Georgia State University tackles malware As director of information security at Georgia State University, my work focuses on balancing the needs of an academic community, where teachers and students value the broad access and flexibility in online research, with the requirements of security of a large company. Advancing these two requirements requires a proactive approach to fighting malware. In a constantly changing threat landscape, I look for products that can provide effective protection, while helping us to make efficient use of the time and resources of our cyber security team. To meet these needs, we acquired Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection to increase email security for our more than 55,000 students and more than 6,000 teachers and staff.

The cyber security team at Georgia State University had noticed a steady increase in malware attacks, particularly phishing, and it felt as if we were fighting fires every day. The security of our university community in digital spaces is an important priority, so we aspire to anticipate the problem. It was clear that an additional layer of security was needed. To address the problem, we selected Advanced Threat Protection, because detection and protection against malware attacks would be handled in a Microsoft cloud environment, which would give us time to focus on other security and IT tasks.

After implementing the solution in a pilot group, we saw a significant reduction in the number of malicious emails reaching our users, and by the time we completed our implementation, we had reduced by more than 2,000 the number of emails that had received malicious content. messages for a period of five months. Today, advanced threat protection has become an important part of the toolkit that helps us take a proactive stance against malware. This hosted email filtering solution also runs smoothly with our Office 365 email system, providing a highly secure productivity platform.

And the implementation was done quickly and easily, with the support of Microsoft FastTrack. Our team has also found that the management controls and user-based configurations available within the solution are very configurable, an advantage given the range of user groups (teachers, staff and students) that we should consider in the environment of the higher education. The Safe Links feature has been particularly useful in our environment, as students share many links while working on projects, and has performed well to help prevent inadvertent access to malware through links and attachments. The solution is perfect from the perspective of the user experience, and the product is discreet and works efficiently in the background.

The security profile of Georgia State University has been significantly improved in regards to email through the use of Advanced Threat Protection. Today, we have a solution that is almost invisible, while providing staff and students with a safer environment to work and study.

-Ren Flot

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Advanced protection against Office 365 threats appeared first in Office blogs.