Webinar Recap: SecurED With Microsoft And Difenda  

In a recent webinar, Difenda’s cybersecurity experts teamed up with Microsoft Security to discuss how you can overcome common cybersecurity challenges in the education sector and understand what is possible with your licensing capabilities. They covered the current landscape, changing regulatory requirements across Canada and the steps your school should take to protect your cloud environment and email networks with different user personas.   

Below are some key takeaways from the event.

The Current Cybersecurity Landscape in the Education Sector

The education sector has become a prime target for cybercriminals, as evidenced by the 17% increase in security incidents experienced last quarter. Educational institutions face a range of threats that can compromise their systems, networks, and sensitive data. One of the most prevalent threats targeting educational institutions is ransomware and phishing attacks. But why is the education sector being targeted?

Educational institutions are targeted by cybercriminals due to several reasons. The presence of sensitive student data makes them attractive targets for illicit purposes. The decentralized nature of educational environments, with multiple departments, research firms, alumni networks, and faculty members, creates various access points and potential weak links. This complexity provides opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit and gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. Combined with limited cybersecurity resources which pose challenges in implementing robust security measures, cybercriminals find it easier to exploit these vulnerabilities. 

Additionally, the large and diverse user base within educational institutions increases the potential for human error. Students, faculty, and staff may unknowingly engage in risky behaviour such as clicking on malicious links, downloading infected files, or falling victim to social engineering tactics. The scale of users and the reliance on technology for educational purposes make it challenging to maintain a high level of cybersecurity awareness and prevent human-related security incidents. 

Educational institutions are facing a wide range of challenges, including the looming pressure to improve their security posture while meeting changing regulatory requirements. 

Learn more about the current cybersecurity landscape in the education sector in the white paper here.

Changing Regulations in the Canadian Education Sector: Quebec Bill 64  

The education sector in 2023 has faced a significant challenge with the introduction of Quebec’s Bill 64, also known as Law 25. This legislation has brought about changes to privacy laws in Quebec, with a focus on enhancing individual rights, imposing stricter consent requirements, and establishing robust data governance frameworks. In compliance with the law, educational institutions are now required to appoint a privacy officer, report cybersecurity breaches, implement company-wide privacy policies, and establish transparent consent systems within their school systems. 

What makes this development even more noteworthy is that provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta have indicated their intention to introduce similar legislation. This means that educational institutions across Canada will need to adapt and establish agile security programs that can effectively navigate these evolving policies. 

At Difenda, we recognize the importance of staying informed about regulatory changes and ensuring that our customers are aware of them as well. We take a proactive approach in prioritizing cybersecurity posture maturity and agility. One of Microsoft’s focuses is on developing products and solutions that support educational institutions in meeting these regulatory requirements and maintaining a strong cybersecurity stance. By doing so, we aim to empower the education sector in Canada to effectively address the evolving landscape of privacy and security regulations. 

Become cybersecurity resilient today! Schedule some time to discuss how we can help you.  

Microsoft Defender for Cloud for the Education Sector  

Microsoft Defender for Cloud extends the concept of Extended Detection and Response (XDR) beyond just desktop environments. While many education customers have experienced the benefits of XDR in the desktop space through tools like Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and Defender for Identities, it’s important to recognize the significance of security signals at the server level.  

Defender for Cloud is a comprehensive collection of services designed to provide Extended Detection and Response (XDR) for various cloud-based assets such as servers, databases, and storage. In the realm of IT, servers hold critical data that intertwines privacy and security concerns. As educational institutions have repositories of valuable data on their servers, it becomes essential to protect this data at its source. Microsoft Defender for Cloud enables educational organizations to safeguard their server-level data, providing comprehensive security solutions that address both privacy and security requirements. The goal is to not only manage these services but also to surface data on how well they align with best practices and guidance.

Defender for Cloud offers full stack protection regardless of where the services are hosted, making it a comprehensive hybrid services ecosystem. With its array of services and integrations, Defender for Cloud provides better signals, improved security, and the ability to automate security responses, empowering organizations to protect their cloud-based assets effectively. 

Learn more about Microsoft Defender for Cloud.  

4 Use Cases for Microsoft Defender in Education  

Discover more use cases to help build your business case here.  

Leveraging A Modular Approach to Cybersecurity in Education  

Many educational institutions have already invested in E5 or A5 series subscriptions, which serve as a crucial foundation for a strong security posture. But, many of these organizations are not utilizing the tools and capabilities that they have invested in. At Difenda, we specialize in meeting you where you are in your cybersecurity journey to activate your tools and licensing capabilities effectively. By turning on the technology you invested in, we can enhance your response capabilities and provide better visibility.  

How can we do that? Difenda takes a modular approach to cybersecurity, offering flexible solutions that cater to organizations based on their specific needs. We understand that each organization is at a different stage in its technology, people, and process journey, as well as having unique goals and requirements. That’s why our MXDR service is designed to be broken down into different areas, allowing you to purchase and implement them as you grow. 

We leverage powerful Microsoft technologies such as Sentinel, Defender for Endpoint, Defender for Office 365, Defender for Cloud and Defender for Identity. Our goal is to ensure you take full advantage of these capabilities, empowering your organization to effectively detect, respond to, and mitigate cybersecurity threats. The strong partnership and alignment with Microsoft’s ecosystem is a key factor that enables us to deliver top-quality services and solutions. 

Additionally, an often-overlooked aspect of cybersecurity is privacy. Labelling and classifying assets and understanding where your data resides are vital components of a strong cybersecurity posture. By incorporating Microsoft’s expertise in privacy with Microsoft Purview and Priva, we can provide use cases that help you accurately label and classify and manage information, giving you a significant advantage in threat detection and response.  

Learn more about Difenda MXDR here.

Get all the details and experience a Difenda, Microsoft Defender for Cloud + Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Demo in the webinar recording here! Access it now:  

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Ken Perkins

Biography coming soon.

Megan Miller

Megan Miller’s energy and passion for learning flow into all aspects of her work. As the Growth Manager, North America, she brings a background in sciences which she has transitioned to the tech sector in her role at Difenda.

With a Bachelors of Science in Geology, Megan is a lifelong learner who is voracious about learning anything she can get her hands on about cybersecurity. Her positive energy has built a sales strategy with a focus on expanding in the United States while nurturing the Canadian presence. She is responsible for recruiting and training the sales team. Together with the company’s leadership, she creates the sales process and the company’s product strategy in order to better serve the customer base. This ensures that our customers have a highly trained and highly motivated team to help them every step of the way, Megan has completed Microsoft SC-900 training and working towards mastering Microsoft.

Whether at work or play, Megan is fully committed. She took her love of hockey all the way to the semi-professional level as a competitive hockey player. Megan loves all things sports including water skiing, scuba diving, cycling, and snowboarding. She also enjoys time with family and reading about alternative energy, innovation, and cybersecurity.

Natasha Phanor

As the Microsoft Partner Manager at Difenda, Natasha Phanor is responsible for driving growth within our Microsoft Partnership. With six years in the industry, she offers a fresh, energetic approach, and the ability to focus on our customer’s needs throughout the entire process. Natasha has the innate ability to foresee customer needs and solve problems before they arise, which creates a smooth road for each customer she encounters.

As the recipient of the Outstanding Services Partner of the Year Award in 2018, it is clear that Natasha responds quickly to customer needs, creates a platform for understanding a customer’s business requirements, and walks them through the process to ensure their complete satisfaction.

In her spare time, Natasha is as energetic and passionate as she is on the job. A self-proclaimed foodie-extraordinaire, she enjoys dinner parties, traveling, downhill skiing, hiking, biking, and reading. Natasha has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Dance, from Ryerson University.

Lisa Templeton

Lisa Templeton is the perfect combination of human empathy and technological prowess. In her role as People Services Manager, she takes care of our team members to support them in their daily work, as well as on their personal life paths. Happy employees make for happy customers, and Lisa excels in giving our employees the tools they need for success in order to become the best possible versions of themselves. Along with employee formation, she shines in the service delivery support domain to continuously improve the process. Her 24 years of experience in IT Operations and Service Management help her create quality and efficiency at Difenda.

Having attended the Information Systems Management certificate program at Ryerson University, and with various other certifications to her credit, Lisa is perceptive and innovative when it comes to information technology, but also sensitive to the needs of her human constituents. Responsible for achieving the first privately owned company HDI Support Center certification in Canada, she has also designed and implemented Service Management excellence programs and 24×7 IT Operations departments for multiple IT organizations, and has created corporate rewards and recognition programs to keep her employees engaged and motivated.

On the personal side, Lisa passionately supports the cause of breast cancer research, having lost her mother to the disease. She reads voraciously in her spare time, and enjoys the art of home renovation. The summer months also bring time on her boat and exploring new hiking trails.

Miranda McCurdy

Miranda McCurdy uses her myriad super powers in all aspects of her job and personal life. As the Marketing Director at Difenda, Miranda McCurdy brings over a decade of experience to the table, which includes expertise in all facets of operations, brand management, and content marketing, as well as a multitude of successful strategies for the ever-expanding digital world. She is an expert at simplifying the message the company is trying to send, filling in gaps in the information, and strengthening the content in order to create compelling narratives that strengthen the brand and developing programs that bring teams together.

With several Addy Awards issued by the American Advertising Federation Cleveland to her credit, and her never say die attitude, Miranda understands both the broader picture and the minute details that are needed to successfully market a product. With her abilities to harness both the talent needed to spread the message, as well as to create the message itself, she is an integral cog in the company’s ability to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.

When she is not building a brand, she shares her ability to fill the gaps in her community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, the Special Olympics, and the Charleston Food Bank. In her spare time, Miranda spends time with her family, enjoys fitness and health, paddle boarding, reading, and arts and crafts.

Juliana Zaremba

Connections are the name of the game for Juliana Zaremba. As Strategic Partnerships Director, she is responsible for Difenda’s channel partnerships and the development and ownership of the channel partner program. She is also responsible for the global Microsoft Partnership, including the creation of strategic plans with MSFT contacts that will facilitate the continued growth of the business and establish certification and training protocols in all security technologies. Her role is multifaceted, as she acquires partners, manages relationships with them, and develops strategies that will provide cutting edge security solutions to our customer base. Another integral aspect of her job is to facilitate growth.

With a Bachelor’s in Math from the University of Waterloo and 14 years of experience from her previous roles at Herjavec Group and CDW, her cutting edge focus and ability to develop long-lasting relationships and strategies provides world class security solutions to our customer base.

Juliana thrives on connections outside of work as well. She is a philanthropist and contributor with Women4Change based in Hamilton. This group of local women is passionate about supporting local causes, and she focuses her efforts around Women in STEM. She is also a member of Club Italia in Niagara Falls and supports their youth events throughout the year.

When not managing the Microsoft Global partnership, Juliana enjoys reading, often reading several books at once. Juliana enjoys exploring the Niagara Escarpment with her family, as well as sharing meals and experiences with her extended family. Juliana’s competitive nature has her always trying new things, like Whoop band challenges and Peloton.

Jeffry Jacob

Biography Coming Soon