Leestijd: 6 minuten

Municipality Zoetermeer ensures a safe digital city with Cloud Life's Protect 365: Detection & Response

What you especially don’t want is to be in the news with a data breach or a successful hacking attempt. The Municipality of Zoetermeer does an excellent job of preventing that. How do they do that? With a comprehensive security strategy that focuses on prevention, detection and response, and of course a Microsoft Security partner who supports them in this.

The collaboration between municipality Zoetermeer and Cloud Life began when municipality Zoetermeer was looking for a way to communicate securely via e-mail, following a new local law. Microsoft immediately gave Cloud Life as a tip, who were the only Microsoft security partner who had designed a solution for this based on Microsoft Information Protection. After an acquaintance and a good mutual feeling, they started this project together, which marked the beginning of a successful collaboration, resulting in the collaboration of multiple projects.

Daniel van Dijk is a senior Security specialist and has been working for the Municipality of Zoetermeer for 19 years. He started as a network administrator and spent the first 10 years working on important core infrastructure tasks such as backups, network management and a number of security tasks. Originally, security was just an addition to his list of tasks, but 8 years ago he and his manager Mark van Gaalen decided that things had to be different and above all better. After all, the various departments were mostly working with separate third-party solutions. Daniel took on the role of coordinator, balancing between information security, technology and the organization. His goal was to strengthen and centralize the municipality’s security platform in the short and long term. municipality Zoetermeer consists of 1500 colleagues and it is of great importance that everyone can work in a secure, modern environment.

“Even for colleagues who do not work with this solution on a daily basis, its use is accessible and quite easy.”
Evolution to Microsoft Defender and Information Security

Daniel shifted his focus to Microsoft-365. The choice was spurred by the fact that they could use special Microsoft licenses called government licenses, which was arranged by the Dutch collaboration for municipalities VNG and Microsoft. With Microsoft 365, you can implement a modern workplace solution that complies with local laws and regulations. It started with the E3 license with security add-on but now they have switched to the E5 license, this offers more new possibilities in the area of security but also data security, data management and much more.

The choice to work with Microsoft Defender was a careful decision. The integration of Defender with other Microsoft solutions, such as Intune and Sentinel, provides an efficient and robust security infrastructure. “You used to have to use a separate portal for each solution, but now we have one integrated Security Portal,” Daniel notes. “Even for colleagues who don’t work with this solution on a daily basis, using it is fairly accessible and quite easy. We use it both for gathering information and for performing various tasks. For example, we are doing vulnerability management, and Microsoft Defender provides a versatile defense that not only protects us from incidents, but also advises and supports us in making endpoints more secure.” emphasizes Daniel.

Into the Breach

Daniel often received the same question from his colleagues, “What exactly is expected of me when it comes to Microsoft Defender and Sentinel?” While there is a lot of information to be gleaned from these solutions, this was not yet completely clear to everyone on the team. To clarify this in an interesting way, Daniel decided to approach Cloud Life directly with the request to explain this in a fun way, possibly with a game element thrown in. This is where Microsoft’s “Into the Breach Workshop,” guided by Cloud Life experts and SOC Analysts, came in handy! This proved to be a playful, interactive and gamification-based way to learn about these Microsoft solutions.

The “Into the Breach” workshop is a simulation in which you are asked to help investigate various sophisticated ransomware attacks. The goal is to familiarize city employees with Microsoft Defender and Sentinel, and support them in understanding their capabilities. Using Microsoft Defender, they handled threats in an integrated and automated manner and gained insight into security data through Microsoft Sentinel. In addition, they learned how to use its advanced search features to find information about potential threats and suspicious activity.

Daniel highly recommends this workshop to other municipalities “It was intense, but a lot of fun. It was in-depth KQL queries and a fierce use case. We haven’t experienced them that fierce in real life, fortunately, but that’s what made it interesting. You gain a lot of knowledge about the capabilities and options of the solutions, including how best to query and investigate within the solution.”

“Cloud Life is a passionate and specialized organization in Microsoft Cyber- and Data security”

Leaning on a trusted expert Partner

The collaboration between Cloud Life and the municipality of Zoetermeer involves a partnership in which Cloud Life provides technology solutions and expertise to the municipality of Zoetermeer to improve and optimize their services and processes. In the partnership, Municipality Zoetermeer has an important role in testing, implementing and improving these technological solutions.

“We can lean on Cloud Life’s Security expertise,” agrees Daniel. “Cloud Life is a passionate and specialized organization that can support us well in that area and keep us sharp. The communication is very pleasant, they switch quickly and the contact is low-threshold. Cloud life also contacts us often to check how things are going and to give advice.”

Detectie & respons 24/7

Municipality Zoetermeer and Cloud Life will now focus more on implementing advanced and automated solutions. “What makes Cloud Life strong is that they are really focused on cybersecurity. Cloud Life is very knowledgeable about Microsoft Sentinel, and not every Microsoft partner is as proficient. We need a partner who will work with us to see how best to proceed, especially when it comes to automation and resolving notifications.”

Cloud Life offers municipality Zoetermeer a holistic security solution: Protect 365 Detection and Response Service, powered by Microsoft Sentinel and driven by the latest AI and Machine Learning technologies. This provides a comprehensive, 24/7 cyber security solution. Each AI-driven analysis and decision is validated and optimized by a team of dedicated cybersecurity experts at Cloud Life.

Becoming secure is not enough. Staying secure is a must.

“It’s not just about monitoring,” Daniel explains, “it’s also about insights and development. Cloud Life keeps us up to date, provides automation and keeps the platform up-to-date so we can anticipate incidents and operate securely. Cloud Life’s close communication, expertise and dedicated support have helped make and keep municipality Zoetermeer – and the entire city – safer!”

Source: Interview Municipality Zoetermeer & Cloud Life – August 2023


Cloud Life's expertise and dedicated support have contributed to making and keeping the municipality of Zoetermeer - and the entire city - safer!

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