SouthStar Bank

SouthStar Bank, S.S.B. specializes in residential mortgage, real estate and construction lending, with 16 full-service branches across Central Texas. Established in 1920, the bank offers traditional savings and checking accounts and merchant services for consumers and businesses. SouthStar Bank holds over $1 billion in assets.

  • Company: SouthStar Bank
  • Industry: Financial Services
  • Location: Moulton, Texas
  • Established: 1920
  • Interviewed: Bryan Buck, CTO

"Not only are we getting an additional layer of filtering, but we're also getting banners that warn people and help them make better choices."

Bryan Buck, CTO of SouthStar Bank

The Challenge

Like many other businesses, SouthStar Bank faced a rising tide of phishing emails. The bank required better, more efficient weapons in its ongoing fight against phishing, including tools that empowered employees to easily report suspicious messages. The growing sophistication of email threats necessitated additional layers of security between employees and phishing messages that could work hand-in-hand with Microsoft Defender, without complex integrations. The IT team at SouthStar Bank also needed better visibility into the phishing threats that employees were encountering as well as the right tools to analyze those threats. 

Goals of SouthStar Bank – Graphus Relationship

  • Gain visibility into phishing threats
  • Add protection against sophisticated phishing attacks
  • Give employees a way to report suspicious messages

The Solution

SouthStar Bank found the tools and defenses it needed to fight back against phishing with Graphus. Adding Graphus to its security buildout was fast and easy. The robust identification, quarantine and analysis dashboard gave the IT team the threat intelligence that they needed to get the job done. Graphus combined seamlessly with Microsoft Defender, catching and quarantining suspicious messages that may have slipped through in the past. The EmployeeShield and Phish911 features offered easy-to- use ways for employees to report suspicious messages. Plus, the affordable cost of adding the protection that Graphus brings to the table made sense compared to a cost of a potentially devastating security breach.


High visibility warning banners helped employees make better choices when handling unexpected messages.

The AI kept refining and growing protection, growing better and better over time as it learned the bank’s communication patterns. 

As the Graphus AI evolved, machine learning enabled it to make smart decisions about the legitimacy of incoming messages, reducing the need for techs to fuss with whitelisting senders.

The IT team is able to quickly check for phishing red flags in the links, attachments, and header of an email to easily determine its legitimacy and respond to users without compromising security.

“Microsoft Defender is filtering out some phishing emails for sure, but it didn't have that kind of smart banner support Graphus offers.”

Bryan Buck, CTO of SouthStar Bank

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“Getting Graphus set up was so easy and simple that we literally did it on that first call and got going with it. That was one of the things that sold me on it vs. some of the competitor solutions where you need to change mail records, reroute the way your whole email works and all of that.”

Bryan Buck, CTO of SouthStar Bank