Indiana District Secures E-Mail and Web with Appliances

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The School City of Hammond in Indiana has deployed McAfee's network security solutions to secure the district's schools from cyber crime. The district deployed E-Mail Gateway and Web Gateway appliances throughout the school system.

The e-mail hardware prevents spam, viruses, and phishing attacks from clogging the school's e-mail system, which serves 2,500 employees in 21 schools. Since the deployment, School City has seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of spam and virus-laden e-mails that enter the network.

"McAfee Email Gateway blocks more than 99 percent of spam and viruses," said Curtis Jackson, network administrator. "It also cuts down on bandwidth used by the email system, since McAfee Email Gateway blocks the bad emails before they even get to the network."

The company's anti-spam approach uses TrustedSource, a reputation-based technology that assigns scores to Internet hosts and devices, domains, URLs, and messages based on their past behavior.

"TrustedSource is able to attack spam and other unwanted traffic at the outer edge of the network," said Jackson. "In combination with McAfee's other ... technologies, School City educators no longer have to worry about the spam problem, giving them more valuable time to spend on their educational mission."

The gateway appliance helps the school meet federal Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements by ensuring that inappropriate Web content can't be viewed by the district's 14,000 students. Some of those users would try to get around previous kinds of filtering software using anonymizers, proxies, and encrypted connections to access Web sites that were off limits.

"One of the main reasons we went with McAfee Web Gateway was because of the ability to scan [secure socket layer]-encrypted content," added Jackson. "Students had been able to get around the filtering via SSL. After deployment, McAfee Web Gateway closed that loophole for good."

The installation has also reduced administration, said Jackson. "With McAfee's appliance-based solution, you just plug it in, set it up and let it go. It's an easy box to deal with and we don't have to worry about updates. And of course, it's not hackable."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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