Email-based threats including phishing scams and ransomware are prevalent in the education sector. This has led educators to look for better defences.
They include Coomera Anglican College, a co-educational K-12 school on the Gold Coast that bolstered its defences by adopting cloud-enabled security solutions from Barracuda. The rollout shows how other schools might also improve their protections against cyber-threats.
Coomera had a number of legacy-system security concerns prior to the adoption of Barracuda solutions, according to IT Services Manager Darryl Hall. Chief among these was falling victim to email-based threats such as phishing scams exposing user credentials and ransomware. “A data breach can cause long-term reputational damage, create doubt and loss of trust within the community, which impacts our ability to attract new families to the College,” he says.
Coomera’s security was already in relatively good shape prior to deploying Barracuda solutions, but there was definitely room for improvement, Hall says. “We had enterprise-level firewalls, endpoint protection and email filtering. We were also early adopters of security awareness training and campaigns to empower our staff with cybersecurity knowledge.”
However, the current security measures were not detecting all potential threats, so there were ongoing concerns about email attacks. Additionally, by adopting cloud-based services, the College needed to implement new security strategies and provide more staff training.
The Barracuda solutions adopted by the College are designed to stop spam, viruses, and known malware using artificial intelligence. They are used around the world by more than 200,000 organisations in the education, healthcare, retail, and financial services sectors.
Traditionally, organisations hosted databases onsite, and staff had to access data when onsite or remotely using a VPN connection. Migrating databases to the cloud allows for easy public access via web applications, but Coomera had to deploy additional security layers to protect against compromised user accounts and improve its multi-factor authentication abilities, Hall says.
Brisbane-based IT Managed Services Provider Alliance Business Technologies (ABT) has worked with Barracuda to successfully meet the challenges of a wide variety of organisations in dealing with a myriad of security threats in an Office 365 environment.
“Due to our trusted partnership with the College,” says ABT Solutions Architect Jarred Jenkins, “ABT was able to offer a valuable proof-of-concept and to demonstrate the uniqueness of the solutions to the College. We replaced their security gateway and included an AI component, which is essential for the school’s simulation and training.”
“Additionally, we were able to bundle Security Awareness Training (formerly Barracuda PhishLine), Barracuda’s security and awareness platform, with other tools, while also providing the best security gateway and back-up solutions, which they didn’t have at the time.”
Phishing attacks have become more convincing than ever, making them increasingly difficult to spot. At the same time, attackers are increasingly targeting unsecured personal email accounts. As a last line of defence, employees need to get better at spotting socially engineered phishing attacks, and Security Awareness Training provides leading-edge user awareness.
Additionally, it has provided much-needed security training resources for Coomera’s students, Hall says. “We are teaching our students the techniques that hackers use and identifying a scam is a life skill they can use as they become adults,” he says.
A compelling solution
Barracuda’s solutions are designed specifically to stop spam, viruses, and known malware using artificial intelligence that leverages its global threat intelligence system, which gathers real-time threat data from millions of collection points globally. It also includes a subscription to Barracuda Advanced Threat Protection designed as a cloud-based service that uses a multilayered architecture with a CPU-emulation sandbox to detect and block new (zero-day) and advanced, evasive threats.
The College has benefited in a number of ways from incorporating Barracuda Email Protection (formerly Barracuda Total Email Protection) into its managed services architecture. “The solution plan we have is comprehensive. It covers all our email protection and Office 365 backup requirements, cyber security staff training, and threat remediation. We often get impeded by navigating multiple management portals, so it is an advantage to be able to manage a multitude of functionality from a single, easy-to-use management platform,” Hall says.
He is also impressed with the artificial intelligence behind Barracuda Email Protection. “Having an intelligent system that knows the behaviours of our staff and can create email alerts when events happen that are out of the ordinary is like having an additional team member monitoring all email traffic,” he says.
“We have also benefitted from adding additional security layers, peace of mind for our users and an extensive suite of tools for our helpdesk team to troubleshoot issues. The biggest cybersecurity threat is human error, and Barracuda Email Protection has provided the means to protect our organisation from email threats with its multiple layers of protection. This allows us to quickly and efficiently identify and resolve these issues with ease and confidence.”
For more information, contact Barracuda solution partner Alliance Business Technologies.