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Customer Success Story: University of Colorado Law School

Law school has greater control & confidence patching multi-platform devices in the cloud

Jonathan Sibray, Senior IT Director

The University of Colorado Law School is one of the professional graduate schools within the University of Colorado system. It is a public law school with more than 500 students attending and working toward a Juris Doctor, LLM, or Master of Studies in Law. The University of Colorado Law School consistently ranks as a top law school in U.S. News & World Report rankings and is renowned for its influence in the 12-state Rocky Mountain region and for the strength of its environmental law program. 

We manage a base of approximately 700 users consisting of mostly students and about one hundred faculty and staff. We’re a mixed Mac and Windows environment of about 160 machines. An added challenge is that our faculty works all over the world so it’s very important that we’re able to manage machines remotely. The legal education industry relies on an increasing variety of third party software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, which means we need to be able to patch both local and cloud-based applications. For years we didn’t have any sort of central patching. We just relied on endpoint devices to pick up updates for Windows OS and software such as Adobe and MS Office. We evaluated SCCM but it was costing the university $30 per endpoint and that cost became painfully prohibitive when passed on to each department. That solution also didn’t enable us to keep third party software patched or allow us to patch offline or off-premise computers, which left our campus infrastructure vulnerable.     

The unique security challenge in higher education is the tension between being open, allowing academic freedom, and making sure that faculty and students are free to pursue their research and exploration of knowledge, while still keeping them secure. Having a really strong and effective patching system is critical to being secure while preserving the principle of academic freedom.

"We evaluated the free trial and thought ‘is this thing for real?’ It just worked."

// Jonathan Sibray, Senior IT Director CU Law School

We needed a solution that was cloud-based, served our multi-OS environment, and gave us the right mix of automation and control needed to configure/customize a variety of end users. We signed up for a free trial of Automox and had an immediate sense of trust and thought 'is this thing for real?' It just worked.

The Automox dashboard reports give us visibility into the vulnerability status of every device, when it was patched, which patches are pending approval, and allows us to troubleshoot unpatched devices and remediate. The dashboard gives us what we need to patch, manage and configure our entire infrastructure. We’re now able to patch any operating system, including Macs, which was new for us. We can customize our policies, create groups for categories of users, and tailor our end-user notifications.

We’ve actually had one of the most seamless patching experiences throughout the past year. We’ve been very happy with it. The price point is very competitive. The interface is very easy to use and all of our techs can just jump in there. It’s intuitive and requires no training to get up to speed on it. I love the ability to run PowerShell scripts direct to a machine through Automox and the reporting has been great for helping us communicate our security status to others within the university.

Because of Automox, I sleep a lot better. I don’t stress as much about patching. I don’t worry about machines. If I have a faculty member on sabbatical and they’re working out of Stanford, I don’t worry about their machine not getting patched for six months. I can interact with all our remote devices and keep them patched and configured without disrupting my staff’s productivity. Automox has helped us be proactive rather than reactive and I can focus on training and user support instead of patch management. When a vulnerability like Spectre or Meltdown comes out, I can proactively manage our infrastructure instead of scrambling to get patches deployed. Our security posture is the best it’s ever been at this point.

"We have yet to find a piece of software that Automox has been unable to patch."

// Jonathan Sibray, Senior IT Director CU Law School

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