Streamlining Operations and Enhancing Cybersecurity at Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research

Seattle Institute for Clinical Biomedical Research's mission is to improve the health and well-being of Veterans through research and education conducted at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center.

 

 

Improving Outcomes for Veterans Healthcare:

Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research (SIBCR) supports research and education endeavors associated with veterans' healthcare research. The organization manages data, conducts research, and collaborates with various stakeholders to make a meaningful impact on veterans' health and well-being.

Operations Manager, Joel Lake, has oversight over computer network operations at SIBCR. Day to day tactical IT support functions, like network administration, are outsourced.

Before EXP Technical

2022 Skeletons in the (Server) Closet:

“We were [unwittingly] exposed to vulnerabilities that we needed help fixing,” Joel Lake reported. “We had a dozen unused virtual servers that were running on old versions of VMWare.”

Discovering these legacy servers was like finding skeletons in the organization's closet. 

These unused servers and their outdated technology were an attractive vulnerability that hackers might exploit. Poor planning from the previous IT support provider exposed SIBCR to significant risk.

Blindsided

Moreover, SIBCR did not know about changes in insurance requirements that first impacted the organization in October 2022.

“We didn't have any sort of indication [from the IT support provider or insurance carrier] ahead of time” that additional controls were now a requirement for cyber-insurance.

“We were totally blindsided! Our consultant didn't have the foresight to advise us and was unable to implement new security controls in a timely manner once we knew of the requirements.”

The reactive approach to IT support was expensive and fraught with risk.

SIBCR's outsourced IT support provider at the time did not have the experience or expertise to implement a strategy that optimized the organization's use of technology. SIBCR recognized a need for a more reliable, savvy, and resourceful IT partner.

Engaging with EXP Technical

“At that point we decided that we need to work with an organization that had resources,” Joel Lake explained. 

SIBCR needed an IT support partner with expertise and acumen to anticipate complex challenges, offer pragmatic guidance, and quickly implement effective solutions. The decision was made to engage with EXP Technical. 

EXP Technical dedicated a primary consultant, Mark Mathura, to support SIBCR. Mark is backed by a large team of tactical and strategic resources. This structure offers a depth and breadth of expertise that other firms can’t match.

Joel highlighted that the availability of subject matter experts and a robust support system ensure that SIBCR’s IT needs are met promptly and effectively.

Key Outcomes

Enhanced Cybersecurity: EXP played a pivotal role in strengthening SIBCR's cybersecurity posture.

With help from EXP Technical SIBCR swiftly addressed vulnerabilities, implemented required controls, and diligently tackled security-related challenges. This ensured compliance with insurance requirements and safeguarded sensitive data from potential threats.

Operational Efficiency: The ongoing partnership with EXP has allowed SIBCR to establish a routine for IT maintenance and strategic planning. The dedicated primary consultant’s consistent presence and open communication provided Joel and his team with the guidance and support needed to streamline their operations.

Cost Savings: EXP's approach to licensing and procurement helped SIBCR save money by identifying cost-effective solutions and leveraging non-profit pricing from third-party vendors.

Project Management: The EXP Technical Consultant’s proactive project management skills and adherence to timelines significantly improved SIBCR's confidence in IT projects. His diligence in understanding historical operations and aligning them with future goals made a substantial impact on the organization's success.

Resource Utilization: SIBCR benefits from a wide range of skills and knowledge beyond their primary consultant.

Security Awareness Training: SIBCR discovered EXP Academy's security awareness training, which educated their staff on identifying and responding to potential cybersecurity threats. This training complemented the efforts to enhance overall security awareness across the organization.

Future Prospects

The partnership between SIBCR and EXP continues to evolve as both parties work closely to implement ongoing security upgrades, optimize IT infrastructure, and explore innovative solutions. Mark's dedication to navigating complex projects, like transitioning an outdated application, showcases his tenacity and problem-solving skills.

Conclusion

The collaboration between SIBCR and EXP serves as a prime example of how a strategic IT partnership can lead to significant improvements in operations and cybersecurity for organizations with unique needs. Through their partnership with EXP Technical, SIBCR has not only overcome challenges but also positioned itself for continuous growth and innovation in the field of veterans' healthcare research and support.

Want to Do More Research? 

Contact us today to speak to our experts directly.

Or enroll in The EXP Way - Technology Capability Maturity Model at EXP Academy. In this course, we share our framework for technology capability success. The course includes IT budgeting spreadsheet templates, and several valuable (but free) self-assessment tools.