Case Study: Ransomware Hits School District

Cyberattack Results in a Call to the IT Industry’s Premier Threat Vector Protectors

The Challenge

It’s not uncommon for school districts, government agencies and enterprise organizations to think about protecting and minimizing their attack surface until after they’ve fallen victim to a cyberattack. That’s when it gets real. It’s not that they don’t believe cyberattacks are a threat but feel that they are flying under the radar. In today’s digital world, “flying under the radar doesn’t exist. We’ll all on it. Such was the case with a Texas school district that suffered a ransomware attack and soon discovered that they were not only real but can hit a tucked away, mid-sized school district located several hundred miles from the nearest metropolitan area.

There are 3 primary cyberattack vectors—networks, software and individuals, or employees. Ransomware usually targets the latter, primarily through phishing emails. And a breach of the school district’s Office 365 hosted email solution is exactly why the school district turned to Netsync. They were exposed to attacks due to a limited IT budget and a lack of security skillsets on staff. After using Netsync, they discovered why hundreds of school districts’ institutions have called on Netsync to enhance their cybersecurity measures.

After using Netsync, they discovered why hundreds of school districts and higher ed institutions have called on Netsync to enhance their cybersecurity measures.

Netsync needed to architect a secure email solution for over 5,000 users. Their security professionals conducted a security penetration test, which mimics a cyberattack and brings to light vulnerabilities and network entry points that need to be addressed. When testing was completed, Netsync’s security analysts and engineers architected a security solution from Cisco, its valued and longtime partner. They knew Cisco CES (Cloud Email Security), which they have successfully deployed hundreds of times for school districts, would provide the perfect security solution to address their email vulnerabilities.

Cisco CES (Cloud Email Security) protects the most commonly attacked threat vector—email. All it takes is a single user and one, simple click on the wrong link or file. Counting on end-users to protect against malware is a lot to ask. Cisco has the answer.

Cisco CES provides a tremendous defense against phishing, business email compromise and ransomware. Customers get threat intelligence updates every e to 5 minutes through Cisco Talos, which is comprised of leading threat researchers supported by highly sophisticated systems. They detect, analyze and protect Cisco products against known and emerging threats.

CES protects outgoing email, as well, with robust data loss prevention and content encryption capabilities that safeguard sensitive information. It’s ideal for organizations required to comply with government and industry regulations.

In addition, Cisco CES includes Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), which provides comprehensive protection against the most advanced attacks. After blocking malware and preventing breaches at the point of entry, it detects, contains, and remediates advanced threats that have evaded front-line defenses.

Netsync Project Management Quarterbacks the Entire Solution

Prior to deployment, Netsync did what they have for 15 years—assign project management professionals to oversee the entire scope of work. Along with preparing a detailed project plan, they ensured accurate and timely status updates were provided to the school district through Netsync’s SharePoint project portal. The project management team conducted regular project status meetings to ensure the district’s key stakeholders remained up-to-speed.

Netsync: The Threat Vector Protectors

Netsync’s Cisco CES solution now protects the school district’s inbound and outbound email from malicious attacks. The Cisco cloud infrastructure now serves as a proxy for the district’s email and no longer requires them to worry about updating software and hardware, and High Availability (HA). Both are built into Cisco CES. As a result of the project’s success, the district is working with Netsync to deploy several additional technology projects.

Not only does the district’s new CES solution protect email for over 5,000 users, the project adhered to their tight budget and was completed on time.

Now, the district can concentrate on what they do best—educate students.