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Churches of Christ in Queensland boosts network cybersecurity with Vectra

Churches of Christ in Queensland boosts network cybersecurity with Vectra

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Vectra’s AI-driven cybersecurity threat detection and response platform provide increased visibility to secure critical data and digital communications. 

Thomas Kitching, General Manager Information Technology at Churches of Christ

Vectra AI, a leader in AI-driven cyberthreat detection and response for hybrid and multi-cloud enterprises, has announced that Churches of Christ in Queensland has selected its AI-driven cybersecurity platform to strengthen its defence against a landscape of increasing cyberthreats. 

Headquartered in Brisbane’s Kenmore, Churches of Christ delivers critical care and compassionate services to more than 25,000 Australians across 100 communities in Queensland and Victoria. These services include retirement and aged care, foster and kinship care, social housing and family support. 

“Thousands of people rely on our team of 4,000 staff and volunteers to deliver the best level of care and support, which means it is vital our systems and networks are robust and remain uninterrupted,” said Thomas Kitching, General Manager Information Technology at Churches of Christ. 

Kitching explains that one of the key drivers for Churches of Christ in procuring advanced AI-powered threat detection capabilities was to protect its community and the organisation against the increasingly sophisticated and even fatal nature of cyberattacks which persist. 

“In the last couple of years, our industry has been hit by major breaches with associated crippling disruption and costs,” Kitching said. “Cybercrime is an increasingly serious concern for community care organisations such as Churches of Christ. As such, prioritising network defence and working with the right partner were mission-critical for us.”

To get started, Vectra worked with Kitching’s team to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment and gap analysis as well as identify risk priorities for the Queensland organisation. These included data priorities, such as immutable backups, and infrastructure safety, deploying Vectra’s Network Detection and Response (NDR) as an additional layer to bolster security posture. The risk assessment also covered human priorities including mandatory annual cyber-training and improved internal auditing. 

“For community care organisations like Churches of Christ, securing critical data is a massive responsibility,” said Tony Bauman, ANZ Country Manager for Vectra. “The type of data that is stored extends hugely into somebody’s personal life and family history; in the wrong hands this data can lead to so much criminal intent for financial gain. This is just one of the reasons why continuous visibility across the network and behavioural analytics are increasingly deployed to secure mission-critical data.”

Network detection and response pivotal to securing digital infrastructure

Vectra NDR continuously monitors the Churches of Christ network to detect cyberthreats and abnormal lateral traffic movement for user access to restricted systems and data. The AI-driven platform delivers Attack Signal Intelligence by leveraging data science and Machine Learning to reveal underlying attack behaviours even when traffic is encrypted. 

“Our priority for network detection and response was to get that real-time visibility and potential issues to be red flagged in advance, so we can mitigate threats proactively,” said Kitching. 

Additionally, cybersecurity awareness and education were identified as a high priority for Churches of Christ in Queensland, with users identified as the biggest cybersecurity risk. 

“It doesn’t matter how secure your network is if your users get phished and give away their passwords. That’s a direct line to your data irrespective of what network defence measures you have in place,” explains Kitching. “We’re talking about people who are extremely caring and look after the most vulnerable people in our community. How would they even know if they are being phished? So, our approach was also to mature our users’ understanding of cybersecurity, particularly in a non-profit space when handling large volumes of sensitive data.”

With Vectra, Churches of Christ was also able to extend network threat detection capabilities to unmanaged devices like BYOD, that are not covered by the organisation’s antivirus systems. This additional visibility was extremely important, particularly when considering the 330 distributed and mobile staff members who visit homes all the time. 

“Our carers not only use our LAN and LAN network, but access multiple technologies such as 4G and Wi-Fi when on the move,” said Kitching.

Cyber-risk mitigation a key value proposition for non-profit organisations  

When selecting a cybersecurity partner and investing in the right solutions, value proposition was pivotal to their choice. As Kitching clarifies, putting a return on investment based on people’s wellbeing is not possible; but the value in a non-profit organisation is more about making sure people are looked after in the best possible way. 

“For us, risk mitigation was very important to delivering our values and mission. The Vectra team spent time to understand how important our organisation is to the community and took our future cyber-priorities into consideration,” said Kitching. “The team understood our financial position and factored that into costing for a mutually beneficial partnership.”

Kitching points out that getting Vectra on board was ‘one of the fastest implementations I’ve ever experienced’. Vectra’s network engineers impressed Kitching by completing network configurations in a matter of days, rather than weeks.

“Vectra became the highest value vendor for us – not only did they meet our mission statement, not only did they want to invest in our organisation and factor in great pricing, but we are also now able to share the value from our partnership to the rest of the industry,” he concludes. 

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