Case Study

Virtru Helps Spackenkill Union Free School District Use End-to-End Encryption Solution to Comply with New York State’s EdLaw 2-d

“While we have our own standards and goals for email security, Ed Law 2-d changed the way we approach data protection and privacy. For this, there is no better solution than Virtru. It’s easy to deploy, easy to use, and it gives us better control over the student and staff data we are trusted to protect.”

Brett Hasbrouck, Director of Technology at Spackenkill Union Free School District

Spackenkill Union Free School District is a K–12 public school district in New York serving 1,500 students. The district prides itself on being connected to the community, upholding educational goals, and protecting privacy to ensure safety. With those initiatives in mind, as well as Education Law 2-d, Spackenkill needed an email encryption solution to protect student data and to support their prominent use of Gmail. We spoke with Brett Hasbrouck, Director of Technology, to learn why he and his team selected Virtru for their data sharing needs. With Virtru’s end-to-end encryption for messages and attachments, Spackenkill Union Free School District is able to:

  • Protect and handle personally identifiable information (PII) in compliance with Education Law 2-d from the New York State Department of Education.
  • Enable secure communications between school administrators, teachers, parents, students, and other authorized institutions.
  • Retain control of their data and prevent data sharing risks with a solution that is easy for everyone to use.

Data Protection and Encryption Is a Growing Need to Succeed

“Data protection can still be a relatively new area of security for school districts. At Spackenkill, we know privacy is important and we achieved a lot with security in the last few years, mostly around preventing phishing attacks. The biggest thing we learned is that we can do a good job protecting data internally, but as soon as we send that data outside of our network, we have no control anymore. Addressing that security gap was a top concern for us. 

“Ultimately, we needed a solution that would give us better control over our data and assure us that our students, staff, and families would be protected. Looking ahead, I expect to see that encryption is required more and more, possibly even becoming the default way to send emails. Now that we have Virtru and an easy way to enable data security, we’re going to be in a good spot when that futuristic view becomes the present.”

Ed Law 2-d Changed Data Sharing Processes and Technology Requirements

“Ed Law 2-d really brought us into a new reality that required an added layer of data protection for Gmail. End-to-end encryption is required to send certain types of data—PII being the most important—through email. We also want to ensure we have the right policies and access controls, like setting an expiration date, disabling forwarding, or revoking access, to support privacy and protect data. 

“We started using Virtru in our Business Office because they handle a lot of confidential information including employee records and financial information. If they need to verify some piece of PII, they now have the confidence to do so over email with the peace of mind that this data won’t end up in the wrong hands. Our Special Education teachers also rely on Virtru because they share student health information, educational records, and other types of sensitive data to do their job.”

An Encryption Solution Needs to Be Easy to Use So Data Stays Secure

“Because of the range of people who need to encrypt PII shared via email, the biggest factor is ease of use. Especially for those who don’t have a technical background, making it as easy as possible to use a new solution ensures a higher rate of adoption. All you have to do is toggle Virtru on, and then you don’t have to worry. 

“Virtru even takes it a step further to help our district stay secure with automated alerts that prompt you to encrypt before your email is sent. It can detect PII, passwords, or other sensitive information and serve as that important line of defense to remind you to encrypt. We believe in protecting our students and staff, and data security is part of that duty. We want to do everything we can to uphold privacy and trust and now we have a solution to support that mission.”