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Lone Star College System Reduces IT Labor Costs with Symantec Solutions


Community college system improves security and protects information with Altiris IT Management Suite, Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Endpoint Encryption

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that Lone Star College System expects to save nearly $3 million after implementing Symantec endpoint security and management software solutions. The community college system serving the Greater Houston area has rolled out Altiris IT Management Suite from Symantec, Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Endpoint Encryption across all of its campuses to help ensure confidential information is secure and reduce the time and costs IT spends managing security policies and systems. The savings in labor productivity are critical after the state reduced funding to community colleges as part of its effort to balance its budget.

With nearly 90,000 full- and part-time students taking classes at its 14 campuses, Lone Star is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest growing in Texas. Until recently, each campus’ IT department functioned as a separate entity, making its own decisions about software applications and patches. As students increasingly accessed multiple campuses for their coursework, Lone Star decided to move to a standardized set of IT services and platforms to enhance its image as a unified educational system and improve staff efficiencies.

“The lack of standard tools made troubleshooting difficult,” said Link Alander, Associate Vice Chancellor, Lone Star College System. “For example, when an instructor developed a new course syllabus, the IT staff had to reimage the hardware platforms in that teacher’s classroom to provide the required applications and text. With so many different hardware platforms and configurations, this task took two to three weeks for one system administrator. Symantec solutions allowed us to automate and streamline this cumbersome process.”

Lone Star consolidated its client management capabilities using Altiris IT Management Suite from Symantec. The suite provides remote imaging capabilities, greatly simplifying the process of reimaging classroom computers at the start of each semester. Patches are now consistently applied on a monthly basis, twice as often as before. New applications can be pushed out during off hours in coordination with Lone Star’s power efficiency scheme, which is also managed by Altiris IT Management Suite.

“We have complete control of our inventory process, and now all asset information is consolidated in a configuration management database (CMDB), which is automatically updated by Altiris IT Management Suite,” added Alander. “Asset reports are more accurate and only take minutes to complete versus hours or days before, and we are saving substantial amounts of IT staff time that was previously spent manually updating inventory records.”

Staff rely on their laptops as they move from campus to campus so they can access the sensitive personal and institutional information contained on or accessible from those machines. The loss or theft of a staff laptop could result in the release of information that would subject the system to fines or loss of reputation. Lone Star also must comply with a number of privacy regulations, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which adds to the urgency of protecting information on staff laptops.

Lone Star uses Altiris IT Management Suite to push out Symantec Endpoint Protection to its laptops and desktops. The multiple endpoint security technologies of Symantec Endpoint Protection—which replaced a legacy product from CA Technologies—defend against a wide range of threats. The application control and intrusion prevention features of Symantec Endpoint Protection provide added security. Symantec Endpoint Encryption is installed on all staff laptops to prevent disclosure of sensitive student and staff information in the event of loss or theft.

By deploying Altiris IT Management Suite, Symantec Endpoint Protection, and Symantec Endpoint Encryption, Lone Star met its primary goals of delivering IT services to the student population, staff, and faculty while gaining labor productivity and avoiding costs. A business value analysis prepared by the Alchemy Group found that Symantec software delivered actual and projected savings of more than $2.7 million for the period from March 2009 through December 2011.

“We used to have to contend with an average of five major security events and three minor events each year, and each major incident required seven full-time employees to each spend six hours of remediation time,” said Alander. “We wasted more than 450 hours a year. After implementing Symantec Endpoint Protection and Symantec Endpoint Encryption, we have reduced system-wide threats to just one minor event per year, which requires only 12 hours of labor time to resolve.”

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