Journey to a Safer Network: Westfield (NJ) School District

Sponsored post by Core BTS.

The education curriculum is rapidly changing the way teachers present content to students. With the constant changes in classroom technology, providing services and applications to students, faculty, and administration anywhere and anytime in a secure manner has become a top challenge for these institution’s IT departments. Westfield Public Schools, a school district with 10 schools located in Union County, New Jersey, recognized the need to build a network foundation that was resilient, reliable and secure. In a recent interview, Brian Auker, Chief Technology Officer at Westfield Public Schools, explained that many school districts invest in cybersecurity solutions only in response to a security incident, such as a breach or stolen data.  This mindset results in a short-term reactive technology approach to security, rather than a proactive long-term security strategy for the district.

Realizing there would be an increased risk associated with cyber-attacks and the need to protect their sensitive data from emerging threats, the Westfield IT department began assessing a remedy. The Westfield IT team worked with Core BTS, national IT solutions provider specializing in networking and IT security, to design an enhanced data center in conjunction with a layered security environment that would protect their data regardless of whether it resided in the network, endpoints or the cloud. Additionally, the Westfield IT group were interested in gaining better visibility, control and response capabilities. Westfield chose to invest in a Cisco Security Enterprise Agreement that provided leading network security solutions that share analytics across their platform. “The move provided better visibility and we’re now seeing our endpoints talk to our firewall and network access controls,” said Mr. Auker. “IT Security threats are evolving, and we needed to reduce complexity and automate as much of our defense controls as possible. It became clear to us we needed to implement an integrated security architecture.”

Westfield’s IT group also recognized that a well-balanced IT security strategy needed to include people and processes in addition to new technology. Auker works closely with the district’s administration and technology committee that includes four board members and one of the district’s Assistant Superintendents. With guidance from Core BTS, the Westfield team has been working diligently in developing security awareness programs for not only faculty and administration but also to help educate the students. Auker said, “IT security needs to become part of our schools’ culture if we’re going to protect ourselves from cyber threats. We’ve made great strides over the past few years to improve our security posture, however, we know the risk of a data breach isn’t going away and we need to be ready to adapt to new security challenges.”

About Westfield Public Schools: Westfield Public Schools in Westfield, New Jersey is a district of 6,300 students in 10 schools from grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th. In addition, there are 891 staff members of which 626 are professional staff and 265 support staff. The IT department provides technology services and support to all.

About Core BTS: As a national IT solutions provider, Core BTS aims to leverage offerings that blend together existing technology with application modernization to better assist organizations in maximizing their business potential. Core believes that through listening and understanding the strategic direction and organizational needs of our clients, we can improve overall productivity by enhancing security, collaboration, networking, and modernizing existing applications, data centers, and cloud infrastructure.