agency that creates breakthroughs for brands so that they can grow and succeed. The company aids clients with everything from boosting brand recognition to driving sales, helping them utilize media to strengthening how they interact with consumers. When working with a wide range of customers across the globe, cloud collaboration tools are essential to keep client projects moving forward.

For EssenceMediacom, an organization that has thousands of employees and supports some of the biggest and most well-known companies in the world, information security is a top priority. The ability to secure cloud collaboration is fundamental, says Colin McCarthy, the company’s Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead. 

“Being able to secure your online collaboration documents is vital because they are ‘living documents,’” McCarthy explained. “In the past, if an employee emailed a document to themselves or stole the whole of a network share on a USB stick, it was stale data that would eventually age out and not be so relevant.”

According to McCarthy, with online cloud collaboration tools like Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive, there are no longer multiple versions of a document. Instead, one document exists and constantly gets updated. 

“It’s important to have visibility into these documents and be able to perform bulk actions to secure them if incorrect sharing has been detected,” he said. 

According to McCarthy, document security should be one of the first, major steps when moving a company to the cloud. 

Colin McCarthy
Securing access to these documents needs to be the new security model and practice that everybody should be adopting. It needs to be item number three on your company’s cloud migration plan, right after moving to Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace and enabling multi-factor authentication.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

EssenceMediacom wanted to continue to keep its valuable client data safe. This meant gaining insight into sensitive documents and then securing their access permissions. The team ran into a lack of complete visibility and began searching for an accurate source of truth for their file-sharing data. 

“Our biggest problem was the lack of features and visibility we might receive from other tools,” McCarthy said. “If I’m going into a product, I need to have it work straight away and have confidence that the information being shown is accurate and the actions I take will be done in an acceptable period of time.” 

The desire to continually uplevel their data protection capabilities led the EssenceMediacom team to explore Nira. According to McCarthy, Nira’s responsiveness and speed of development were major selling points. 

“The way that Nira was handling and presenting a view of our Google document sharing and security exposure was unique,” McCarthy said. “Even during the proof of concept pilot, the speed of development was phenomenal.”

McCarthy was especially drawn to Nira’s ability to make security investigations easier.

“I appreciated how fluid Nira was when doing an investigation and the responsiveness of the UI overall,” McCarthy said. “There was no friction.”

McCarthy could quickly view in Nira who had access to what information. He could see if there was a Gmail account or a domain that didn’t need access. He could click on a user and instantly view more information about that user and every file they had access to. There was no cumbersome switching between tabs or the need to reset a search. Investigations that previously felt like a chore were completed rapidly and efficiently. 

Colin McCarthy
Nira made document security investigations four times more productive and successful.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

Gain superhero levels of visibility

Nira gives EssenceMediacom a comprehensive view of shared drives, externally-owned documents, and more

Before EssenceMediacom started using Nira, it was difficult to gain a comprehensive view of every single access risk in its Google Drive. Nira allowed the company to not only have a full overview of its risk landscape but also be able to quickly hone in on specific issues.

Colin McCarthy
Nira gives you a level of reassurance with a 30,000 feet view of your Google Drive. You’re then able to quickly zoom in on a particular area, team, organizational unit, document owner, or external collaborator—having that visibility is magical.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

The team was especially excited about having insight into shared drives, something they had been wanting for a long time, according to McCarthy. 

“Nira gave me visibility and allowed me to take action on shared drives. That was something that we’ve not been able to do with other platforms,” he said. 

The shared drives feature in Google has been around for roughly six years and was deeply embedded in the organization. Nira was able to provide a level of control over shared drives that EssenceMediacom had not experienced before. 

Colin McCarthy
Nira provides more visibility and control over shared drives than anyone else I know.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

Nira also provided visibility for inbound documents—documents that are owned by external parties like vendors or partners and then shared with the company. Sometimes these documents are owned by people’s personal email accounts, adding a level of risk as they have fewer protections. McCarthy was impressed by the insight Nira gave into these types of files. 

“We were told by a client that one of the documents we were working on was public and that anyone on the internet could view and edit it. I thought that was strange as we had that capability turned off,” McCarthy said. “And then I wondered, ‘How do I find out who actually owns this document?’”

With other tools, McCarthy saw no results when entering in the document ID of the item. Then, he turned to Nira. 

“I put the document ID in Nira and was able to find it immediately and then found out who was collaborating on it,” McCarthy said. 

He emailed the person who owned the document and let them know that it had been accidentally created using their personal Gmail account.

“We could easily resolve the issue using Nira,” McCarthy said. “If we hadn’t been able to do that, it would’ve been a harder process to shut down that issue.” 

For EssenceMediacom, Nira provided a level of visibility that had previously seemed unachievable or burdensome to uncover. 

Colin McCarthy
Nira has given us more visibility into documents and access risks than we've ever had before.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

Take bulk actions on millions of files with ease

Nira helps remediate access issues on documents in no time

EssenceMediacom wanted to reduce risk on its files in Google Drive. The problem with this endeavor? The company had millions of documents. Executing seemingly simple tasks like changing link types from Company to Restricted could become a herculean feat with that number of files. But McCarthy and his team were able to use Nira to clean up file access on hundreds of thousands of documents in no time. 

Colin McCarthy
Being able to change the link type on almost a million documents in a number of hours was ridiculously smooth with Nira.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

Nira helped the team reduce risk on documents that had not been modified for over three years and did not need to be shared with external accounts.

“It was a great way for us to reduce the exposure of legacy documents,” McCarthy said. He could simply use Nira’s filters to hone in on the items he wanted to change, and then quickly restrict their access.

The team would have hit roadblocks with other tools that only allow a certain number of files to be selected at once, a limitation that they didn’t experience with Nira. Nira also helped with peace of mind by providing additional confirmation steps. 

“All the actions were very clear within the UI and made me physically type something in to confirm,” McCarthy said. “It helps you know when you are taking an action, rather than accidentally clicking on something.” 

Apply ‘least privilege’ principles to document sharing 

EssenceMediacom uses Nira to combat the problem of ‘permission creep’ and keep files secure

Many IT administrators work on the principle of least privilege, says McCarthy. For example, they use least privilege when gaining access to administrative panels or installing software on their own laptops. McCarthy asserts that this concept should also be applied to document sharing. 

Colin McCarthy
When it comes to least privilege, we don't often think about document access, but we should. You should only have access to documents that you need access to.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

McCarthy says that people may have access they don’t need for various reasons. For example, they might have been granted access to a shared drive or folder, and then someone put confidential files in it. Or, they received access years ago but then changed roles to a new department.

“Security audits need to be done all the time,” McCarthy said. “Permission creep is a terrible problem.”

Nira helps EssenceMediacom reduce permission creep, allowing the team to remove and restrict access permissions with ease. Documents that are accessible by anyone in the company can be restricted so that only those specific accounts that should have access, will have access. Problems that come with accidental oversharing can be cleaned up in moments. 


Nira helps maintain client confidence and agency reputation

McCarthy and his team are excited about Nira’s roadmap and speed of development, which will continue to add value. 

Colin McCarthy
If I look at the development of Nira in the last 12 months, and the development in other platforms, Nira is lightyears ahead.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

For EssenceMediacom, helping brands and customers succeed has always been fundamental to the business. A major part of that success hinges on keeping client information safe. Nira helps EssenceMediacom enhance its sophisticated security response to maintain client confidentiality and reputation.

Colin McCarthy
Nira is a way to maintain client confidence. You have the tools to secure your documents and maintain the reputation of the agency or the company because they're not being compromised.
Colin McCarthy,
Google Workspace and Productivity Tools Lead

The team can stay confident that they are providing clients with the highest level of security and data protection. As a result, EssenceMediacom is better equipped to serve its customers and build long-lasting relationships based on trust and reliability. 

Every company that uses Google Workspace should be using Nira.
Bryan Wise
Bryan Wise,
Former VP of IT at GitLab

Incredible companies use Nira