Bremerton School District G Suite security case stuyBremerton School District is a public school district located in the Seattle, Washington suburbs. The team in charge of building, supporting, and maintaining technology services in Bremerton School District supports the needs of over 5,200 students and 800 staff members.

Like many school districts, Bremerton now runs classroom and administrative operations in the cloud using Google G Suite for Education. The district is also rolling out a one-to-one technology program to provide all students access to the technology required to achieve success in the modern world.

To support these initiatives Steve Bartlett, Technology Director at Bremerton, and his technology services team built a multi-layered IT security stack that would address data security issues, as well as online student safety concerns. Bremerton’s security stack includes GoGaurdian as the content filter, Gaggle as the campus safety management solution, and ManagedMethods for G Suite data security and student safety.

THE CHALLENGE

Bremerton School District’s technology team uses Gaggle to help identify campus safety red flags, such as cyberbullying or threats of violence. But what Justin Feltus, System Specialist at Bremerton, found was that Gaggle didn’t provide quite enough information.

“Gaggle is like the fire alarm,” explains Feltus. “It alerts us to the issue, but it doesn’t provide the rest of the information. It doesn’t tell us where the fire is, how it started, who started it, who else was with that person, or if anyone was injured. Gaggle is a great solution for getting that initial alert, but we discovered that the campus safety team needed more information to follow up on the issue.”

At the same time, Bartlett needed to secure the district’s sensitive data, such as social security numbers, stored in G Suite. Like many school districts that use the free version of Google for Education, Bartlett discovered that it was difficult to maintain visibility and control over who had access to what information.

Government regulations mandate that schools have systems in place to ensure sensitive data is not being stored or shared in a way that violates privacy policies. When Bremerton moved to G Suite, the technology team quickly realized that Google’s native monitoring and control features were not adequate to confidently maintain compliance.

Bremerton’s technology team needed to be alerted to potential cyber-attacks and accidental data leaks. They also needed to be able to quickly, or automatically, mitigate data loss risks in their environment.

Bartlett and the technology team initially started working with Cloudlock to resolve these data security issues, but they were met with critical limitations in Cloudlock. For example, building data loss prevention filters in Cloudlock was overly cumbersome and required a lot of support. Furthermore, the platform does not monitor or secure Gmail or Shared Drive files.

Finally, when Cloudlock was purchased by Cisco the price increased. That was about when Bartlett learned about ManagedMethods.

“Bottom line, if you need to know what is in your Google Drive and Gmail, and who is doing what, ManagedMethods does it wonderfully. If your school district is in the cloud and you have a one-to-one technology program, having this level of visibility and control is a huge benefit.” — Justin Feltus, System Specialist

THE SOLUTION

ManagedMethods provides school districts with API-based cloud application security. The platform enables IT teams to gain superior visibility and control over access to the data that is stored and shared in cloud applications.

The Bremerton team was particularly interested in the way ManagedMethods has developed security features to provide school administrators with in-depth visibility into what students and staff are creating, importing, and sharing in cloud applications.

“ManagedMethods is our forensic tool in G Suite,” says Feltus. “We get the alert from Gaggle, but ManagedMethods gives us the details we need to follow up quickly. And when student safety is at risk, time is critical.”

ManagedMethods offers out-of-the-box and customizable monitoring features to cover security and compliance requirements. The platform integrates well with Bremerton’s tech stack, which includes traditional network security as well as Gaggle and GoGuardian.

ManagedMethods provides an additional monitoring layer for issues like cyberbullying and inappropriate content to send to Gaggle. ManagedMethods also allows Feltus to quickly delete or quarantine content that violates policies. The Bremerton team also gained the ability to easily detect account takeover risks and stop cyber threats before student and staff identities are compromised.

“We have GoGuardian to manage students on a browser level. But it’s not even in the same ballpark as ManagedMethods. ManagedMethods is the forensics tool that I use to get G Suite information our campus safety team needs to properly follow up with potential issues and incidents. ManagedMethods is an invaluable tool for keeping our Google for Education environment and, to a degree, our campus a safe place for students to thrive.” — Justin Feltus, System Specialist

THE RESULTS

Bremerton School District chose ManagedMethods because it is effective, deploys in minutes, requires no special training, is easy to use, and has no impact on network speed or end-users. Best of all, it is affordable.

ManagedMethods secures student and employee information from data loss, while also providing the team with deep insight into the behavior occurring in G Suite applications. For example, Feltus can now see if there is any inappropriate behavior or content when students use Google Docs as a “chat room.” He can see who is saying what, who created it, and who the document is shared with. He can also quarantine or delete files, folders, emails, and images that contain explicit or inappropriate content across his entire Google for Education environment.

“We have GoGuardian to manage students on a browser level. But it’s not even in the same ballpark as ManagedMethods,” explains Feltus. “ManagedMethods is the forensics tool that I use to get G Suite information our campus safety team needs to properly follow up with potential issues and incidents. ManagedMethods is an invaluable tool for keeping our Google for Education environment and, to a degree, our campus a safe place for students to thrive.”

From Bartlett’s point of view, ManagedMethods is where he feels assured that malware and phishing risks in Gmail, Drives, and Shared Drives are flagged and quarantined. Bartlett is also able to create “set it and forget it” data loss prevention policies that make sure personally identifiable information, such as social security numbers and credit card information, are secure.

“The addition of ManagedMethods to our IT infrastructure allows me and my team to feel confident about protecting our students and staff when using Google G Suite. The dashboard and alerts provide me real-time info so that I can take immediate action to thwart any threats,” says Bartlett.

Using ManagedMethods, Bartlett can be confident that Bremerton School District is storing and securing student and staff data in compliance with state and federal information protection regulations.

“Bottom line, if you need to know what is in your Google Drive and Gmail, and who is doing what, ManagedMethods does it wonderfully,” says Feltus. “If your school district is in the cloud and you have a one-to-one technology program, having this level of visibility and control is a huge benefit.”

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