Collin County

Counts on Trend Micro’s superior support to defend against cyberattacks

Overview

Collin County, with a 2017 population of almost 1 million, is the seventh most populous county in Texas and the 63rd-largest by population in the United States. Its centralised IT operations support all information-related services for the entire county, such as technical projects, day-to-day support, and strategic goals and planning. The county has five IT-related departments: IT, telecom, geographical information services (GIS), records, and enterprise resource planning (ERP). The mission of the county’s IT operations is to make the county’s data accessible to citizens while protecting it from cyber threats and unauthorised access.

Challenges

Collin County needed to provide technology and related services to its various departments and functional areas while managing its data securely. In the late 1990s, the county realised that it needed virus protection for its systems and an increased awareness of the potential for a catastrophic data breach. In 2000, led by their new Chief Information Officer Caren Skipworth, the county began an effort to manage and protect its desktops, servers, and data clusters to enhance its ability to detect and respond rapidly to cyber threats and attacks.

An additional, ongoing challenge is posed by the nature of county governments in Texas, which have many independent elected officials. Today, Collin County has 37 officials—many in the criminal justice division—and 16 department heads, all serving four-year terms. They have a variety of programs for their constituencies, and goals that are sometimes conflicting, which makes managing the various departments challenging. Collin County needed a security solution that could deal with this complexity while providing robust support to its small IT department.

Why Trend Micro

In 2002, Skipworth evaluated Trend Micro products as part of the county’s initiative to expand its ability to repel cyberattacks. “At the time, compliance was our main concern, and Trend Micro’s solution fit the bill for us to keep us compliant and up to date,” said Skipworth. Then in 2015, to help manage the more stringent requirements from the state government and Homeland Security, the county appointed a chief information security officer. Pleased with the results and the support they’d received in the past, the county turned again to Trend Micro to help them develop a security-first culture.

With their small IT staff, the county liked Trend Micro’s approach to IT as a service. “Every time we’ve grown and expanded, we’ve had great support—remote support, onsite, on the phone. We always get the support we need, at no additional charge. That is a true partnership,” said Skipworth.

"Every time we’ve grown and expanded, we’ve had great support—remote support, onsite, on the phone. We always get the support we need, at no additional charge.That is a true partnership."

Caren Skipworth
Chief Information Officer, Collin County

Solutions

Collin County chose Trend Micro as its security partner in 2002 and has been a satisfied customer ever since. In addition to the superior support they get from Trend Micro, the county uses:

  • Trend Micro™ OfficeScan™: A good fit for their environment, OfficeScan provides an optimised security solution for endpoints, including mobile devices. It effectively filters out threats across the organisation.
  • Trend Micro™ Control Manager™: With additional endpoint protection and the centralised visibility they wanted, Control Manager provides a holistic view of their security posture. It’s integrity monitoring and log inspection, as well as the automated virtual patching, lifts some of the workload for this IT department and keeps their threat protection up to date.
  • Trend Micro™ InterScan™ Messaging Security Virtual Appliance (IMSVA): IMSVA gives the county comprehensive protection against cyberattacks, blocking spam, phishing, and advanced persistent threats, securing both inbound and outbound data.

"Our first call was to Trend Micro, and the response was awesome. They stayed with us until everything was stable. That’s what a real partner does for you."

Caren Skipworth
Chief Information Officer, Collin County

Results

When the county experienced an attempted ransomware attack in April 2017, the Trend Micro solution detected it immediately and issued the appropriate alerts. Skipworth’s team was able to respond appropriately and halt it. The solution detected the attack before it was able to infiltrate the county’s systems, and a Trend Micro support team member helped manage the county’s response to the attack until it was under control. As Skipworth reported, “Our first call was to Trend Micro, and the response was awesome. They stayed with us until everything was stable. That’s what a real partner does for you.”

In addition to robust security and support, Trend Micro provides the reporting that Collin County needs to pass its audits to meet its many compliance requirements, and it helps the county defend itself against the increasingly prevalent phishing attacks that are occurring worldwide. The annual global Trend Micro Directions customer conference , which the Collin County team attended in 2018, has also enhanced employee education, helping put controls and training in place for new hires.

What's Next

Skipworth and her staff recognise the need to be proactive. They also recognise the benefits of adding functionality to the existing Trend Micro solution rather than trying to integrate multiple tools and products from different vendors. To stay a step ahead of the growing number of threats, they are looking into Trend Micro™ Endpoint Detection and Response and Trend Micro™ Managed Detection and Response for proactive threat management.