A safe and secure digital environment

Wednesday, 16 July, 2014 | Supplied by: Barracuda Networks

As one of Australia’s most progressive and creative K-12 educational institutions, St Michael’s Grammar School (founded in 1895) sits at the leading edge when it comes to implementing technology for its staff and students. Not only does it offer easy access to applications and the internet through its computer laboratories and workstations, it also has a fast wireless network covering the school grounds.

The infrastructure allows its 1300 junior and senior students and 300 full-time staff to comprehensively access its IT resources and to collaborate on projects and instructional materials. However, with children as young as seven in its care, St Michael’s takes no chances when it comes to safety and security, especially online security.

“It is critical for us to ensure that our students, especially the younger ones under our charge, are adequately protected against various forms of inappropriate content lurking in cyberspace,” said Jai Ross, manager of St Michael’s ICT department.

While its old firewall seemed to be doing an acceptable job protecting the school’s network, it was determined that a broad-based appliance preventing generic categories of content was insufficient to meet the school’s needs.

“Catering to such a wide range of age groups and academic levels, it is important for the school to have the flexibility to manage what it deems to be appropriate content for different levels,” said Ross. “We needed a strong but fine filter to be able to quickly sift through content without affecting performance.”

After considering many options, St Michael’s settled on Barracuda Networks’ Web Filter 610. As an integrated content filtering, application blocking and malware protection appliance, it suited St Michael’s needs perfectly.

“We could immediately enforce internet usage policies by blocking access to websites and internet applications that are not applicable to the school, as well as eliminating the entry of spyware and other forms of malware,” said Ross.

“One of the great features the Web Filter 610 has provided is that even inappropriate ads are blocked on safe websites,” he added. “Unfortunately, a lot of websites hosting valuable content do sometimes have unsafe content on them as well, but with the 610 we don’t have to be so discriminating.”

In addition, the filter also gave St Michael’s the flexibility needed to enhance the productivity of its users. The device integrates with Microsoft’s Active Directory to provide real-time access to the different users and groups managed by the directory server with different policies applied to each.

From an IT administration standpoint, St Michael’s also found Web Filter 610 to be highly effective. “It is surprisingly easy to manage and allowed us to produce highly customisable reports,” noted Ross. “It is also very reliable and we’ve never had any unplanned downtime.”

The scalability and power of the Web Filter 610 also meant that the school needed to install only one system to manage all its users, saving time and money. Most importantly, it serves its primary role well. “The primary reason was to protect our students from the unsafe content out there,” said Ross. “It has helped keep our students safe on the web.”

Image credit: ©micromonkey/Dollar Photo Club

Online: www.barracudanetworks.com
Phone: 02 8019 7254
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