Liberty University Uses Q1 Solution to Detect Network Threats on Universitywide Network

Liberty University, the largest and fastest-growing Evangelical Christian university worldwide, has selected QRadar Security Intelligence Platform from Q1 Labs to manage the university’s increasing amount of security related data, while improving the detection of threats across the university network.

“We had two major goals when we first began evaluating security information and event management (SIEM) solutions; from a security perspective, we required the ability to protect and preserve data while ensuring integrity. From an administrative perspective, we wanted to get to the point where logs were tamper-resistant.”

Founded in 1971 in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty University has grown to a total of 66,000 residential and distance education students. It is ranked as one of the world’s largest online educators – which is why it needed to be armed with a security solution to protect its students’ information and network use.

With a growing data environment and a substantial number of students connecting into the network, Liberty University needed the capability to detect security and IT incidents in progress or that had already occurred. Detecting threats that may have penetrated the network through multiple entry points or conduits was essential to identify security gaps. The ability to analyze system usage and performance across users’ devices and applications in order to identify potential threats was an essential requirement to bolstering their security program.
“We had two major goals when we first began evaluating security information and event management (SIEM) solutions. From a security perspective, we required the ability to protect and preserve data while ensuring integrity. From an administrative perspective, we wanted to get to the point where logs were tamper-resistant,” said Doug Atkinson, the university’s network engineer. “Immediately after deployment, we realized how useful QRadar would be from a forensic perspective because it pulled logs from multiple separate systems and consolidated them into one central location, resulting in one platform addressing both strategic goals.”

QRadar SIEM serves as the foundation of Liberty’s security strategy by providing secure reporting, storage and analysis capabilities without placing a burdensome traffic load on the network. With a large and constantly increasing number of online students, the ability to collect more than 10,000 events per second was critical, based on heavy Web usage that included the Web 2.0/social media applications that have become a mainstay in education and business environments.

“Comprehensive security includes meeting your compliance requirements,” said Atkinson. “Rather than implement logging just to meet regulatory compliance, Liberty wanted a solution that would prove truly useful in our day-to-day operations. By choosing a comprehensive logging and SIEM product in QRadar, we have been able to have state-of-the-art SIEM as well as meet our compliance needs.”

Correlating their events, logs and network activity to identify incidents helps the team better respond to potential offenses. At the same time, getting alerts about anomalous behavior is critical for them so that they can capture better visibility from all essential sources.

“Liberty University is a great customer, and we are proud to have earned their trust and their business,” said Tom Turner, senior vice president of marketing and channels at Q1 Labs. “They are an example of what we are seeing throughout our marketplace: increasing amounts of data to turn into security intelligence, while addressing compliance demands without the benefit of full-time analysts on the payroll.”


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