Top Security for a Top School

Barracuda Networks Ensures Security Without Sacrifice

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Summary

Profile

  • St Michael’s Grammar School
  • Victoria, Australia
  • 1,300 students, 300 staff

Challenges

  • Potential student exposure to inappropriate online content/interactions
  • Students of different ages need access to different online material
  • Wanted BYOD protection
  • Lacked high network performance
  • Susceptible to spyware and malware
  • Not much time for IT management
  • No customizable reports

Solution

  • Barracuda Web Security Gateway 1010

Results

  • Safe computing environment for students
  • Granular controls to adjust access for different age groups
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Reliable – no network lag or downtime
  • Block and remove malware and spyware

School Needs Advanced Features

St Michael’s Grammar School is an innovative K-12 school incorporating leading edge technology into its progressive and creative curriculum. The school offers easy access to applications and the Internet in its computer labs with workstations and iPads, and students and staff access the schoolwide wireless network from their own mobile devices.

The infrastructure allows the school’s 1,300 students and 300 full-time staff across its junior and senior school campuses to access IT resources, instructional materials, and to collaborate on projects. However, with children as young as seven in its care, St Michael’s takes no chances when it comes to the safety of its students, and online security is no exception. “It’s critical for us to ensure that our students, especially the younger ones, are adequately protected against various forms of inappropriate content lurking in cyberspace,” said Jai Ross, Manager of St Michael’s ICT Department.

While the school’s previous filter seemed to be doing the basic job protecting its network, when St Michael’s examined its academic requirements more closely, it discovered that broad-based blocking of entire generic categories of content did not meet its needs. “Catering to such a wide range of age groups and academic levels, it’s important for the school to have the flexibility to manage what it deems to be appropriate content for each age group,” said Ross. “We needed a strong but fine filter to be able to quickly sift through content without affecting performance.

Flexible Filter

After considering many options, Ross installed the Barracuda Web Security Gateway 610 in early 2012. As an integrated content filtering, application blocking, and malware protection appliance, it suited St Michael’s needs perfectly. “It was a quick, fuss-free installation, and we could immediately enforce Internet usage policies by blocking access to websites and applications that are not relevant to the school, as well as eliminating the entry of spyware and malware,” said Ross. “In addition, inappropriate ads are even blocked on ‘safe’ websites. Unfortunately, a lot of websites hosting valuable content do sometimes have unsafe content on them as well, but with the Barracuda Web Security Gateway, we don’t have to exclude their beneficial material.”

In addition to meeting the school’s main objectives of protecting its students and securing its IT system, the Barracuda 610 also supplied the flexibility St Michael’s needed to enhance the productivity of its users. The Barracuda Web Security Gateway 610 integrates with Microsoft’s Active Directory to provide real-time access for the different users and groups managed by the directory server. Different policies can be applied to different users and groups. “While an association is typically made at log-in between an IP address and a username, the override feature extends the functionality of the web filtering to bring-your-own devices,” said Ross. “This great feature allows students and staff who bring their own devices to connect to the Internet through their Active Directory credentials."

"It is critical for us to ensure that our sudents, especially the younger ones, are adequately protected against various forms of inappropriate content lurking in cyberspace."
- [Name not disclosed], Director of IT, Multi-state retailer

Economic Benefits

From an IT administration standpoint, St Michael’s also found the Barracuda Web Security Gateway 610 to be highly efficient. “It is surprisingly easy to manage and allowed us to produce customized reports,” noted Ross. “It is also very reliable and we’ve never had any unplanned downtime.” Reducing mundane IT administration tasks was a significant benefit to the school’s department and allowed Ross and his team to spend more time on strategic academic programs. The scalability and comprehensiveness of the Barracuda Web Security Gateway 610 also meant that the school only needed to install one product to manage all its users, saving a lot of time and money.

Conclusion

The IT administrators at St Michael’s were able to satisfy their long list of desired features with the Barracuda Web Security Gateway 610. The school is now able to ensure online student safety, employ granular controls (allowing older students and staff to access more content), protect users of BYODs, block and remove malware and spyware, and more. In addition, they found it was fast and easy to install, manage, and create customized reports.

For information about Barracuda’s K-12 IT solutions, please visit www.barracuda.com/products/k12 or call Barracuda for a free 30-day evaluation at 1-408-342-5400 or 1-888-268-4772 (US & Canada).

About Barracuda

Barracuda provides cloud-connected security and storage solutions that simplify IT. These powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable solutions are trusted by more than 150,000 organizations worldwide and are delivered in appliance, virtual appliance, cloud, and hybrid deployments. Barracuda’s customer-centric business model focuses on delivering high-value, subscription-based IT solutions that provide end-to-end network and data security. For additional information, please visit barracuda.com..

About the Barracuda Web Security Gateway

The Barracuda Web Security Gateway is a web content filtering solution that enables the connected business to benefit from new technologies and online tools, without being exposed to lost productivity, wasted bandwidth, and data loss. As new requirements emerge, such as social networking control, the Barracuda Web Security Gateway is automatically updated with new capabilities to meet those requirements. It enables highly granular, real-time visibility into online activity, broken down by individual users and applications, letting administrators create and enforce effective content and access policies. Included free are unlimited agents and software licenses to enforce content and access policies on mobile devices being used outside the corporate network.

Barracuda Web Security Gateway Fast Facts

  • Completely eliminates spyware and other forms of malware
  • Millions of URLs in 95 categories for comprehensive content filtering
  • No per-user licensing fees
  • Ideal solution for school districts and other educational organizations
  • Enforces content filtering and access policies on iPads and BYODs