About Texas State Aquarium

The Texas State Aquarium is a nonprofit aquarium located in Corpus Christi, Texas, United States. It is dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and rehabilitation of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. It has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1995.

Cybersecurity Challenge

New to the organization, Jeff Vlach, Technology Manager at Texas State Aquarium was charged with updating the non-profits entire IT systems. Part of that program was to improve cybersecurity by selecting a security information and event management (SIEM) solution.

However, a team of only two, Vlach had resource constraints. “With cybersecurity, you have two options. Either hire four to five in-house individuals to cover 24×7 security monitoring or work with a cybersecurity-as-a-service provider. We needed to weigh our need versus the cost of doing this in house against the expertise, equipment, process and procedures we’d need to implement. As a non-profit, it was very clear we needed to take the cybersecurity-as-a-service route.”

Finding Cygilant

Vlach was already familiar with AlienVault, now AT&T Cybersecurity, from the Aquariums affiliation with a group of IT managers and directors at the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He needed to identify a service partner to help implement the SIEM and manage it. Cygilant called Vlach at the right time, “I had identified my SIEM requirements and budget when Cygilant called.”

“I evaluated three different vendors as part of this project using a list of required, nice to haves and bonus features,” continued Vlach. “A simple pro/con list showed Cygilant as the front runner. With a focus on customer service and affordability, Cygilant SOCVue Security Monitoring was selected to provide the SIEM and service for Texas State Aquarium.”

Cygilant SOCVue Security Monitoring

Rooted in 20 years of experience and with hundreds of customers, Cygilant SOCVue Security Monitoring collects security events across your IT infrastructure, network, and applications. Cygilant Security Analysts triage and investigate potential security incidents to give you rapid actionable recommendations.

Combining log management and security information and event management (SIEM) technology with machine learning, Cygilant helps to proactively eliminate threats while saving Texas State Aquarium time spent digging through the noise of thousands of events, or analyzing raw log files, to determine what is happening in the network.”

Cygilant collects, stores, and analyzes security event data from across the IT infrastructure to detect threats in the cloud or on-premises. The Cygilant SOC guides teams through incident response from detection to resolution. Logs are analyzed and security and compliance postures are reported daily, weekly and monthly.

Going Live

Once selected, Cygilant was up in running in less than 30 days. Onboarding included a service orientation call introducing our people, process and technology, installation of AlienVault’s Unified Security Management™ (USM) and access to the Cygilant SOCVue platform, a dashboard that simplifies and consolidates multiple streams of security data to help detect and respond to threats faster and for the Texas State Aquarium to effortlessly collaborate with Cygilant.

“Anyone that’s ever implemented a SIEM by themselves, knows that the first three months are a nightmare. With Cygilant, tuning was straightforward. We had a very well planned implementation so that initial tuning was established in three months, whereas I’ve seen it take six to eight months handling in house. Our Cygilant Cybersecurity Advisor was able to explain events, give us insights into what is a typical event and make recommendations based on experience. For example, we didn’t want alerts every time a change was made by certain accounts in Office 365, but we did want notifications if changes were made from other accounts. Cygilant gave us the guidance to tune to our needs.”

Benefits of Cygilant SOCVue Security Monitoring

Cygilant provides Texas State Aquarium continuous security monitoring and incident management, security and compliance reporting and regular health assessments to ensure proper system performance. Texas State Aquarium also gained access to the Cygilant SOC team, global Security Operation Centers (SOCs) with four tiers of humans from level 1s to 4s working around the clock.

“The Cygilant team is quick to respond. For example, we made a firmware change internally and the Cygilant team notified us. The Cygilant team was able to tune the SIEM to suppress events while we worked out how to implement further firmware changes.”

Working with Cygilant, Texas State Aquarium received an affordable security monitoring service that not only extended its team of two with cybersecurity experts, but also provided the reports needed to demonstrate security improvements. “The Cygilant monthly reports we get are concise and accurate saving us so much time and effort. The report is fantastic including all the information I need to demonstrate our on-going cybersecurity efforts.”

Further, Texas State Aquarium benefits from the on-going communication. “The ‘no news is good news’ mindset is not what I like. The Cygilant team delivers on its promise of excellent communication. This piece alone sold me,” continued Vlach.