How Ellucian leverages Watchtower for Data Security on Slack
Industry: SaaS, Higher Education
Josh Sosnin, CISO
Ellucian, the premiere software and cloud services provider in the higher education industry, uses Watchtower’s DLP for Slack as one method of securing company communications. Josh Sosnin, Ellucian’s Chief Information Security Officer, found that Watchtower provides instant visibility and accountability for the company’s 3000 employees.
In the world of higher education, Ellucian stands out as one of the leading providers of software and cloud services. The Reston, Virginia-based firm provides solutions ranging from student information systems (SIS) to finance and recruiting software for over 2500 colleges and universities worldwide. Every day, Ellucian enriches the experience for over 20 million students in nearly 50 countries.
Ellucian’s philosophy is clear—by connecting people, processes, and technology, institutions make better decisions and deliver a superior student experience.
With thousands of employees worldwide, managing multi-channel communication at Ellucian is anything but predictable. The amount of data flowing among employees created a serious potential hazard: leaks of sensitive information.
Josh Sosnin, Ellucian’s CISO, is an expert on the subject of sensitive information. He has over 20 years of global experience in information security and IT compliance, including Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and PCI compliance. In addition to designing and implementing numerous security programs, Sosnin has also served as a data privacy advocate for sensitive data belonging to millions of customers and hundreds of thousands of employees in his career.
Sosnin recognized the need to detect and react to sensitive information flowing across various platforms, starting with Slack. Because Slack has no built-in data loss protection (DLP), Sosnin had to find a DLP platform that could handle Ellucian’s considerable needs. Watchtower proved to be the perfect platform for the job.
A simple, effective solution
The Ellucian team was immediately impressed with Watchtower’s simplicity in both installation and day-to-day use. The Watchtower bot instantly integrates with Slack without any tedious and cumbersome setup. “It took literally minutes to get to the pilot stage and start to see in action,” Sosnin remarks.
Powered by machine learning, Watchtower scans Ellucian’s Slack messages and files for sensitive content. The Watchtower bot then classifies sensitive data and personally identifiable information (PII) automatically, using over 25 PII detectors without any need for prior tuning or tagging. After Watchtower classifies the data, users can manually quarantine the sensitive information or implement automated workflows to save time and maximize efficiency.
What has been the immediate benefit for the Ellucian team? “Instant visibility,” Sosnin says. And with that transparency, he adds, the Ellucian team now has “an additional capability to confirm policies are being followed” across the company.
“We look forward to extending our use of Watchtower beyond Slack.”
Superior customer service
Even though Watchtower provides a simple, turnkey solution, the platform’s customer service is second to none. Sosnin remarks that the Watchtower success team has been “so easy to work with, almost real-time response to questions.”
The concierge-level support has inspired the Ellucian team to examine implementing Watchtower across their entire technology footprint. In addition to Slack DLP, Watchtower can assist companies like Ellucian to secure data infrastructure like AWS and SaaS platforms like Box.