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An Ounce of Prevention

Norwalk looks to stop cyberattacks before they happen!

Located in Connecticut in the heart of Fairfield County, the City of Norwalk is a diverse community rich in culture and personality. Uniquely situated on Long Island Sound, Norwalk has a population of nearly 90,000 people, making it the sixth largest city in the State of Connecticut. Located approximately 30 miles northeast of New York City, Norwalk is home to 12 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, two colleges, one hospital, more than 100 places of worship, and over 1,000 businesses.

The Norwalk IT Department is tasked with the responsibility to provide IT services to all city departments and agencies except the Board of Education. Like many other IT departments, their mission statement includes:

  • Delivering high-quality, effective, reliable, sustainable, and secure information systems
  • Developing and promoting consistent technical standards
  • Fostering innovation and leadership in e-government in support of residents, staff, visitors, businesses, and other government agencies
  • Providing effective and efficient technical services and support to city departments and staff
  • Reducing operating costs and promoting efficiency

The City of Norwalk’s partnership with Digital BackOffice began in 2004 with the installation and operation of a Gigabit Ethernet wide area network connecting 34 city and school district buildings. The fiber optic metropolitan area network operated by Digital BackOffice now operates at speeds up to 10 Gigabits to some sites. Digital BackOffice also provides Internet gateway services to the City of Norwalk with a managed Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall.

“We take the safety, security, and privacy of our residents very seriously. We must safeguard the public from those who wish to use their data and information for nefarious reasons,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling (picture above). “Norwalk is not in a unique situation as municipalities across the state and country are under constant cyber-attacks. However, we have shown our commitment to keep Norwalk ahead of the latest digital threats by investing in new software and technology. I am fully supportive of our IT staff and the great work they do every day.”

In 2017, Karen Del Vecchio, Norwalk’s Director of Information Technology, engaged Francis Palacio, President of Digital BackOffice, to assist in identifying a solution that could protect endpoint devices in the police and fire departments, public library, and city hall departments. Digital BackOffice makes a practice of only promoting product they themselves have in production and truly believe in, so Palacio knew Palo Alto Network’s advanced endpoint protection solution, Traps, would be a good fit. Palacio explained, “We are convinced that the Palo Alto Networks platform is the best platform for the City of Norwalk, not only based on reports from organizations like Gartner and NSS Labs but from our first-hand experience with helping organizations recover from successful attacks.”

After evaluating several anti-virus vendors, the City of Norwalk selected Palo Alto Networks Traps. Although there were many factors that went into making this decision, Del Vecchio specifically spoke to the solution’s ability to integrate with their Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall service, the built-in threat intelligence using Palo Alto Networks WildFire, the cloud-based management which allows for automatic updates and the functional reporting that can be generated on a regular cadence. 

A little over a year into their Traps deployment, Del Vecchio was particularly animated about the value Norwalk gets out of the Traps Management Service (TMS) console and its ability to manage security events and monitor endpoint health. The TMS provides weekly, automatic reports that detail the thousands of attacks that have been detected and prevented. The report identifies the source of each threat, the intended destination of each threat and the number of attempts each threat made. These tools help the city identify suspect endpoints, allowing the customer to remediate problem devices while preventing replication to other endpoints. 

“We have not had any ransomware attacks and no signs of infection on the network since deploying Traps.” Del Vecchio said. This was all made possible through Digital BackOffice’s partner-managed offering, which gives the City of Norwalk the ability to consume the solution as a service. She concluded by saying, “Working with Francis and the DBO team was great. Their depth of knowledge and experience in cybersecurity was incredibly helpful.” “We have not had any ransomware attacks and no signs of infection on the network since deploying Traps.” Del Vecchio said. This was all made possible through Digital BackOffice’s partner-managed offering, which gives the City of Norwalk the ability to consume the solution as a service. She concluded by saying, “Working with Francis and the DBO team was great. Their depth of knowledge and experience in cybersecurity was incredibly helpful.”

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