Regis University, Denver, Colorado
Regis University is a private Jesuit university in Denver, with five separate colleges for studies including health and business. There are more than 8,000 students, about 2,000 faculty members, and an additional 660 administrative staff members. It recently faced a cyberattack known as a ransomware attack, which crippled its traditional ways of communicating with those thousands of people.
It used Regroup Mass Notification to keep a steady flow of critical information during the attack and in the weeks that followed as telephone service and emails were restored.
Cyberattack as School Reopens
The start of the school year can always be complicated, but what Regis faced was a Herculean challenge. As new and returning students and staff flooded back to campus, a cyberattack took down the campus’s internet, email, telephones and its main website.
IT staff worked around the clock to restore service, as the school’s social media managers took to Twitter to welcome everyone back to school. The campus uses Regroup Mass Notification for its day-to-day and emergency communications needs. In this instance, the campus safety department was able to use their mobile applications to communicate with all students and staff, and with the community. The attack was a serious one, and it took weeks for telephones and email to be fully operational. Messages were sent through Regroup’s platform to keep administration and classes running smoothly.
“This occurred the day of our orientation, three days before the start of classes. Our Regroup account, accessed via your app on my cell phone, was the only means the entire university had to communicate with our students and staff, and with the public at large. The impact of the attack lasted for several weeks before email and phone service was restored. During that time I used Regroup to send information to our constituency about logistical and academic matters several times each day, at first, then daily and eventually, weekly,”
Director of Campus Safety
Regis is Not Alone
Security experts report that cyberattacks at places of higher learning, often from outside of the country, are on the rise. Most of the attacks, including the one at Regis, are ransomware, where the hackers demand money in order to restore systems In 2019 alone, Monroe College in New York City, Grinnell College in Iowa, Oberlin College in Ohio, Hamilton College in New York and The Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey were also attacked by cyberattackers.
With the knowledge that these types of attacks are increasing, it’s more important than ever for institutions of higher learning to have a mass notification system in place in case emails, telephones, and websites are taken down by nefarious criminals.
Director of Campus Safety
Opt-In Emergency Messages
In addition to keeping the Regis University operational during and after the cyberattack, the campus has an opt-in RU Alert system. It has been used to keep students, faculty and staff safe, for example sending out a warning that a member of the community had been assaulted, along with a description of the suspect and make and model of his car. It also was used to close down a nearby branch campus after a shooting was reported in the vicinity, but not on campus.
When seconds count, easy-to-send messages are critical to keep people safe from harm. In both cases, the local police departments were aware of the situations, but mass notifications like Regroup’s can get the word out to thousands of stakeholders all at once. Messages can be sent via SMS, text, email and voice messages.
How Regroup Supports Universities, Colleges and Educational Institutions
Emergency Notification Solutions for Higher Education
Enhance crisis communications and mitigate the risks of active shooters, severe weather, and other critical events that endanger your community. With Regroup, you can send alerts to tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff in seconds.
Automate Critical Notifications
Send rapid, two-tap alerts from Regroup’s mobile app to cell phones, landlines, campus security, 911, email, social media, and more.
TipSafe Anonymous Reporting
Empower students and faculty to safely report suspicious behaviour, potential threats, and other safety concerns from their smartphone.
Reach Your Entire Campus
Integrate Regroup with panic buttons, desktop alerts, Help Point towers, fire and PA systems, digital signage, outdoor sirens, and more.
Alert Specific Locations
Our GeoFence technology allows you to alert a specific location, and even notify people outside of the area to stay away.
Easy Opt-In, Free Mobile Apps
Regroup’s free mobile apps make it easy for students and faculty to opt-in for notifications and configure their delivery preferences.
Critical Two-Way Communications
Witnesses and first responders can send important information and updates from the scene to improve response time to the emergency.
Regroup for Day-to-Day Campus Notifications
Regroup allows your various departments to create unlimited groups and admins in order to communicate daily information better than ever before. Our seamless integrations and easy-to-use platform make Regroup a tool that you’ll use every day.
Weather Closures & Delays
Automatically provide advance warning of severe weather closures or delays with National Weather Service and NOAA notifications.
Student & Faculty Updates
Quickly and easily notify students about tuition balances, registration updates, and more while keeping faculty informed too.
Send reminders of social, academic, and athletic events to relevant groups to increase community engagement.