Cloud Monitor Identifies and Remediates Problematic VPN Use in K-12 Districts

Recently, we hosted Michael Tapia, Chief Technology Director at Clint ISD in Texas, and Kobe Brummet, Cybersecurity Technician at Hawkins School District in Tennessee, for a live webinar.

Michael and Kobe volunteered to share with other K-12 tech pros how important cybersecurity and safety monitoring are for Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and online browsing.

They also shared several use cases of how they specifically use ManagedMethods’ Cloud Monitor platform to help with automation. So far, we’ve highlighted how Cloud Monitor has improved K-12 cybersecurity training and awareness at Clint ISD and how Hawkins School District uses automation to thwart phishing and malware emails. Please continue to watch out for more use cases in the coming weeks! You can watch the full webinar recording here.

FREE! WEBINAR RECORDING >> Automating Cybersecurity & Safety: Top Use Cases for Cloud Monitor & Content Filter >> WATCH HERE!

According to Microsoft Azure, “A VPN, which stands for virtual private network, establishes a digital connection between your computer and a remote server owned by a VPN provider, creating a point-to-point tunnel that encrypts your personal data, masks your IP address, and lets you sidestep website blocks and firewalls on the internet.”

After reading that a few times, it may click that VPNs are an excellent way for sleuthing students to bypass their district’s firewall, content filters, and more. This is where Cloud Monitor comes in!

With just a few clicks, Cloud Monitor’s integration with Spur can identify any user in your district using a VPN with district account credentials. Further, Cloud Monitor can also identify data center locations, specific internet search providers, and how the user using the VPN got into the account – via SAML or password.

Understanding the gravity of this situation is crucial. It’s not just students who can log into VPNs, but malicious actors can exploit them with compromised accounts, leading to potential data breaches. An example is the 2023 Naz.API data breach, which was a result of such misuse.

FREE! WEBINAR RECORDING >> Automating Cybersecurity & Safety: Top Use Cases for Cloud Monitor & Content Filter >> WATCH HERE!

Kobe Brummit, a Cybersecurity Technician, shared that when the IT team at Hawkins School District first started using Cloud Monitor, they were shocked about how many students were using VPNs. Also shocking was how many different types they were using that got past their content filters.

“When I first started using the Cloud Monitor platform, one of the biggest surprises was how many VPNs it caught students using. We were completely unaware that all these different types bypassed our content filters. Cloud Monitor helped us out here.”
–Kobe Brummit, Cybersecurity Technician, Hawkins School District

Following the successful implementation of Cloud Monitor in Hawkin’s multilayered cybersecurity and safety tech stack, Kobe’s team has effectively eradicated VPN-related issues. They’ve harnessed the power of automation to identify different types of VPNs, track which students are using them, and, most importantly, remediate and prevent these connections in the future.

“As a student, we used VPNs all the time. Now with Cloud Monitor catching them, it’s not possible.”
–Kobe Brummit, Cybersecurity Technician, Hawkins School District

We want to give a special “Thank You” to Michael and Kobe for sharing their time and expertise. Their valuable insights into how other district technology teams can improve cybersecurity and student safety in Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 will no doubt help many other districts secure their data and keep students safe online.

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