Harford County

Harford County Relies on Varonis to Protect Data On-Premises and in the Cloud

The Customer

Location: Bel Air, Maryland

Industry: Local Government

Products: DatAdvantageData Classification Framework, and DatAlert

Harford County is a suburb of Baltimore with approximately 250,000 residents, 1,500 government employees, and a six-million dollar operating budget.

“Being able to have one product like Varonis in our toolkit makes security more manageable. When you have many different tools that don’t have visibility into one another, each tool can only take us so far and then the other one picks up. There are missing links. What has been exciting about Varonis is the new modules we can easily add on as we grow and progress.”

— Ted Pibil, CIO at Harford County

 

The Challenge

Harford County was struggling to protect against the growing number of malware threats given the vast amount of unstructured data in their environment. Although they had multiple layers of security in place — including firewalls, intrusion detection and endpoint security — and were protected against many threats, they were still seeing malware slip through the cracks.

Pibil began searching for a solution that could not only protect against hackers, but also help manage and control access to their sensitive data. Additionally, with the county’s Cloud First strategy, Pibil saw a gap in security across their Office365 environment that needed to be filled. After discussing their security challenges with a new partner, testing multiple solutions, including Microsoft’s own security offering, and reading about the capabilities provided by Varonis, Harford County identified the Varonis Data Security Platform as the only solution able to provide the level of protection they needed.

“During the proof of concept, we immediately realized how powerful Varonis would be in helping to recognize, ‘Hey this one user is changing file names on hundreds of files in a short time.’ Detecting suspicious behavior was really key for us. We were able to alert on, stop, and restore data much quicker than waiting for a call from the end user,” said Pibil.

In addition to flagging anomalous user behavior, Varonis enabled Pibil and his team to consolidate other solutions. With Varonis, Harford County’s IT team have one interface that enables them to control and protect data, provides user management control, and allows them to jump between on-premises and cloud quickly and easily.

The Varonis Solution

Once Harford County started working with Varonis, they immediately realized the benefits of increased visibility into their file systems, as they watched Varonis catch and stop ransomware threats that all the other solutions failed to identify.

“The biggest impact has been that our unstructured data is protected far better than ever before. As a result, we have seen our risk of attack go way down.” Pibil continued, “Our engineers absolutely love Varonis. The nightmares of when we had a malware infection and had to restore terabytes of data all while having employees trying to access their stolen files have completely gone away.”

Varonis assisted in making Harford County’s Cloud First strategy a success by addressing security gaps companies face with all premises data stores, such as determining who has access to data, who is touching it, where sensitive data sits, and how to detect insider threats and ransomware attacks. Varonis is able to provide visibility and continuous monitoring across Harford’s on-premises and Office365 environments in a single platform. Varonis also highlights users that have access to files they shouldn’t and accelerates remediation, cutting down on unnecessary data exposure and saving time and resources. Pibil added, “From a manager’s standpoint, it’s a constant battle: IT roles keep expanding, but it’s not possible to add staff.  Having the right solutions in place has helped us reduce the stress levels and unnecessary work for employees.”

Next Steps

Harford County has plans to grow their solutions toolbox with Varonis.

Speaking of his overall experience with Varonis, Pibil said, “I now have peace of mind knowing that Varonis is there to stop intruders, and if a user does get infected, I know they won’t get too far.”

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Varonis Risk Assessments quickly show you where your most vulnerable data is stored, who is accessing it, and what needs to be done to secure it. Find out more here.