Seneca was founded in 1967 and has grown to include four main campuses and six satellite campuses throughout the greater Toronto area and Peterborough. As one of the largest comprehensive colleges in Canada, Seneca offers nearly 300 full-time, part-time and online baccalaureate, diploma, certificate, post-graduate programs, and is renowned for its applied learning programs.
The Seneca IT department oversees a combination of private student and faculty information, financial data, and confidential research information. As a result, Seneca needed to ensure IT systems and assets remained protected from growing cyber threats. Although Wi-Fi was made available to students and staff, who used their own mobile devices, the college was using a free Microsoft product for endpoint protection and additional, disparate security solutions. “We needed a more holistic view of our security at that time, so we had to look at different products and screens in order to gain an understanding on the type of threats we faced and how malicious activities correlated to each other,” said Joseph Lee, Manager of Security and Compliance at Seneca.
To support a large number of students, employees, and faculty, Seneca had to ensure high network throughput, especially when a security solution was running. Without a large IT team, they also needed a security solution that could be easily deployed and managed in a virtual environment that was distributed across 10 campuses. “We needed a holistic solution that seamlessly integrated with our VMware environment and provided a robust, single-pane management console,” said Lee.
"Trend Micro was the only vendor with a truly holistic solution – and they also delivered additional capabilities that would keep us ahead of new threats."
Manager of Security and Compliance, Seneca College
In 2015, Seneca issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a holistic security solution that provided endpoint protection, and central visibility across the threat landscape. Three vendors responded to the RFP, but only Trend Micro offered the virtual endpoint protection and visibility that Seneca was looking for—along with a proven solution to guard against ransomware.
In addition to endpoint protection and visibility, Trend Micro solutions seamlessly integrated with VMware in the data center and provided high-speed monitoring with 1GB throughput—something other vendors couldn’t match. Trend Micro also offered advanced capabilities like a sandbox, which let IT security teams run suspicious code in a safe environment. “Trend Micro was the only vendor with a truly holistic solution — and they also delivered additional capabilities that would keep us ahead of new threats,” said Lee.
As a major educational institution and high-value target for cybercriminals, Seneca chose Trend Micro™ Office Scan™, Trend Micro™ Deep Security™, Trend Micro™ Deep Discovery™ Inspector, Deep Discovery™ Analyzer, and Trend Micro™ Control Manager™ to protect its IT environment. OfficeScan™ protects 5,000 endpoints, Deep Security™ provides policy-based management to defend approximately 500 servers and the virtual environment, and the sandbox capabilities of Deep Discovery Analyzer enable dynamic protection from zero-day threats. “Trend Micro Control Manager gives us the holistic, single-screen visibility we need to identify suspicious activities and address issues before they become problems,” said Lee.
Seneca also benefits from the Trend Micro Connected Threat Defense model, which, in addition to centralized visibility and control, shares local threat intelligence from Deep Discovery with OfficeScan and Deep Security, and automatically delivers real-time security updates for a faster time to protection. “Before Deep Discovery, we needed a more holistic view of threat activities in our environment. Now we can identify and correlate botnets and ransomware activities, and have the tools to stop them,” said Lee.
Cybercriminals can hide malware in files, and Deep Discovery allows Seneca to place customized images in its sandbox to replicate their exact environment. “The ability to quarantine and analyze a file to identify malware is another factor that set Trend Micro apart from other security solutions,” said Lee.
Seneca saw immediate benefits since deploying Trend Micro solutions more than a year ago, such as significantly improved IT security efficiency. Instead of having to jump from one console to another, the IT team can view and control everything from one screen. “Managing security at a large organization with multiple campuses can be very complex, but Trend Micro simplifies management so we can devote more time to strategic initiatives,” said Lee.
In addition to simplifying management, the solution’s automated alerts make it easy to prioritize security issues. “The Trend Micro solution not only alerts our team when there is a potential incident, it also tells us if the event is critical or low risk, so we can focus on the most urgent issues,” said Lee.
Similar to other institutions, ransomware attacks presented a growing concern for Seneca. “We’ve seen several cases where Trend Micro detects a file encryption consistent with ransomware, and it stops the encryption on the spot, and recovers any encrypted files, before ransomware can cause damage to more data and users,” said Lee.
Institutions of higher education like Seneca must always be prepared to secure their environments from new and advanced attacks. The school is already planning to upgrade to Trend Micro™ OfficeScan™ XG, the latest release, which includes high-fidelity machine learning and Trend Micro™ Mobile Security. With a new cloud strategy under development, Seneca is looking at ways to secure its cloud offerings.