University of Warwick

Bolsters cyber defences with Trend Micro Cloud App Security


The UK education sector is an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals. Separate pieces of research have revealed that many universities have faced phishing and ransomware attacks. Given the highly sensitive research-based IP and personal data on students and staff stored by these institutions, it’s no surprise that they’ve become a favourite of hackers.

The University of Warwick has recognised the rise in attacks and proactively decided to further strengthen its defences. Its Head of Cloud Services, Des Butcher, in conjunction with colleagues, sought out third-party expertise to help secure its Office 365 environment.

Rising Threat Levels

The University’s existing anti-spam and malware capabilities were based on existing Unix relays; an unsustainable situation given the rapidly increasing volume, complexity and variety of threats.

Des and his colleagues in ITS therefore set out to find a more effective solution to the problem; and one which addressed not only the primary threat vector of email but also provided protection across the entire Office 365 range. A priority was placed on third-party providers who could offer tight integration with Microsoft’s online productivity suite with an easy-to-implement product set.

Enter Cloud App Security

Des started a review of security solutions in January 2017, and asked a select group of vendors to present to the email team and IT security staff. Trend Micro™ Cloud App Security was chosen based on this presentation, and some outstanding commercials.

"Trend Micro sits within your tenancy. That proximity to the data being protected had a significant advantage versus other gateway products. Typical gateway products focused on just email, rather than email, SharePoint and OneDrive, which are the other significant aspects of Office 365."

Des Butcher,
Head of Cloud Services
University of Warwick

Trend Micro Cloud App Security is the perfect choice for businesses looking to extend the built-in security protections of Office 365 with advanced malware detection and data loss prevention. Here are just some of the benefits:

Document exploit detection helps find malware including ransomware in Office formats like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Trend Micro™ Deep Discovery™ sandbox technology detects unknown malware and shares intelligence with other security layers.

Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™-derived intelligence finds malicious URLs in both the message body and email attachments.

Detects attacks in progress as hackers try to migrate via email from compromised accounts within the organisation.

Data Loss Prevention for OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Dropbox®, Box®, and Google Drive™ uses over 200 pre-built and customisable compliance templates to control sharing of controlled data.

Scans files shared from remote workers and partners.

Tight API-based integration means automatic, hassle-free set-up.

Trend Micro has been a Microsoft Gold Partner for 20 years.

Maximum Security, Minimum Outlay

Des and his team first conducted some pen testing exercises on Cloud App Security before running the product in monitoring mode for a couple of weeks to check for false positives. The results were very good and the product was switched on.

It’s been plain sailing ever since: although the attacks keep on increasing, the impact on the university is significantly lower than that prior to Cloud App Security installation, says Des.

“We haven’t been affected by the majority of the attacks on higher education institutions that get reported” he adds.

"We can see a measurable benefit: a reduction in the volume of malware arriving in our users’ inboxes. We can look at the dashboard and get a view of potentially thousands of pieces of malicious content getting blocked."

Des Butcher,
Head of Cloud Services
University of Warwick

The product has also helped Des save valuable resources, at a time when budgets are tight.

“By moving our defence into Office 365, we’re in a position to reduce the amount of resource we devote to this area and focus it elsewhere,” he concludes.

“From a commercial point-of-view, I’m confident its cost is neutral and has delivered significant benefits.”