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Case Study

Customized Network Security Training Helps Prevent Hacker Attacks


Advanced Technology Systems Organization (ATS)

An advanced technologies systems organization is the largest provider of IT services, systems integration, and training to the U.S. Government, with annual sales exceeding $35 billion. Nearly 80 percent of the company's business is with the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. federal government agencies.


Hacking Threatens Confidentiality of Classified Government Information

Organizations that work with the U.S Government are targets for hackers searching for classified information. Unfortunately for ATS, in early 2003, their systems were being hacked at an increasing rate of 1,000-1,500 times per hour, exposing their critical information to hackers across the globe.

With the U.S. Government as ATS's largest customer, dramatically improving network security became the organization's number one priority. It was time to get their systems administrators trained on the latest advancements in network security.

Training nearly 3,000 systems administrators (SAs), along with 500-600 new SAs hired each year, on how to handle and prevent hacking attacks is no simple task. ATS wanted a training partner that could handle a project this large, and do so rapidly. ATS had strict criteria when selecting a training partner, trust was the first factor. ATS sought a partner that had both pre-existing security courseware, as well as the ability to develop customized courses specific to ATS's unique needs. Competitive pricing and flexibility were also important features that ultimately led ATS to select us.


Build a Robust, Comprehensive Network Security Training Program

We quickly worked to build new courseware that armed ATS's system administrators with the skills to protect their mission-critical information.

After an introductory instructor-led course on the basics of network security, the remainder of the curriculum was comprised of seven customized courses. Approximately sixty percent of the content was delivered through hands-on labs, allowing SAs invaluable practice preventing hackers from accessing the network. The courses incorporated ATS's unique policies and procedures while providing SAs with the tools, techniques, and methodologies to help them identify system and network vulnerabilities while implementing effective countermeasures.


Heightened Network Security Means Fewer Attacks

After our network security training program, ATS soon saw a significant reduction in the number of successful hacking attacks. In fact, the 1,000-1,500 hack attacks made per hour prior to training was reduced to only 500-600 shortly after the first team of system administrators completed the program.

The training facilitated valuable feedback and dialogue from systems administrators that encouraged ATS to reevaluate and improve policies and procedures related to network security.

ATS's systems administrators are actively engaged in protecting network security, since the initial training deployment. Students are eager for the next level of advanced security training, and we are helping identify these training needs for deployment in the near future.