ALTR launches policy automation engine for enterprises

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Texas-based ALTR, which offers a platform to manage Snowflake data access and security, today announced the release of a policy automation engine to help companies automate the entire process of writing and maintaining policies to control who gets access to what data and how frequently.

Why automated policy implementation?

Often understaffed and overburdened, data and analytics engineering teams face massive backlogs from their business. On top of this, if asked to set up data access policies, manage ongoing updates to data permissions and handle data access requests, these professionals end up spending a large chunk of business hours on the task instead of their main job.

ALTR’s policy automation engine, debuted at the ongoing Snowflake Summit, solves this challenge by automatically enforcing access policies on sensitive data types (like emails and social security numbers),  along with data governance policies and security features. 

“It brings together traditional governance features like access control and dynamic data masking with security controls like data usage limiting and tokenization, all driven by meta-data (Snowflake tags, in the case of Snowflake) and implemented with no code,” Doug Wick, ALTR’s vice president of product, told Venturebeat.

“Automating policy for data makes it scale easily and allows data engineers to save months of time, and if they choose, completely delegate policy to business domains in support of a data mesh strategy,” he added. 

This means no more manual handling of policy updates each time new data is added or working to maintain compliance with sensitive data.

Exploding space

While the offering is interesting, ALTR is not the only player to explore this space. Satori, Privitar, BigID, OneTrust, TrustArc are all looking at or gaining momentum in the access and compliance management category. In fact, just a few days ago, Boston-based Immuta raised $100 million in series E funding.

However, Wick claims that ALTR differentiates from these players in three key ways: Superior time to value and lower cost of ownership, pricing that starts at zero and scales with usage and comprehensive policy implementation by extending governance to include security. 

“Most other players in policy automation, including Immuta, have taken the approach of building a proxy server that sits in front of the datastore. Your IT staff must maintain and pay for the proxy’s infrastructure, keep it updated, and take ownership of any issues that occur,” Wick said. “Some now offer a managed service version of their proxy, which is often branded as SaaS [software-as-a-service], but it merely means that they will deploy the proxy for you and take some of the management of it off your hands.”

Wick explained that ALTR, as a cloud-native service, integrates directly into the back end of Snowflake, leaving all of your access points intact.

“It uses cloud resources to scale and perform with your Snowflake instance, with an implementation that takes minutes and creates no burden on your IT team. Because our own costs scale with your usage, we offer a free edition of our software where low-scale users get to tap into the power of our platform for as long as they want,” he added.

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