Wichita State University

Learn how Wichita State University keeps its device population and data secure, avoiding financial loss and compliance violations.

Wichita State University (WSU) is a public university located in Wichita, Kansas that serves around 15,000 students. As the number of staff, professors, and students travel with school-owned laptops off-campus increases, managing the IT infrastructure for the entire campus and keeping the university’s device population secure, has been a growing challenge for WSU’s IT team. Lost devices can mean not only financial loss, but also security issues and compliance concerns.

Wichita State University (WSU) has undergone significant growth over the past four years, nearly doubling the size of its campus and seeing enrollment numbers approach 15,000 students. For WSU’s IT department, this growth creates a host of new challenges. In addition, a recent audit by the State of Kansas put a spotlight on a number of potential data security policy and procedure improvements that would need to be implemented in order to better protect the school’s device population.

Customer Case Study

Wichita State University Logo

Industry

  • Education - Higher

Country

  • United States

Platforms

  • Windows
  • Apple
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The Challenge

WSU’s IT team manages thousands of university-owned laptops, on top of numerous desktops and servers across campus. For those laptops being taken off campus, the WSU IT team had been lacking visibility into where those devices would go once they left the network perimeter. At times, these devices had even gone missing and the team lacked the appropriate tools to find them or wipe the proprietary data that was stored on their endpoints.

The catalyst for change came when a state security audit revealed that WSU was not meeting certain security and compliance requirements. The IT team realized that they would need to implement additional data security measures, including the ability to track school-owned devices. In addition, they would have to be able to demonstrate that the university was meeting and maintaining compliance standards with the Office of Civil Rights, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) standards.

On top of finding a solution to meet their data security, compliance and asset management requirements, WSU’s IT team needed a tool that would create additional efficiencies for their own team, considering the size of their network, device population and security program.

The Solution

After a short search for a solution, the WSU IT team brought in Absolute to quickly address their needs. By activating Absolute on thousands of its devices that were off-campus, WSU’s IT team now has visibility into their endpoints traveling outside of the boundaries of the network. Absolute’s patented Persistence technology also ensures the ability to self-heal should a user tamper with the security on the device.

“We’ve had success with detecting laptops that have ‘walked off’ of campus, and using Absolute to detect those cases, we were then able to remediate [those potential security threats],” said Matt Seiwert, Information Security Analyst at Wichita State University.

The WSU IT staff is also using Absolute to deploy and confirm full disk encryption, and now has the ability to track and lock devices, or freeze and wipe the data. The ability to manage and secure the endpoint population has also helped WSU gain and maintain ongoing compliance with HIPAA, PCI-DSS, FERPA and other state requirements.

Results

1
TRACK AND MANAGE ASSETS
Endpoint visibility and control – on and off network
2
SECURE ENDPOINTS AND ENHANCE DATA SECURITY
Confirm active encryption and endpoint security controls
3
MEET AND MAINTAIN COMPLIANCE

Sensitive data (PHI and PCI) discovery with automated response, device freeze, and containment; Continuous compliance with ongoing validation of data protection

We’ve had success with detecting laptops that have ‘walked off’ of campus, and using Absolute to detect and remediate [those potential security threats].

Matt Seiwert
Information Security Analyst
Wichita State University