Youngstown State University
Key Business Needs
With tens of thousands of current and former students, faculty and staff able to access its networks, YSU must protect the vast amounts of data and records it stores, including sensitive financial, health and personal information and intellectual property. Previously, the IT team manually searched for threats and vulnerabilities and conducted compliance audits by hand -- a laborious and time-consuming process. YSU needed an automated vulnerability management solution that could provide comprehensive visibility into all security activity and ensure compliance, while reducing the high time and cost expenditures its security team incurred.
Tenable Products Selected
Youngstown State University selected SecurityCenter Continuous View, integrated with the Nessus Professional vulnerability scanner. This comprehensive vulnerability management solution delivers a wide variety of needed capabilities, including continuous visibility, automated workflow, consolidated data, simplified compliance audits and reporting, and much more.
Thanks to the automated and comprehensive vulnerability management platform provided by Tenable, YSU’s IT team now has an integrated and unified view of network health -- and no longer has to spend many hours performing cumbersome and repetitive tasks. SecurityCenter CV and Nessus deliver continuous visibility into hidden vulnerabilities, along with the critical context the IT team needs to prioritize and remediate issues -- and ensure key incidents are not being missed. As a result, YSU is saving time and money by streamlining and optimizing its security process, facilitating reporting and ensuring compliance with required regulations.
Youngstown State University (YSU), a 145-acre urban research university in Youngstown, OH, is comprised of seven distinct colleges offering more than 100 undergraduate majors, as well as 37 graduate programs granting degrees at the Master’s and Doctorate levels. YSU currently enrolls more than 15,000 current full-time students and 2,000 staff members, and has over 85,000 alumni.
The university stores vast quantities of data, including the sensitive health, financial, scholastic and personal records of current and former students and staff, as well as university management and operations information and substantial intellectual property. Not surprisingly, Youngstown State, like all universities, has made network protection a critical priority.
Each day, thousands of users access YSU’s network through 2,300 on-premises computers and a growing number of known and unknown assets, including mobile and other personal devices. Consequently, maintaining visibility into all network activity is a daunting task.
Previously, managing the university’s complex network was often more than a nine-to-five job, utilizing a security process that was both time-consuming and labor-intensive. Frequently, IT team members would dig through IPS and AV logs to search for data and vulnerabilities, and then match security events and network activity by hand. The IT team sought to optimize its security process to reduce the time and costs associated with manually searching for and matching log data -- and ensure key events didn’t go unnoticed.
“I wanted to make sure we weren’t constantly on our heels, trying to prevent activities from slipping past us,” said Mark Welton, the university’s network security supervisor. “Instead of spending valuable time manually sifting through data from five different places, we needed a single, consolidated viewpoint into our network activity to help us pin down the real problems and threats.”
“Since implementing our new security procedures, we’ve been able to recoup at least 15 hours per week, or about $50,000 per year, that were dedicated to manual security processes like running vulnerability scans or consolidating log data. That’s a significant time savings for a security team of three people, and we’ve been able to reallocate that saved time to other high-priority projects — giving us an opportunity to be more proactive with security and other IT initiatives.”
Additionally, as a major university, YSU must comply with a variety of regulations, including FERPA, GLBA and PCI. To check compliance status and report results, the team was writing one-off scripts and manually pulling together log data to create reports. Welton wanted to find a solution that would automate the compliance reporting process -- to easily generate reports and make audits a pain-free, efficient and repeatable process.
After considering several options to streamline and optimize its security process, ensure compliance and reduce costs, YSU turned to Tenable for its vulnerability management and continuous monitoring solutions and best practices. The university deployed SecurityCenter Continuous View and integrated its patch management system with the Nessus Professional vulnerability scanner to provide enterprise-wide visibility, including continuous monitoring for vulnerabilities and compliance issues.
Greater Coverage, One Viewpoint
This industry-defining continuous marketing platform automatically collects and correlates data from the university’s existing systems -- including anti-virus management, IPS, system logs and NetFlow data -- and provides an integrated view of its security posture from one central management console. Tenable also provides critical context to help the team prioritize vulnerabilities and their potential impact to determine the appropriate level of response. By providing timelier and easier-to-understand security data, including enhanced insights into vulnerabilities, threats and the overall state of their network’s health, Welton and his team can now:
- Save hundreds of labor hours annually. As a result, YSU can reinvest this time into other top IT and security projects and proactively manage network updates, modifications and security.
- Significantly streamline the audit process. IT staff members can now save and reuse compliance workflows, which eliminates the need to reinvent a query for every audit, and is saving the university approximately five hours per audit -- and ensuring regulatory compliance.
- Achieve a complete, university-wide view of all network and security activity. YSU has reduced the number of false positive missing patch reports, and has gained the ability to quickly identify and remediate misconfigured machines, unpatched vulnerabilities and other important security issues.
SecurityCenter CV and Nessus continue to provide the university’s IT team with visibility into hidden vulnerabilities, along with the critical context they need to prioritize and remediate issues. Thanks to Tenable, YSU is achieving its multiple goals of saving time and money by streamlining and optimizing its security process, facilitating reporting and ensuring compliance with required regulations.