At Dale County Schools, located in southeastern Alabama, the focus is on developing life-long learners. Governed by the Dale County Board of Education, the school district includes K-12, elementary, middle, and high schools serving a student population of 3,000.
Technology Director Juan Cepero has managed IT and security for Dale County for more than 20 years. “Once you become part of Dale County, you are family here,” says Juan. “Many parents within our school system work here as teachers, facilitators, administrative support, and bus drivers. This brings a special dedication to the work we do.”
Ensuring the school district’s network stays secure and devices get patched regularly are Juan’s biggest security priorities. Working alongside Technology Specialist Wesley Bradshaw, Juan supports 20 virtualized servers at the central office, one server at each of the seven schools, and more than 5,500 smartphones, laptops, and other connected devices.
Juan says user education is also critical. “Phishing schemes are getting more aggressive and combating this requires helping users understand that their behaviors can lead to serious cybersecurity issues. While it’s easy to click on a link that looks realistic, users must understand what’s at stake. You never want to risk opening an entry point into your network for viruses or malware to compromise personal data and your daily operations.”
Juan has relied on the free version of Avast Antivirus since 2015. In 2018, he started evaluating antivirus solutions that offered additional protection and were easy to deploy while keeping costs manageable. He chose Avast Business Managed Antivirus and the cloud management console over Sophos and Faronics. “After comparing costs and the range of features, Avast Business Antivirus was by far the best choice and we were able to get great pricing on a three-year subscription,” says Juan.
Fast deployment was another advantage. “Using the MSI installer in the management console, we were able to quickly load Avast Business Antivirus on over 100 computers,” he adds.
With more than 13 antivirus features to choose from, Juan has already put SmartScan, Firewall, WiFi Inspector, and Rescue Disk to the test and appreciates the threat notifications and detailed threat data he receives.
He also discovered new functionality through the console. “I can run concurrent tasks now, schedule scans, and set up alerts,” says Juan. “When I run a full scan, I see when a scan was unable to run for certain files and this tells me that a computer may have an issue. I like that I can use the Rescue Disk feature if a PC has been infected, but since deploying the new Avast Business Antivirus, we haven’t had any issues with viruses or malware.
Juan is also beta testing the new Avast Business Patch Management service, which will soon be available in the console. “Managing patch updates, especially for Windows, can take me 30 minutes for each server and user group. From the Patch Management screen in the console, I now have a drop down showing all the software updates available. I can easily schedule and deploy the patches in just a few clicks and receive confirmation. This will help ensure patches are being successfully completed and eliminate risk.”
For Juan, time savings, improved protection, and greater visibility have been the biggest advantages of upgrading.
“For the price we pay for Avast Business Managed Antivirus and all the features we have, it’s the best security solution for our needs. Our teachers and staff now have the confidence that their computers are protected and we have the tools to automate our work and put a strong security defense in place.”