YSU’s proactive approach gets recognition

YSU’s Network Security has implemented new procedures that allow the university to be more proactive in preventing and responding to cyber attacks.

“We are now able to get a better view of what is happening on the network, to identify the risks, and associate this information to real time traffic,” said Mark Welton, YSU network security supervisor. “Rather than being reactive, we can be proactive in taking steps to correct a problem that may arise.”

YSU’s success in improving network security is the focus of a case study released this spring by Tenable Network Security, one of the nation’s leading unified network security monitoring companies.

Late last year, YSU installed a suite of security products from Tenable to help monitor, detect and reduce any possible vulnerabilities in the university’s network, which includes more than 2,300 campus computers and personal devices. Welton said the Tenable products, as well as several new practices to restructure the university’s security process, have worked well, giving YSU the tools it needs to better stave off possible cyber attacks.

“We are now able to centrally view and analyze system logs from across the IT division, where previously these systems maintained their own logging facilities,” said Jason Rakers, director of Network Telecommunications and Security. “This consolidated logging process also enables Network Security to more efficiently view patterns of cyber attacks across multiple systems, allowing the university to have a faster reaction time against threats.”

“We’re uncovering events that we’ve never been able to see in the past,” Welton said in the case study published by Tenable. “Today, we get more than a point-in-time snapshot of our network — we get the full picture, and we get it quickly and easily.”

Welton said the new security procedures have allowed YSU to recoup at least 15 hours a week, or about $50,000 a year, that otherwise were dedicated to manual security processes.

“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,” he said.

The YSU News Center maintains the official news of Youngstown State University.