OUR NETWORK IS DEMONSTRABLY BETTER PROTECTED. WE SOLVED OUR BYOD PROBLEMS. AND WE CAN COUNT ON GREAT SUPPORT, VIA E-MAIL, PHONE OR SKYPE.
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IT Security for educational institutions
- Industry: Education
- Country: The Netherlands
- Size: 6000 students
- Network: Multi-location network including BYOD
- Stay informed about network security
- Prevent network infection by BYOD devices
- Excellent malware detection rate
- Seamlessly integrating BYOD security with network security
- Restrict application, device and internet usage
- Fewer malware infections
- BYOD devices efficiently secured
- Saving money through competitive pricing
School networks are vulnerable to many kinds of attacks – not only from malicious activities on the school’s own computers, but increasingly through pupils’ own laptops, smartphones and tablets.
ROC Kop van Noord-Holland and Scholen aan Zee provide secondary education, vocational education and adult education at eight locations in Den Helder, Schagen and Julianadorp (The Netherlands). Both educational institutions have a strong focus on digital learning and have made large investments in digital learning environments and infrastructure. Two years ago, Scholen aan Zee accelerated this development by introducing the Flex-IT project, which encourages pupils to bring a laptop to school. In 2005, the IT departments of ROC Kop van Noord-Holland and Scholen aan Zee were merged. The new department manages the IT environment for both organisations and supports over 6000 pupils and students. Until recently, the schools secured their network using products from one of the leading security vendors. “Their solution gave us a false sense of security,” according to IT administrator Raymond Bernaert. “The software rarely provided any notifications, so we wrongly thought our network was safe.” The pupils’ laptops turned out to be the biggest challenge. Already, the schools have had to cope with malware outbreaks that could be traced to their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. “Our Active Directory was attacked. The malware kept trying to log in using different passwords. After three failed attempts, accounts are locked so within minutes, we were stuck with hundreds of locked Active Directory accounts, all of which had to be manually unlocked,” says Bernaert. “Employees and students sitting idle - an inacceptable waste of time.” In addition, it turned out to be difficult to force pupils to install a proper security solution on their computers. Because the laptops are the property of the pupils, the schools cannot use their own software licenses.
At that point, the schools decided to start looking for a new security solution. The prospective solution had to have high malware detection rates, appropriate possibilities for deployment to pupils’ private devices, as well as acceptable licensing costs. The IT department soon encountered G DATA. “We started testing their products and immediately noticed much higher malware detection rates, compared to the solution we were using,” says Bernaert. “In addition, G DATA came up with a solution to reduce the risks associated with pupils’ laptops. They proposed an offer allowing us to buy discounted licenses for the private devices of all our pupils and employees. Starting next year, we will install G DATA by default on all laptops that we supply. Starting then, any PC that wants to access our network has to have them installed.” After choosing G DATA, Bernaert attended one of the vendor’s free technical trainings. During the training, his interest was piqued by Policy Manager, a part of G DATA’s comprehensive Endpoint Protection Business solution. “Policy Manager solves a problem that we have to deal with on a daily basis. Pupils often take tests on their laptops, but some applications are prohibited, like Word’s spellcheck and internet access. Using Policy Manager, applications can be easily blocked, making sure that teachers do not have to monitor all laptops during the test.”
Even though not all modules of Endpoint Protection Business have been deployed yet, the benefits are already clear. Bernaert: “Our network is demonstrably better protected. We solved our BYOD problems. And we can count on great support, via e-mail, phone or Skype. I have the mobile phone numbers of almost all G DATA employees. They even promised to pick up the phone if I call at night - luckily I didn’t have to put that promise to the test yet!”