Fitchburg State University, located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, is a public institution dedicated to integrating high-quality professional programs with strong liberal arts and sciences studies. Founded in 1894, the university now has more than 30 undergraduate programs and 22 master’s degree programs, and 7,000 full and part-time students.

Fitchburg State University undertook a 5-year Security Plan to align the University with comprehensive security and compliance goals, such as PCI DSS, Massachusetts state regulations, and industry best practice initiatives. The University needed to take its security and compliance posture to the next level to defend against the growing threat landscape.

Finding Cygilant

Fitchburg State University wanted to implement a proactive cybersecurity program. “We want our students, faculty and staff to feel confident that the University is keeping their data and information protected to the best of our ability. We want our network and data center compliant with data protection standards, while maintaining business conditions that allow our students and professors to accomplish their goals in teaching and learning without difficulty,” said Sherry Horeanopoulos, the Information Security Officer at Fitchburg State University.

Following a recommendation from the ISO Council for private and public state college and university Information Security Officers, Horeanopoulos found Cygilant.

“Cygilant Security-as-a-Service is more intuitive than the other vendors we reviewed. It’s absolutely the best value and IT investment to make. In combination with Cygilant Managed Incident Detection & Response, we’re leveraging Cygilant’s Cybersecurity Advisors who provide expert guidance to our in-house IT resources to achieve the greatest possible outcome,” said Horeanopoulos.

Results

Fitchburg State benefits from Cygilant’s 24/7/365 SOC team to overcome limited IT resources. “In an Information Security department of only two professionals, we greatly rely upon the relationship we’ve built with our Cybersecurity Advisor and Cygilant’s SOC team. Each day (and sometimes hourly), they thoroughly review our network events, helping to define occurrences that should concern us, saving us time we would otherwise have to devote to sifting through and researching
events and logs in-house.

Cygilant’s SOC team provides information filtered and tuned to Fitchburg State’s needs. “It allows us to react efficiently and immediately if necessary,” said Horeanopoulos.

“Our dedicated Cygilant Cybersecurity Advisor knows our network and environment and can report on it confidently. We’re always on a path to move forward and don’t have to continually repeat what has been done in the past. This allows us to stay agile and keep refining our system to meet our goals.

“We gain valuable knowledge about our network activity and data center, which allows us to proceed with confidence to improve our security and compliance posture in an educational environment,” said Horeanopoulos.

“It’s vitally important for us to understand what is happening in our network so we can provide comprehensive digital and electronic services for students and educators. We cannot prevent access; we have to secure it. Having a complete view of what happens on our campus’ network working with Cygilant easily allows us to safely offer the services required as well as maintain strict compliance standards.”

“With Cygilant, we gain cyber security expertise to handle our log management and SIEM needs without spending for a full-time, in-house employee,” said Horeanopoulos.