Collaborating With Customers: Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC)

Collaborating With Customers: Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC)

At vArmour, we are always looking for opportunities to talk to our customers. Hosting customers at our headquarters allows us to give a preview of upcoming product functionality and receive feedback from the actual people that use and love our product. Last month, we invited Donovan Wallace and Ryan Warblow from Grand Rapids Community College to visit us in Mountain View, California to share their experience using vArmour and help refine our newest developments.

Donovan Wallace has been at the helm of GRCC’s IT Infrastructure for 25 years, steering the school’s overall technology path with help from of his team of experts, including Ryan Warblow who leads GRCC’s network architecture. Together, they have built out a sophisticated next-generation, highly-segmented environment that you would normally expect to find at a university several times their size.

Like their industry colleagues, Donovan and Ryan recognized that higher education is a primary target for hackers because of the vast amount of student information that is processed and stored, and that environmental segmentation is a critical strategy to keeping this data protected. However, as they explained during their visit, the typical approaches to segmentation and application-level security would have introduced a level of cost and complexity that GRCC was not willing to accept. For example, they considered service-chaining together a combination of SDN and NGFW (such as Cisco ACI with PAN VM-Series), but determined that the required network reconfigurations would be too difficult and expensive to deploy and maintain. Instead, they decided that a distributed, purpose-built segmentation solution would not only give them the application-level control they needed, but as a single system, would also be simpler, less expensive and easier to deploy and manage than any of the alternatives.

During their visit, Donovan and Ryan met with our Product and User Experience teams to help guide new vArmour functionality. Each of these collaborative sessions offered a first-look into our latest advancements in traffic visualization, policy discovery and automation, and examined the workflows that GRCC would use with each of these tools. With first-hand experience in defining segmentation policies with vArmour, they were able to provide valuable feedback to further simplify user workflows in the upcoming final product release.

At vArmour, we pride ourselves on being a customer-focused company. Incorporating feedback from industry veterans like Donovan and Ryan allows our solution to remain innovative, simple and effective. While our engineers and designers spend countless hours building product, it is this kind of direct input that ensures the technology they’re building stays true to the needs of our customers.

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