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Humio Higher Education Roundtable Recap

Log management fuels curiosity of network administrators and IT security professionals

June 26th, 2020

Modern log management provides a real-time view into performance data from self-hosted and distributed cloud systems, providing an invaluable resource of universities and colleges that are currently seeking to gain observability, secure the network, and support remote learning.

To get a closer look at log management’s role, our CEO Geeta Schmidt hosted a Higher Education Roundtable to hear the stories of three IT professionals from universities who use Humio - Nick Turley from Brigham Young University, Jeff Collyer from the University of Virginia, and Dirk Norman from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In it, we discover how Humio contributes to cost savings in their institutions, how data centralization affects their administrative culture, and learn about specific details of their implementations.

Watch the full roundtable discussion on-demand now.

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Why universities choose log management

We started with Humio in our security operations center, and it proved its value over and over.
Nick Turley

Security Architect at Brigham Young University

The combination of performance and price makes Humio essential for universities. UVA found its way to log management because it was the lowest cost solution to search network monitored traffic from his endpoint sensors. UW-Madison started using Humio as the best means to deal with the cost of rapidly growing infrastructure. And BYU started using log management as a security tool before growing into a place to aggregate all log data from across all campus locations.

So you have all of these layers of abstraction on things. They're all running on different equipment to have visibility into those. You just can't jump around between servers. If you need to know something, having to SSH into 14 different servers, trying and tail the logs on those is an exercise in futility, honestly.
Dirk Norman

Director of IT at the University of Wisconsin-Madison



The value of a centralized logging

Log management helps universities make sense of their complex systems. Dirk at UW-Madison extolls the benefits of having a centralized logging solution that provides a single pane of glass for a hybrid environment of load balancers and web apps that powers the research community he supports. Nick appreciates how Humio helps make sense of a complex microservices environment that’s developed over time at BYU. Jeff finds value from Humio in speeding up incident response.

The biggest thing for our incident responders is to get visibility on the problem as fast as possible, and to get all of that data. And, as people have been talking about, having a single point to go to to get all of that data is where that really shines.
Jeff Collyer

Information Security Engineer at University of Virginia


For us, it's really lowered barriers. Inside Humio, we've been able to build dashboards for the different roles within the IT group so that they can see real-time visibility into custom applications. It's just completely helped with the speed of change in our infrastructure.
Dirk Norman

Director of IT at the University of Wisconsin-Madison




Once data has been centralized, organizations have an opportunity to start putting it to work to discover additional security and performance information that has far-reaching implications for their success. Log management changes some of the ways university ITOps and security teams work, accelerating development by connecting data to teams that otherwise wouldn’t have had it.

At BYU, adopting log management led to a revolution in how administrators approach their data as a resource. Borrowing the threat-hunting type of behavior from security analytics, members of network engineering are also beginning to proactively ask pointed questions of their data and go on sustained searches. Humio’s instant-speed search results fuel this curiosity, leading people doing investigations to dig deeper and learn more insights about their networks, which they can then in turn use to improve their systems and mitigate performance drop-offs before they occur.

Instead of waiting for a switch to die, or a server to run out of disk space, or network latency — issues that slowly tend to propagate across an environment — they're now walking in with a hypothesis, and going ‘you know what, I suspect that we're having problems with our learning management system because of latency or because of IO disk wait on servers.’ They can start digging into that and really hunting out problems or issues before they become a major problem.
Nick Turley

Security Architect at Brigham Young University


When all of a sudden you go from having the majority of 40,000 students and 10,000 employees on campus to everyone the next Monday accessing things remotely, that causes pretty good stress on things. But those systems all hold up as well. All of our logging ended up being about the same, which is awesome.
Dirk Norman

Director of IT at the University of Wisconsin-Madison


Responding to current global events


This ability to proactively detect and respond to future sources of performance problems helps BYU better manage the experience of students as more of them study from home. UVA experienced an increased strain on security because the number of security borders and firewalls has gone from a few predictable sources to network borders everywhere, but Humio helped keep it all visible. For Dirk and his team at UW-Madison, Humio easily scaled with the increased data and continues to function as normal even as remote learning exerted an extreme strain on the system.



Whether self-hosted, hybrid, or fully cloud native, universities use Humio to maintain observability across their entire environment. Regardless of network composition, Humio’s log management saves organizations money. So while Jeff finds that Humio is the best-priced option to monitor network traffic on his self-hosted network at UVA, Dirk finds Humio to be the best-priced option for managing UW-Wisconsin's growing cloud microservices.

The way that cloud is, everything is suddenly expanding out. So we looked at Humio, a bunch of other log aggregation services, and Humio just ended up being price point, the capabilities, a home, a home run for us. I mean, it was an easy choice. And so far it's been nothing but a positive outcome.
Dirk Norman

Director of IT at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Learn more about how Humio helped universities cut costs and make sense of their changing environments by watching the full Higher Education Roundtable discussion on-demand.

Additional resources for higher education

Learn more about log management in universities by reading our case studies: Humio at Michigan State University and Humio at Kutztown University.

Take a deep dive into the value offered by log management and the implementation details by reading our How-to Guide: Make networks and data more resilient and secure in higher education.

Explore additional use cases for higher education by reading our blog posts: Top 6 Log Management Use Cases for Higher Education and 5 ways modern log management helps reduce higher education budgets.

See why our roundtable participants chose Humio to lower the costs of their log management – see how much you’ll save using Humio by visiting our pricing page.


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