Case Study - Eastern Regional Libraries

MSSP Protects Library Group’s Network with Catalog of Security Services

Challenge

Welcoming over two million visitors each year, Eastern Regional Libraries offers an array of library services across 17 sites, which comprise fourteen branch libraries, two community reading rooms and two mobile libraries. Over the last twenty years, the organization’s use of technology has evolved to include mobile applications, free Internet access, and beginners’ IT training among the services offered to patrons. “In the mid-90s, visits to the library were primarily around books,” reflected Joseph Cullen, Chief Executive Officer at Eastern Regional Libraries. “But now, many patrons come in just to use our technology – in fact, computer and Internet access are easily among our most-demanded services.”

When the organization decided to reevaluate their existing network infrastructure, outsourcing staff became an option. “We wanted additional expertise, and to modernize our internal systems. I felt that we had a potential point of failure, in that it was all in-house, with only one person managing IT as an expert in the area. We’re a relatively small organization – our staffing in total, including part-time, is only about 120 people. But there’s still obviously a big exposure to our technology. So from my perspective, it was really an opportunity for improvement – to reduce that point of failure.” Additionally, the organization wanted to be mindful of cyber threats and implementing the necessary preventative measures. “Moving forward we wanted to nail down usage polices, without hampering the experience of our users.”

Solution

Looking for a managed security provider that would help achieve their aims, Eastern Regional Libraries partnered with WYSCOM. Established in 1999, the company specializes in deploying high quality, managed security and support services, and works directly with their customers to help them achieve business goals and strategic objectives. “Recognizing Eastern Regional Libraries’ competing needs for cyber security – without hampering the user experience – a number of additional security measures have been deployed to reduce the scope of the threat landscape and harden the security of the endpoint itself, however we needed to implement a product that would offer significant protection at the gateway,” noted Hayden Johnston, director of operations at WYSCOM. “In addition to heavy restrictions on the endpoints, WatchGuard firewalls were deployed with Total Security Suite to ensure all subscription services would be enabled to address these particular needs.”

The Firebox M200, T50, T30, and T10 appliances deployed throughout the 17 Eastern Regional Libraries sites benefit from WYSCOM’s security expertise. “As a WatchGuard partner, all WYSCOM engineering staff are WatchGuard-certified, which certainly helps with major deployments and ongoing management tasks. Extensive audits were conducted of the existing Sophos firewalls prior to the deployment, so the configurations could be built and initially transferred as close to identical as possible. Enhancements were then applied to support the WatchGuard Total Security Suite services and apply best-practice security principals to the device configurations. This process ensured a smooth transition and was deployed over a one-week period across 17 sites.”

Results

“Before we transitioned over to WYSCOM, we really weren’t sure what we were going to get,” reflected Micah Macri, “Our experience with past IT providers had sometimes been a little tricky, and we weren’t sure how they were going to work with our staff – who don’t know too much about IT systems. And they’ve just been amazing. They have a great ticketing system that really prevents anything from falling through the cracks. I sleep easier knowing that I don’t need to be on top of – for example – the latest ransomware threat, because I know that the team at WYSCOM has it under control. It gives me great piece of mind, and really saves me a lot of time.”

With WYSCOM’s services, Eastern Regional Libraries is assured that patrons have safe access to the Internet, without impeding user experience. “Generally speaking, if someone is using the Internet at one of our libraries, they’ve either brought their own device, or they’re using one of our PCs. We also have a few children’s PCs at every branch – those run a select few educational literacy and numeracy games. They do have Internet access, and WYSCOM has limited them to just a few online, educational games. We provide guest Wi-Fi access for patrons – but when people access the Internet from a PC or from their mobile device, there are protective filters in place – primarily around domains that are known to have malware. We look after three councils, and one – Yarra Ranges -- has quite remote communities. Even if residents have Internet access at home it’s very slow, so they’ll often come to the library for faster, more reliable service. From our point of view, it’s immensely valuable that we can provide our patrons with reliable, safe access.”

“Using WYSCOM has been extremely beneficial,” concluded Micah. “They’re very well trained in all of our systems and it leaves us feeling like, no matter what happens now, they’re looking out for us, and that’s the type of support that we really needed.”

 

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I sleep easier knowing that I don’t need to be on top of – for example – the latest ransomware threat, because I know that the team at WYSCOM has it under control. It gives me great piece of mind, and really saves me a lot of time.

Micah Macri, Manager,
Library IT Systems & Creative Technologies

 

 

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