Customer Story | Gaining Peace of Mind Through Google Workspace Security at Cleveland County Schools

Cloud Monitor Helps Cleveland County Schools Technology Team Secure Data, Protect Students, and Gain Some Peace of Mind

Cleveland County Schools is one of North Carolina’s largest public school systems. Since merging with another district in 2004, it has 14,000+ students and 2,000+ staff members across 29 schools.

According to Chief Technology Officer Ginger Jackson, they all use Google Workspace Fundamentals with the Teaching and Learning Upgrade. Also, as a 1:1 district, they offer students devices to enhance the educational experience.

Jackson and her team of 18 professionals manage the entire district’s IT environment. That’s a challenge for any size district — let alone one with 16,000+ users. Luckily, with Cloud Monitor, they have a critical layer of protection that enhances their cyber safety and security.

“Cloud Monitor has been a game changer for my district. In addition to the financial savings, we save a lot of time and are more protected. The customer support is great, they send us reminders about when audits need to be completed, and will even walk you through it step-by-step if you want.”
— Ginger Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Cleveland County Schools

The Challenge

Before Cloud Monitor, Jackson’s team depended on Google’s provided security tools. But, when Google increased the price of their paid plan, these tools no longer fit the budget. So, she was left without an investigative solution.

“I am a huge proponent for security checks on your cloud accounts,” Jackson said. “Especially when the end user — our biggest vulnerability — is in ‘control’ of the account.”

To complicate matters, Google changed its Drive storage policy in 2022, limiting districts to a maximum of 100 TB of data before needing to pay for additional storage. According to Jackson, that’s a major concern for a district of Cleveland County’s size.

Plus, frequent updates and changes to her security tools made the user experience (UX) too complex. In turn, they made protecting student data needlessly difficult.

The Solution

Fortunately, when Jackson became CTO in February 2023, Cleveland County was already familiar with ManagedMethods. Her predecessor saw the product at an IT conference and soon deployed it to protect staff accounts.

“Using Cloud Monitor, we’ve been able to catch everything from Social Security Numbers being sent outside the domain to school accounts being used to access apps like OnlyFans and TikTok. Frankly, we wish we would’ve jumped on it sooner.”
— Ginger Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Cleveland County Schools

After entering the role, she contacted ManagedMethods to learn more about expanding Cloud Monitor’s cybersecurity and safety monitoring to the district’s student accounts. She wanted to ensure she’d still have all the benefits she’d grown accustomed to, including:

  • Robust functionality
  • Good UX
  • Strong data security
  • Affordability

It didn’t take much to convince the superintendent to sign off on Cloud Monitor — Jackson simply pointed to the news.

“I stressed the need for more cybersecurity protocols,” she said. “The attacks on education are big news, so most people don’t want to be part of that scenario. This is something else that’s going to protect us.”

The Results

How does Cleveland County like Cloud Monitor?

“We wish we would’ve jumped on it sooner,” Jackson said. As she explained, protecting Google Workspace accounts has been a significant advantage. For her, it led to peace of mind and time savings — plus, it’s helped her educate students and staff on best practices.

“In K-12, we’re targets. It’s just an unfortunate reality for us. At the bare minimum, use what you already have in place. But also reach out and find out what else is out there. Cloud Monitor offers peace of mind that is hard to put a price on. Just do the free trial and let the data speak for itself.”
— Ginger Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Cleveland County Schools

For instance, Cloud Monitor detected an account emailing a Social Security Number outside the domain, but the platform helped resolve the issue. It also helped her identify school accounts on personal devices being used to access inappropriate content, like OnlyFans or TikTok.

“It’s been a game changer for my district,” Jackson said. “In addition to the financial savings, we are more protected and have reminders from ManagedMethods about when audits need to be completed. The customer support team is great about helping you with it. They’ll even jump on a call and walk you through audits, click by click.”

Ultimately, Cleveland County Schools is happy with their decision. In fact, Jackson has advice for any district looking for a new layer of cloud security.

“In K-12, we’re targets. It’s just an unfortunate reality for us. At the bare minimum, use what you already have in place. But also reach out and find out what else is out there,” she advised. “Cloud Monitor offers peace of mind that is hard to put a price on. Just do the free trial and let the data speak for itself.”

Want to learn more about how Cloud Monitor could improve your district’s cybersecurity? Claim your free Google Workspace and/or Microsoft 365 security and safety audit today.

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