Case Study: Howard County Public School System MDR

CASE STUDIES

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) – a large, top-ranked Maryland school district with over 67,000 students and teachers – had a complicated need for a comprehensive and affordable 24×7 Managed Detection and Response solution. After a nationwide selection process, HCPSS chose to partner with MGT for their cyber security solutions. While working with MGT, and serving as their 24×7 security alerting resource, HCPSS has been able to achieve complete, live visibility to their entire network, proactively defend against potential cyber incidents, and overall hardened their security posture across their entire IT infrastructure.

Although HCPSS had a strong foundation of protection for its 78 schools and special education centers, with a defensive approach to cyber security and best-in-class industry-standard products and solutions, leaders were still concerned about data breaches.

Many large-scale ransomware incidents at neighboring school districts drove HCPSS to assess their cyber security posture and ultimately execute on the evident need to elevate their security program and have the required resources available to detect and intercept a potential cyber incident on an on-going basis. With limited security resources and limited proactive monitoring, the district sought help from an outside specialist to help their internal team intercept cyber incidents and enhance its overall security maintenance shortfall.

HCPSS wanted a partner firm whose solution wholly interfaced with their existing operating environment to offer advanced Managed Detection and Response (MDR) capabilities as well as professional engineering services as needed. More specifically, they needed an outside partner capable of monitoring and logging network traffic, including North/South and East/West; live data visualization and analysis of traffic; network and system data ingestion including cloud-based systems; and proactive threat hunting intelligence, investigation, and reporting.

Our team’s offerings blend seamlessly with HCPSS’s current operating environment and technology solutions. Our solutions also incorporate a deep understanding of the education environment, having worked with hundreds of school districts across the country in prior engagements.   

From our US-based Security Operations Center (SOC), we now work as part of the HCPSS team to monitor and log network traffic, offer live data visualization and analysis of all traffic through the school system’s two data centers, proactively threat hunt, and oversee their general security posture and vulnerability management processes. 

Our client is pleased with the solutions and results so far.  

“As a current client of MGT, we recommend them as a provider of SIEM solutions, and 24×7 Managed Detection and Response capabilities. Their implementation, on-going management of our solution, and overall engagement with us has been optimal and they have been easy to coordinate and collaborate with,” Said Phillip D. Dixon, IT Security Manager for HCPSS.  

Engaged since 2020, MGT is partnering with HCPSS for a five-year term to offer 24X7 MDR, cloud visibility, proactive threat hunting, incident response and remediation, and L2/L3 cyber security engineering. To date, the team has successfully managed multiple cyber-attacks and successfully protected its staff, student and administration population.