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Canterbury Christ Church University Improves Visibility into Endpoint Vulnerabilities with Tanium Automated Platform

Tanium, the industry’s leading provider of Converged Endpoint Management (XEM), today celebrates the success of its partnership with Canterbury Christ Church University — reducing the institutions endpoint vulnerabilities by more than 98 percent.

As one of the most innovative and cutting-edge universities in the United Kingdom, Canterbury Christ Church University has long been at the forefront of leveraging new and world class technologies to improve the experience of their staff and more 26,000 students. In early 2023, the prominent U.K. university piloted Tanium and in doing so, found previously missed vulnerabilities and patches. Then Tanium’s XEM platform with full, real-time visibility was introduced across its estate to IT operations and security teams by Spring 2023.

“I am always thinking about how we can use technology to stay ahead of the curve. And of course, keeping staff, students, and valuable research data secure is paramount. As an alumnus, it’s even more personally important to me to have the right technology in place to protect our institution. With the emphasis we had put on security and protecting our most critical assets, we thought reputable point solution patch management and vulnerability tools were enough, but the power of the centralised Tanium XEM platform opened our eyes to what was possible when we had a full, real-time view of our estate,” said Andy Powell, Deputy Director and Chief Technology Officer at Canterbury Christ Church University.

“Tanium is the Swiss-army knife of cybersecurity, working across our challenging hybrid cloud environment with thousands of connected student devices to keep us constantly secure and compliant. The speed at which we can identify and plug vulnerabilities is remarkable and we’re proud of what it now enables us to do. As a lean team, all the data we need is available in real-time on one, simple interface, and the automated processes that allow you to be hands off and save weeks of time is a huge benefit.”

Automation Bolsters Security and Reduces Lead Time by One Week

Finding more efficient ways to complete regular security and IT operations processes is an important focus for Powell’s longstanding, dedicated team which includes forward-thinking leaders like Dennis Knight, Paul Locke, Jim Manuel. The university has a small IT department, with each team member covering multiple tasks and disciplines. Implementing the Tanium platform immediately eased the team’s workload by eliminating days spent on tasks such as testing and patching software, maintaining old hardware, and third-party application updates.

Dennis Knight, End User Computing Manager at Canterbury Christ Church University said, “historically we used WSUS for patching once a week to stay on top of any potential vulnerabilities, and yet post-Tanium installation, we still had hundreds of Window’s patches dating back years that were either missed, outdated, or superseded. Having complete visibility and an automated process gives us real peace of mind.”

Additionally, previously cumbersome tasks such as Cyber Essentials self-assessments, a key compliance requirement, are now easily completed. A process that once took a fortnight can now be completed in a single morning using Tanium XEM.

“Cyber Essentials isn’t just an audit to us, it’s a social responsibility to our students and users. As IT professionals we want to keep our estate as robust and patched as possible – Tanium gives you this straight out of the box,” said Paul Locke, Cyber Security Manager at Canterbury Christ Church University.

Another problem mitigated by the Tanium XEM platform was the large number of common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) that were identified on endpoints. This was often caused by missing patches for regularly updated software, but managing this was a laborious process. Automatic updates through the Tanium platform removed this burden and allowed the team to patch aggressively, whilst focusing on more strategic tasks. Similarly, outdated technology licenses caused security challenges that burned up staff resources. With Tanium XEM, the university is now able to query the entire IT estate to identify problematic licenses and swiftly update them. This provides valuable support for compliance initiatives in addition to bolstering security.

“The U.K. government’s Cyber Essentials framework is a priority for all British universities and requires IT teams to have thorough and efficient methods of ensuring compliance,” said Kirk Bellerby, education lead at Tanium. “The guidelines are a critical component of helping the higher education sector avoid damaging cyberattacks and vulnerabilities. This keeps students safe, as well as highly sensitive research data, which is being targeted on a regular basis. With a constant target on their backs, organisations need complete, real-time visibility of their IT environments to ensure the necessary level of defence against these attacks.”

The university accesses the Tanium platform through Tanium Cloud, meaning that no on-premise hardware investment is required. Learn more, here.