Re-imagining cyber education at LSU by pairing students with TekStream Splunk experts

ATLANTA, GA, May 31, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Private and public CISOs and CIOs face the dual challenge of addressing an accelerating shortage for qualified cybersecurity talent and securing a progressively more complex technology infrastructure. Combined, these challenges increase the daily risks of cybersecurity breaches and the pressure to attract and retain skilled cybersecurity engineers.  

One institution devising a new approach to address these needs is Louisiana State University (LSU). LSU has partnered with TekStream, Splunk’s 2022 Cloud Partner of the Year, to develop a student-enabled security operations center (SOC). The SOC is based on TekStream’s Managed Detection and Response (MDR) service that is developed on Splunk’s SIEM/SOAR software deployed on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Together, TekStream and LSU have formulated a two-pronged approach that will enhance the university’s security posture while using the SOC as a training ground for students. This student-enabled SOC provides the university system with 24/7 trained experts and brings up the next generation of cybersecurity engineers by providing education and career path opportunities.

“We’re reimagining cyber-education at LSU, which is directly in line with our service mission. Pairing students with leading cybersecurity experts in both industry and research heightens their learning experience, which is an all-around benefit,” said LSU Chief Information Officer Craig Woolley. “One of the most compelling aspects of this SOC is that it will be open to students from all disciplines.”

This new cyber protection model extends coverage to the state’s entire higher education system through the Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI). LSU can support as many as 31 institutions of varying budgets, infrastructure and security capabilities. Since students are empowered to detect and mitigate cybersecurity risks, it reduces the bill for recurring security services among participating universities and the use of state resources.

“We appreciate that TekStream was open to working with us on the defense and education facets of the model. The flexible price model allows all of us—universities, students and industry—to take a more advanced approach to detecting and defending against cyber threats,” Woolley explained.

The SOC will be developed in three phases:

Phase 1: TekStream will physically set up and operate the SOC at LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge and at the LSU Shreveport campus using LONI.

Phase 2: LSU will recruit students from any discipline this fall to work in the SOC with continuous support and training from TekStream through its MDR service. Students will co-manage the SOC and gain marketable skills that will enable them to quickly join the workforce.

Phase 3: LONI will be used to expand the program across the state’s higher education system. Sharing of threat intelligence and coordinated threat detection and response will enhance the security posture of the entire LONI ecosystem by reducing time to detection and remediation.

“We’re excited to be collaborating with LSU in shaping the future of cybersecurity,” TekStream CEO Rob Jansen said. “It’s a great way to solve the growing issue around the need for cybersecurity talent in the U.S. and serves as a blueprint for how public and private entities can leverage a strategic MDR approach like ours to enhance cybersecurity in a collaborative, innovative and cost-effective way.”

TekStream helps clients accelerate digital transformation by navigating complex technology environments with a combination of technical expertise and staffing solutions. TekStream provides battle-tested processes and methodologies to help companies with legacy systems get to the cloud faster, so they can become more agile, reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies. With hundreds of successful deployments, TekStream guarantees on-time and on-budget project delivery and is proud to have 98% customer retention. 

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