Mount Pleasant School District

Leverages Trend Micro to protect all data and prepare for the future

Overview

Known as a technology trailblazer with over 20 years of experience in technology and a passion for discovering innovation, Noe Arzate, chief technology officer for Mount Pleasant Independent School District (ISD) knows that leveraging technology to accomplish current needs and prepare for the future is crucial.

With thousands of confidential records, Mount Pleasant ISD considers securing data a top priority.

“We have to evaluate technology pragmatically. We have to prepare for the worst and hope it doesn’t happen,” says Arzate.

Challenges

Educational institutions in the US experienced an average of more than two attack incidents per school day in 2020, according to the K12 Security Information Exchange. Mount Pleasant ISD in Titus County, Texas, faced the challenge of protecting more than 5,400 students across eight campuses, plus approximately 1,000 faculty and staff members, while leveraging technology to inform curriculum and instruction decisions. To accomplish this, and to prepare for the district’s future security needs, Mount Pleasant ISD chose Trend Micro.

Why Trend Micro

While the district previously used Trend Micro™ TippingPoint™ to protect its data and endpoints, it was replaced by other tools due to a change in direction by school administrators. However, the COVID-19 pandemic presented the district with new security concerns, as students alternated between remote and in-person learning. He evaluated several other vendors to determine if they’d be a better fit for the district’s needs of securing each learning environment.

“We wanted to have the best protection for students learning from home, but we didn’t want to create obstacles to that learning. We needed to meet compliance requirements and empower kids to learn and progress. I kept coming back to TippingPoint because of the excellent job it did when I was a customer years ago,” says Arzate.

He also liked the fact that Trend Micro’s support and partnership compared to other vendors.

“With Trend Micro, it’s not just a purchase, it’s a relationship. It’s not just the technology, it’s the people that stand behind the technology,” says Arzate.

The solution and customer experience are exceeding Arzate’s expectations.

“I’m impressed with TippingPoint and Trend Micro. I know if I need help, I can get a hold of someone quickly who can help. I’m confident and happy that I selected Trend Micro,” says Arzate.

"With Trend Micro, it’s not just a purchase, it’s a relationship. It’s not just the technology, it’s the people that stand behind the technology."

Noe Arzate

Noe Arzate,
Chief Technology Officer,
Mount Pleasant Independent School

Solutions

Arzate especially likes what he’s seeing in TippingPoint, the next-generation intrusion prevention system (IPS), which protects critical infrastructure, data, and vulnerable applications in real time from known, undisclosed, and unknown vulnerabilities without adversely affecting network performance.

“When it comes to IPS, Trend Micro does things differently than other vendors. I like the architecture of TippingPoint and the way it’s positioned. We can set it up in different architectures and situations in our environment. It’s nice to see that the core of IPS and Trend Micro hasn’t changed—it has evolved to make something really good into something even better,” says Arzate.

Arzate also appreciated how seamless implementing and integrating TippingPoint has been during a demanding time for the district.

“TippingPoint has been extremely easy, from the sales side of things to the implementation of the product. I was able to schedule a call with Trend Micro and get it up and running very quickly. I also like the automation. You can set it up and forget it, which frees my staff to work on other critical needs,” says Arzate.

"TippingPoint has been extremely easy, from the sales side of things to the implementation of the product."

Noe Arzate,
Chief Technology Officer,
Mount Pleasant Independent School

Results

Mount Pleasant ISD is already seeing improved security protection without adverse impacts to its network performance. The district also works with another security vendor to provide external domain name system (DNS) protection. Placing TippingPoint in front of the firewall, in between its other server security vendor, allowed Arzate to see that some security events were still filtering through.

“Without TippingPoint, I wouldn’t have been able to see that. I could see that our other vendor is doing a good job, but not an excellent job because some security events are still getting in,” says Arzate.

The district plans to leverage that information to mitigate the events that are penetrating the system.

“It’s about finding the best position for TippingPoint to leverage the capabilities our other systems don’t have. Ultimately, having TippingPoint means having more data than ever to protect students, staff, and faculty even better,” says Arzate.

What's Next?

Working with Trend Micro again has influenced Arzate to consider other ways in which the two organisations might collaborate in the future.

“I’ve gotten to know Trend Micro again as a company, to understand their values and why they do what they do. That’s helped me see Trend Micro in a different light and to consider how we might expand our partnership in the future,” says Arzate.