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Westminster Public Schools Blocks Snapchat with Application Control System

Westminster Public Schools in Colorado has implemented an application control system to block unsanctioned bandwidth hogs such as Snapchat and prioritize bandwidth for online standardized testing.

The district, formerly called Adams County School District 50, has a 1-to-1 Chromebook program for its students and also uses online standardized testing. However, the district kept maxing out its bandwidth, making it difficult for students and teachers to access digital learning resources. Although the district was using network monitoring tools and a firewall, IT staff still couldn't figure out the source of the problem.

The district implemented an application control system from Exinda to try to solve the mystery. "After we implemented Exinda, we could finally pinpoint what was consuming the district's bandwidth and control it," said Mark Hanson, network administrator at Westminster Public Schools, in a prepared statement. Hanson and his team discovered that Snapchat and other unsanctioned apps were gobbling bandwidth. Exinda enabled the district to identify the root cause of the problem and subsequently block those apps from accessing the network.

"With Exinda, the Westminster Public Schools' Network Team can now identify all traffic crossing the network and create optimization policies to ensure testing platforms like Pearson and Khan Academy are always prioritized," said Kevin Suitor, VP of Product Management for the company, in a prepared statement. "They can also restrict access to unsanctioned applications like Snapchat, Tor, Ultrasurf and anonymous proxies that were negatively impacting these critical applications."

According to the company, Westminster Public Schools succeeded in prioritizing the performance of its online testing platform, reducing streaming and social media traffic by 40 percent and decreasing help desk calls by improving the user experience for its 9,500 students and 1,200 teachers.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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