Clint ISD, a District of Innovation, knows how important cloud security and safety are for their community
“The return on investment is huge. Most districts, ourselves included, don’t have an enormous budget. What I love about Cloud Monitor is that not only is it affordable, but you get so much with it. You can really do a lot.”
— Michael Tapia, CTO, Clint ISD
Serving students across three towns, 14 campuses, and over 10,000 students, Clint Independent School District is geographically the largest in its region. And, after speaking to Chief Technology Officer Michael Tapia, you’d be hard-pressed to find another school district more committed to staying on the cutting edge.
“We pride ourselves on being a District of Innovation, and the Texas Education Agency has even granted us that distinction,” he said. “As part of our goal and vision, I feel it’s important to expose our students to the best of both worlds — Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.”
Indeed, rather than just one or the other, Clint ISD uses both cloud domains to its advantage. Typically, students are introduced to Google Workspace in elementary school, as it’s easier for them to understand. Once they’re older, they transition to Microsoft 365.
“We know not every industry uses Workspace, so it’s important for students to experience Microsoft tools, as well,” Tapia explained. “It’s one way we help them prepare for college and career readiness.”
However, with digital innovation also comes cyber risk. The good news? Clint ISD is well-protected by ManagedMethods’ Cloud Monitor platform, which helps Tapia and his team streamline and simplify K-12 cloud security and safety.
Of course, as a District of Innovation, Clint ISD knows cybersecurity is paramount. According to Tapia, schools are often prime targets for hackers.
“Schools are constantly under attack, and bad actors know that districts are vulnerable because we don’t have big security teams,” he explained. “Our neighboring district has about 50,000 students and a team of 20+ system administrators. That’s more full-time staff than my entire IT department.”
Knowing this puts Clint ISD at a disadvantage, Tapia has learned to be resilient. He spreads responsibility across his limited team in case anyone is absent or calls out sick. He’s also developing a pipeline of cybersecurity talent using a program that allows graduated students with an interest in IT to work part-time for the school district while attending college.
Although this helps alleviate some of the burden, security is still a constant challenge — especially after the pandemic.
Clint ISD was ahead of the curve when it came to remote learning, because it had already invested in its cloud environment and classroom infrastructure the district could easily switch to virtual. However, this also meant allowing students to use their own devices. As Tapia explained, this is where “things start to get worrisome.”
Tapia assumed the role of CTO in November 2022. As he’s grown into the job, he’s learned more about what it really means to manage school cybersecurity.
“We’ve got to be checking email, checking drives, checking endpoints, and protecting students across the board,” he said. “That’s when I discovered ManagedMethods.”
With Cloud Monitor, Clint ISD gained visibility over its entire cloud environment. When he first started using the platform, Tapia couldn’t believe how much more insight he received.
“One of the interesting things I learned using Cloud Monitor is the amount of attempted logins we have from all over the world, which was just eye-opening to see,” he said. “Just yesterday we were looking at some logs. We were under attack from Paraguay, Ecuador, Japan, and other countries.”
Aside from attacks, Tapia also gained oversight into risky user behavior. For instance, he uncovered cases of students downloading pirated movies and uploading them to Google Drive. This allowed him to work with his team of technology coordinators and campus technology coaches to tailor meaningful conversations about appropriate digital citizenship.
One of the first things Tapia does in the morning is check Cloud Monitor for daily reports. For example, if a student is sending emails with inappropriate images or attachments, the platform automatically scans the content to confirm the violation. This allows Tapia to mitigate image risks, such as pornography, before they cause any damage.
“One of the interesting things I learned using Cloud Monitor is the amount of attempted logins we have from all over the world, which was just eye-opening to see. Just yesterday we were looking at some logs. We were under attack from Paraguay, Ecuador, Japan, and other countries.”
— Michael Tapia, CTO, Clint ISD
This is especially helpful for Clint ISD when it comes to student safety and the Child Internet Protection Act
“We’re always on the lookout for self-harm and harm to others,” Tapia said. “I can receive alerts from Cloud Monitor, then investigate to determine if it’s something we need to look at.”
He especially believes Cloud Monitor is great to use in combination with other systems. As he put it, “Cloud Monitor is another cog in the wheel alongside network firewalls and filtering.”
Altogether, Tapia gives his ManagedMethods experience a five-star rating. In fact, he highly recommends it to any school district concerned about cloud security.
“The return on investment is huge,” he added. “Most districts, ourselves included, don’t have an enormous budget. What I love about Cloud Monitor is that not only is it affordable, but you get so much with it. You can really do a lot.”
Schedule a free 30-day audit today to learn more about how Cloud Monitor can help you protect your school district.