• 4 min Read

CISA Test Failed to Penetrate Local Government Network Defended by ThinkGard

Security assessments by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are the gold standard for validating cybersecurity effectiveness for government entities. These assessments mimic actions that threat actors might take to get into an IT system. They’re usually successful at finding potential entryways for cyber intruders but that’s not what happened when Josh Royle had a CISA assessment done for the IT systems he’s in charge of for Buchanan County, Missouri. 

The remote vulnerability test couldn’t get penetrate the county’s defenses. In fact, CISA had to contact Royle and his cybersecurity team at ThinkGard and ask if they could please open up the firewall a bit so they could get in and finish their workflow. 

“ThinkGard had to provide access for the CISA servers so they could do any scanning at all which was excellent,” said Royle.  

ThinkGard is Buchanan County’s outsourced cybersecurity partner and they do more than manage their firewall. ThinkGard strategically weaves together security tools and custom workflows to create a secure ecosystem from which the county conducts all of its digital business.  

The positive outcome from the CISA evaluation was the result of having the right security layers with the right configurations, from XDR and EDR to network visibility and email protection, and more. 

Security Concerns Kept IT Director Awake at Night 

Royle was introduced to ThinkGard when he answered a phone call from a sales rep. The conversation struck a chord with the concerns that had been keeping Royle awake at night. 

Josh Royle Testimonial

“Security was something that had been on our minds here for quite a while,” said Royle. “We had talked with some local folks, but it was obvious to us that the ThinkGard team had the experience and solutions that we were looking for. It was easy for us to go with somebody that knew exactly what they were good at and did it well.” 

Royle has an internal IT team of three people who are tasked with making sure that all the government entities can utilize technology to serve the 90,000 residents of Buchanan County efficiently and effectively. They support anything that’s plugged into the network or uses any kind of data.  

Bringing on ThinkGard makes it possible for Royle and his team to focus on providing a great technology experience for both citizens and staff while knowing that all the security bases are covered. 

Following a Path of Cybersecurity Improvement 

In the three years since Royle brought on ThinkGard, they’ve followed a path of security improvement that included moving to Cisco equipment. In fact, the county expanded their use of Cisco security portfolio to the point where they became eligible for an enterprise agreement. This meant that they could gain even more functionality for not much more cost.  

ThinkGard recommends products and services because they fit into their security playbook, and they make sense from a business standpoint. Often customers can replace or add security services while yielding savings or being cost neutral, so Royle’s experience is not unusual. 

Cole Two Bears, VP of Security Services at ThinkGard explains, “We’re not dependent upon any one vendor. We cut through the fluff and determine what is going to have the best outcome for the client and we implement those products.” 

The recommendation to move to Cisco was part of a comprehensive plan to mature Buchanan County’s cybersecurity posture. Royle likes the way that ThinkGard allows them to be proactive, both with long term planning and with immediate needs. 

“ThinkGard reaches out to us if there are any updates that should be made to the firewall or software,” said Royle. “If anything pops up as a concern, they let us know immediately and they’ve typically already done all the research for it and know exactly what’s happening.” 

Royle communicates with the ThinkGard team almost daily. He says that having them as a sounding board is priceless because they bring a wider view of the IT world than they could have by themselves.  

Having cybersecurity expertise at his fingertips is great but what’s even better is that those nagging thoughts about possible cyber intruders don’t keep him awake at night anymore. 

ThinkGard Lifts a Weight Off His Shoulders 

“With ThinkGard, we can hand off the worry of keeping up to date with all of the latest threats in the cybersecurity world,” said Royle. “This has lifted a huge weight off our shoulders and allowed us to concentrate on other things.” 

Royle understands that no one is going to completely take away the threat of a cyber-attack, but with ThinkGard he knows that the risks that Buchanan County government faces are much lower. If CISA can’t get into their network, it’s a good sign that the bad guys aren’t going to either. 

Do you need to validate cybersecurity effectiveness for your organization? Contact us today to schedule a consultation

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