Customer Stories

American Kidney Fund

[CIOs] have got to start thinking offensively instead of defensively, and Darktrace is one of the tools that we employ in our arsenal to do just that.

Gregory Smith
CIO, American Kidney Fund
American Kidney Fund

At a glance:

Turned to Darktrace for both defense and offense against cyber-attacks

Benefitted from AI’s ability to treat every constituent as a priority

Leveraged Autonomous Response to save labor and time

Protecting Cloud Applications from Cyber-Attacks

The American Kidney Fund updates its cyber security regularly to stay ahead of threats that would disrupt support for its constituents. The organization determined that its email and cloud-based apps were the most at-risk because they are common points of entry for cyber-attacks, they are heavily relied on by the hybrid workforce, and access needs to be extended to external collaborators, even if the guests do not have the same level of security. After conducting an RFP process, the American Kidney Fund selected Darktrace.

“CIOs have had to get much more aggressive and retool their arsenal of techniques and policies to fight from a forward-thinking perspective, as opposed to a mechanism perspective,” said Gregory Smith, Chief Information Officer of the American Kidney Fund. “They have got to start thinking offensively instead of defensively, and Darktrace is one of the tools that we employ in our arsenal to do just that.”

Receiving Priority Treatment Every Time

As the American Kidney Fund decided between security tools, its CIO looked into Managed Detection Response (MDR) solutions available on the market but was not satisfied they could keep up with evolving threats. Those vendors use AI in a limited way: exporting attack data from multiple customers and collecting the information in a centralized database. This approach does not account for the fact that every environment, even in similar sectors, is different and so requires bespoke security to fully cover it. 

Darktrace acknowledges those differences and learns each organization. It develops an evolving understanding of “self” so that it can detect and respond to even subtle deviations that indicate a cyber-threat. It can cover anywhere an organization has data. This approach circumvents any potential competition between customers for attention or resources. 

“Darktrace’s AI algorithms are focused on one thing, and it’s your organization,” commented Smith. “It’s not any other organization. It’s yours. It learns faster, it adapts faster, it morphs faster. And when it gets to that state of maturity where it really understands your environment, that’s when you’re going to hit the upmost level of protection that you’re looking for.”

The American Kidney Fund chose Darktrace because the AI studies the nuances of its digital operations and leverages what it learns to neutralize threats with surgical specificity, at all times of the day, and at machine speed.

Supporting the IT Team

When the American Kidney Fund implemented Darktrace, its IT team was able to tailor the settings to fit its needs and give it more control and visibility over the security stack.

Its IT team configured the thresholds to minimize alert fatigue from false positives and maximize authentic notifications. The team now interacts with the Darktrace user interface when tracking trends of risks and alerts, as well as to see what actions Darktrace has taken against threats. 

Darktrace acts within the parameters set by the team, who have set it to act – under various conditions – independently and without the need for human oversight. This ensures the organization is protected around the clock, and saves the IT team labor and time that can then be reallocated to other projects. 

The Self-learning AI uses Darktrace’s understanding of American Kidney Fund’s unique organization to pinpoint unusual activity and then make micro-decisions to disarm attacks, all within seconds. Its actions are more precise than simply quarantining a device, as behaviors that fit into the organization’s normal operations will still function. By moving at machine speed to contain attacks, Darktrace saves the IT team time and prevents down-time in the organization.

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The nonprofit American Kidney Fund works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease. With programs of prevention, early detection, financial support, disease management, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF.
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