Case Study: A School District, 60,000 Students and One Security Solution

Texas school district ensures a financial windfall secures its network and protects users

When an approved bond package allots your school district over a hundred million dollars to upgrade and secure your network, you need to take advantage of an opportunity that may not be available again for years. The school district had a number of IT-related projects it wanted to implement, but they knew that network security needed to take precedence. Technology is only as good as the security protecting it, so they contacted the company hundreds of school districts have turned to for the past 15 years—Netsync.

Seventy schools, 60,000 students, over 5,000 employees

The school district knew that their broad attack surface had multiple vulnerabilities but didn’t know exactly where they were located or how to uncover them. Thankfully, they called on the security experts at Netsync, who have crafted security strategies and deployed solutions for school districts large and small.

After conducting interviews with key school district stakeholders, Netsync turned to its longtime, valued partner just like it has thousands of times—Cisco. Their security solutions are second to none. Netsync’s security professionals knew that their close, collaborative partnership with Cisco would once again provide a client with a solution that, like Cisco, would be second to none.

Hardware Deployed

Netsync knew that the district’s firewalls needed to be significantly upgraded. They deployed Cisco Firepower Next-Gen Firewalls (NGFWs) and its Next-Gen Intrusion Prevention System (NGIPS). Netsync also installed Cisco’s Firepower Management Center (FMC), which now enables the school district to centrally manage NGIPS and its new NGFWs.

Netsync next installed Cisco ASR 1001 HX Aggregation Services Routers for WAN connectivity. Cisco ASRs protect data flow into and out of the district’s network. They are the most powerful compact services routers in the market today, and have a thin 1RU (1.75 in.) profile.

Services Implemented

Next, Netsync deployed Cisco Stealthwatch to monitor and analyze traffic flow throughout the district’s network. Stealthwatch is a robust traffic security analytics solution and uses enterprise telemetry from the district’s network infrastructure.

To protect email, Netsync installed Cisco Cloud Email Security (CES), which provides tremendous defense against phishing, email compromise and ransomware. With CES, the district gets threat intelligence updates every 3 to 5 minutes through Cisco Talos, which is comprised of leading threat researchers supported by highly sophisticated systems. It detects, analyzes and protects Cisco products against known and emerging threats.

For network access, Netsync installed Cisco’s ISE (Identity Services Engine), which is a scalable, network-based approach that provides trusted access anywhere.

To round out the security solution, Netsync deployed Cisco Umbrella, which unifies DNS-layer security, firewalls, secure web gateways and Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), which enables users to safely navigate the cloud. Cisco Umbrella is a cloud-native platform that delivers the most reliable, secure, and fastest internet experience to over a hundred million users each day. Now, it’s providing the same for the school district.

A Solution Delivered

As they always do, Netsync’s project management professionals utilized Project Management Institute (PMI) processes and methodologies to ensure the district’s security solution was completed on time and on budget. They created a comprehensive project plan and provided the district with timely and accurate updates through a Sharepoint project portal. Budget and project milestones were reviewed during regular status meetings.

Once the hardware was received, staged and tested at Netsync’s lab, staging and logistics facility, it was delivered to the district pre-configured and ready for installation.

Another Poorly Protected School District benefits from a Netsync Security Solution

Almost overnight, the school district, which utilizes security performance ratings company BitSight, saw its scores soar. Issues that had been responsible for the district’s low ratings were successfully addressed by Netsync. Now, 65,000 students, teachers and administrators can safely access and benefit from technology.