Risk Assessment, Ransomware Response, and Cyber Resilience

A California University

This California university knew they needed a risk management plan. But they didn’t expect to need it so soon.

Recognizing the importance of building up their cyber hygiene to protect themselves from future attacks, a California university hired Launch to conduct an assessment of their security and network infrastructure. Our team developed a remediation plan that would help the university resolve the security issues we found and improve their security posture.

But just as they were getting ready to engage us to fix the issues we found, disaster struck: The university was hit by a ransomware attack.

Conquering a Critical Crisis

The university wasn’t prepared for an attack, but thanks to the assessment, Launch was prepared to respond. We leaped into action, bringing in a remediation team to prevent the attack from spreading to other systems. Once we brought in the experts, we were able to identify and contain the ransomware within eight hours.

Coordinating with the school’s insurance company and forensic experts, we restored critical operations overnight, and full operations in under five days. No ransom required.

Raising Resilience from Risk

Crisis solved, Launch and the university got back to the business at hand: resolving the outstanding security issues identified in the remediation plan and creating a roadmap for the school to continue bolstering their cyber immune system.

For instance, the school hadn't had any security alerting or monitoring in place before the risk assessment. Now, they have a security information and event management (SIEM) solution that keeps tabs on key assets in order to prevent future attacks. As they move forward, they continue to use Launch as a trusted partner to help manage and improve their ongoing security initiatives.

For our client, this experience highlighted the importance of proactively identifying and addressing security risks, as well as the value of having a skilled and responsive team in place in the event of an attack.

Adapting to AI Cybersecurity

Proactive risk analysis and a trusted incident response team are especially crucial competencies as new AI-enabled threats emerge. This strong base of fundamentals prepares this university to not only mitigate those threats, but also take advantage of the opportunities AI can offer for cybersecurity operations—such as using AI to build threat scenarios that further test and vet their security systems and initiatives.

This is why cyber hygiene is such an important focus. As circumstances change and risks become more numerous and sophisticated, smart organizations will focus on healthy systems that keep viruses and other cyberattacks at bay. When it comes to cybersecurity, an ounce of prevention is worth millions of dollars in cure.