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Pennsbury District Puts Up NAC Wall To Keep Out Devices

A school district in Fallsington, PA has implemented a network access control appliance to manage user access to its wired and wireless networks. Pennsbury School District had seen its network security cracked, opening it up to thousands of unauthorized devices.

The district chose InfoExpress' CyberGatekeeper in an effort to help curtail the problem.

"The challenge for us was how to provide as much access to our network as possible, without compromising the integrity of the system," said IT Director Daniel DiLorenzo. "CyberGatekeeper met all of our needs. We had a very quick deployment, rolling out CyberGatekeeper to more than 1,000 devices in less than a day. Throughout the process, InfoExpress was extremely responsive to our questions. In addition, unlike the other vendors we spoke to, they did not charge us during the evaluation process and did not require us to make a bunch of changes to the network before we began."

The district prohibits the use of non-district computing devices, and school laptops require an encrypted key for wireless access. The IT team began searching for a NAC program after students ran a hack to uncover that key. Once the key was passed around, the district had to grapple with "thousands of personal laptops, smart phones, and iPods accessing the network," bemoaned DiLorenzo.

To shut down the unauthorized access, IT set a configuration policy in CyberGatekeeper's Policy Server and deployed it. Now endpoint devices are denied access even if users have the key or password but aren't using compliant district-provided equipment.

"Non-compliant device-related incidents were increasing at a significant rate," DiLorenzo said. "The smallest problem would require about 24 hours of time spent by multiple members of my team to mitigate. In the short time we have been using CyberGatekeeper we have seen a sharp decrease, which allows us to focus on our strategic IT goals."

About the Author

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