Securing the State: Wyoming's Partnership with CrowdStrike

 

The State of Wyoming Department of Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) needed to replace a legacy antivirus solution that was missing detections, impeding the ability of end users to do their jobs, and not providing crucial 24/7 protection. CrowdStrike® Falcon® was the answer.

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Securing the State: Wyoming's Partnership with CrowdStrike

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Part of the responsibilities of the CIO and the Director of Enterprise Technology is to support and maintain and service all of the executive branch, and on occasion some judicial and legislative branch offices of the state government. That comprises of about 10,000 users in the state of Wyoming. A huge part of that obligation and duties of ET is to protect the citizens and their data and the state and its operations from cyber activity, malicious hackers, rogue states, and activists, and all of that into our systems. We did an aggressive search, and we decided to try a particular product and vendor for a proof of concept that would give us not only the end-point protection that we need on all of the various clients that we have throughout the state, but to help augment our resources.

We did the proof of concept with this thing, and literally by the end of that proof of concept, we had people from different parts of the organization willingly giving up line-item budgets to help procure this solution. It impacted ETS and the state that much. As an IT administrator, I have to tell you I was hesitant to move from our previous solution. So many people in the agency championed CrowdStrike after our proof of concept that it somewhat was an no-brainer.

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Why CrowdStrike? Because it goes along with our strategic plan. We are looking at cloud-based solutions. We are looking at lightweight, thin clients. And truthfully, why CrowdStrike? 24-hour, 365 protection, the expanded coverage that we get from Overwatch. Look, we’re in tough fiscal times right now. We can only staff so much. This is a solution that really gives me comfort as an IT administrator that when I go to bed at night, I know I have the folks at CrowdStrike helping me look at that network.

We have a public-private partnership now with a company that operates a security operations center, if you will, and Overwatch for our network 24/7, 365. For us to replicate that without that partnership would require the hiring of anywhere from 6 to 10 new or different individuals. So through this partnership, we’ve been able to augment our processes and watch our network full-time.

The traditional AV gave us something that’s already happened. So we had to go back and look, and pull it off, or it didn’t catch it at all. The new way of doing it is it’s catching it before it happens, so we’re able to stop it before it actually executes the file, malware. Staying in front of it, and not after the fact.

CrowdStrike gives me the tools to see forensically what I need to see. The protection on it has been awesome so far. I mean, we’re protected against everything from the old traditional malware. We’re seeing scripted attacks getting beat back by CrowdStrike. We’re getting alerts of things that didn’t happen to us so that we can go make sure they’re OK, rather than things that did happen and we pray that they’re OK. So it’s been a huge difference for us.

When we think about CrowdStrike, we tried to give the agencies that we support the ability to do their business. We don’t want to interrupt it with real heavy scans. We want them to be able to choose whether they use Linux, Windows, Mac.

We want them to have those choices, because that’s how they do their business. And if they can’t do their business, I’m out of business. So where we go with CrowdStrike is we tried to find the least obtrusive thing that we could have. And coincidentally enough, it gave us the very best protection.

So knowing that we have a vendor that is in this battle with us gives us strength and courage, and frankly the support that is needed to combat this on a global level, not just isolated as one state.

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It’s a force multiplier in the protection of the systems that we have to secure our connective world.

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