School Security News

El Paso District Looks To Lock Down Confidential Data

El Paso Independent School District in Texas will be implementing a security appliance strictly intended to prevent confidential data from leaving the network. The district, which has 66,000 students and 9,000 employees, has signed a contract with Palisade Systems to implement the company's PacketSure Data Loss Prevention appliance in an effort to help it comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

"We have been concerned about unintentional student data loss, and we worked with Palisade to do a security assessment," said Stephen Stiles, CTO for the district. "When we saw the extent of accidental data loss and how PacketSure's data loss prevention solution could help the district, we continued our relationship with the company."

The district was already using the company's PacketSure Internet Content Filter and had renewed a subscription to the application in July 2009 for three years at a price of $135,000 per year.

The appliance performs packet inspection across ports streaming HTTP, SMTP, FTP, Web mail, blog, and custom protocol traffic. It uses proxies to block, quarantine, or re-route the traffic. An agent deployed on computers scans for specific forms of data to classify it as confidential. The device also includes a Web filtering module that filters based on a database with 40 pre-defined categories.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.