Located in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Mountain Range, Santiam Canyon School District is proudly dedicated to fostering a safe, positive and supportive learning environment
With only 590 students and 130 staff members, Santiam Canyon comprises a single elementary school and a combined middle and high school just across the street. According to Technology Director, Sam Proctor – whose responsibilities include data security and privacy – the district’s size is an advantage.
“I’m a one-man team here,” he says. “Luckily enough, everything is within 50 yards of each other, so I can walk around and see it. But that’s kind of what we are: just a small rural district.”
In his time at Santiam Canyon, Proctor says they’ve transitioned into a completely 100% cloud-based school district. Not only do they use Canvas, Clever, and many other cloud apps, but even their phone system is cloud-based.
But generally, he says, they consider themselves a Google district. On top of providing Chromebooks to their students, Santiam Canyon is a Google Workspace for Education Plus customer.
For the most part, overseeing cybersecurity hasn’t been much of a challenge at all – though at first, this certainly wasn’t a guarantee.
When Proctor first arrived at the school district four years ago, they were in the beginning stages of their cloud migration.
“They were still running a Windows domain on some fairly old hardware that didn’t have any kind of backups or much security on it,” he says. Instantly, this was something he knew needed changing.
At first, the cloud required some adjustments. But once again, Proctor was able to easily onboard staff and train them in their cloud applications, in part because of the size of their district.
“I wouldn’t say there have been any major challenges due to the move into the cloud for us,” he says. “If anything, it was easier than what we were doing.”
Over time, Proctor spent less time troubleshooting and more time reviewing tools that would make daily operations better. As a forward-thinking technology director, he was quick to recognize the importance of cloud security. And as soon as they moved to the cloud, he went looking for an additional layer of security.
When he discovered Cloud Monitor on internet forums, he knew it was the right solution. Thanks to his due diligence, the integration was quick and seamless.
“I’m a one-man team and Cloud Monitor is essential to keeping my district secure and our students safe. It doesn’t need a lot of changing or maintenance and it doesn’t take up a ton of my time. Onboarding took about ten minutes and the customer service is exceptional. Cloud Monitor just works – it’s very simple.”
— Sam Proctor, Technology Director
Proctor and Santiam Canyon originally set up a demo of Cloud Monitor in the summer but realized they wanted to see what it was like when there was a lot of activity in their domain. ManagedMethods’ customer service team accommodated their needs and allowed them to try the product at their own pace.
By extending the demo into the school year, they were able to get a realistic idea of how it could help protect their school district. According to Proctor, it was a very easy, low-pressure process.
“They were very much like, ‘Try the product, let us help,’” he says.
When it came to evaluating the service, Proctor and the school board were impressed by much more than the platform’s vast capabilities.
“The dashboard is really nice for getting a quick glimpse of how the district’s doing and how it’s going,” he says. “But the biggest factor was probably the customer service.”
Soon enough, Santiam Canyon was convinced they had their solution. Onboarding, says Proctor, was “incredibly simple.” In fact, it took less than ten minutes.
Since implementation, Proctor’s one-man team has made ample use of Cloud Monitor to protect their cloud environment.
“We use it to monitor,” he says. “I use the risks tab by far the most. It’s the first thing I look at every day when I come into the office.”
The Risks Tab is a feature of the platform that allows you to quickly identify and remediate risks in your district’s cloud applications, whether they are in Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365. In the case of Santiam Canyon, the platform has been especially useful at catching suspicious login activity.
“ManagedMethdos caught risky communications being made between students through email that none of our other filters caught. It could have been a much worse situation, and I know our leadership team and our board were very glad that we have Cloud Monitor when the situation came to light.”
— Sam Proctor, Technology Director
Additionally, Proctor notes that using Cloud Monitor has been a great tool for promoting cybersecurity training and awareness. He believes staff members are getting better at catching risks independently and being more careful in the cloud.
“To me, it’s essential,” says Proctor. “I haven’t had any major issues for it to save us from because it’s been catching stuff almost right away. It just works – it’s very simple.”
He also notes that the platform isn’t a product that needs a lot of changing or maintenance. It doesn’t take up a ton of his time and doesn’t require a lot of manual interference because its automated tools are native to Google Workspace.
“Even if I never logged into it, it would be doing a lot of good,” Proctor adds.
Fortunately, Proctor considers Santiam Canyon to be a “boring client.” And when it comes to cybersecurity, boring is always better. Although they’ve yet to encounter a serious threat to their school district, he knows the platform has been a “really nice security blanket” for them.
“It could have been a much worse situation than what it ended up being,” Proctor says. “I know our leadership team and our board were very glad that it caught what it caught.”
Without the foresight he had to implement cloud security early on in Santiam Canyon School District’s transition to Google, Proctor may not have been able to mitigate the issue in time. But that’s what cloud-based cybersecurity is all about: detecting and eliminating the unseen risks that could spiral out of control.
“I consider it essential,” he says. “I would not sleep as well at night without Cloud Monitor.”