Case Study: Texas State Technical College – Student Environment Upgrade

Elevating Cyber Security Education: How Netsync and AWS Transformed TSTC's Learning Environment

The Challenge

Texas State Technical College (TSTC) needed the ability to conduct their advanced Cybersecurity curriculum and take advantage of the flexibility and control available when conducting these classes in a cloud-based infrastructure.

TSTC’s Cybersecurity curriculum requires individualized secure environments that allow the end users to learn offensive and defensive cybersecurity techniques. Each end user needs to have the ability to fully utilize the deployed systems while not interfering with or endangering the work of other end users or TSTC’s local network resources.

Finally, the solution needs to provide a user-friendly way to allow TSTC’s instructional staff to provision the cloud-based infrastructure on demand and perform normal environmental maintenance without the need to contact TSTC’s technology service desk. This requires the ability to reset a particular end user’s environment without impacting the other end user’s progress.

A Solution for a Modern Educational Environment

Netsync and AWS partnered with TSTC to develop a secure educational enclave solution that delivers all of the project requirements using native AWS services. The solution allows TSTC staff to manage their own virtual lab environments without the need to open a support case with TSTC’s technology support organization.

The basic building block of the solution is a dedicated secure enclave. This virtual infrastructure utilizes AWS components such as AppStream 2.0, VPC Peering, Security Groups, NAT Gateways, and Okta to provide an environment to safely host specifically configured EC2 instances necessary for the Cybersecurity curriculum.

Netsync designed the infrastructure and then created the Infrastructure as Code (IaaC) files to allow the instructional staff to deploy, redeploy, and tear down the environment as required for their classes. This includes giving the instructional staff the ability to run a simple set of commands to build the entire lab for as many end users as needed, or even to repair the secure enclave of just a single end user, if needed.

The Result

Scaling the environments to serve any number of additional end users is now as easy as updating a single command and letting the IaaC do the rest of the work. IaaC also provides the ability to recreate the environments and it is the key to lowering the long-term maintenance effort normally required for this type of specialized instruction. Tasks such as updating virtual machines for updated curriculum are now easily completed by updating the small pieces of the environment and then using IaaC to automatically deploy and update the changes. This removes the need to completely rebuild environments that could potentially result in the loss of end user productivity.

The partnership between Texas State Technical College’s technology leadership and Netsync’s deep expertise in assisting some of the largest AWS educational customers was critical to the success of this project and we thank TSTC for their trust and support in developing the solution and enabling a new environment with added flexibility to enhance the future of the Cybersecurity workforce and their end users.

About Texas State Technical College (TSTC)

Headquartered in Waco on the site of the former James Connally Air Force Base, TSTC helps to strengthen the Texas workforce with highly skilled, technically competent graduates. With 10 campuses across the state and operating on a unique funding model based on student employment outcomes, the college celebrated 55 years of service to the state of Texas in 2020. For more information, visit

About Netsync

Based in Houston, TX, Netsync uses a blended approach that is both consultative and collaborative. We work with our clients to assess their needs, architect innovative technology solutions to meet those needs, and offer 24/7 access to our team of engineering experts who exceed clients’ expectations. This approach has earned Netsync numerous customer service excellence awards and recognition as a progressive partner that introduces the newest, best-of-breed products and solutions to clients.