Dover School District Dover, USA, North America
Dover Schools Safeguards Student Web Access with Cyberoam UTM+
About The Dover School District, Education
The Dover School District is situated in and around the city of Dover, New Hampshire;
conveniently located within an hour's drive from Boston, MA & Portland, ME, and the
We were looking for a solution to curb the External Proxy menace. Meeting the compliance requirements was also one of the most important requirements for us
Mr. Christopher Robergen
Manager Technical Support
Dover School District
It falls to the District‘s Division of Information Technology (DIT) to manage the computer, network and Internet resources across all five (5) school sites. The sites include:
1. Home Street School
External Proxy Dilemma
DIT already had a group of SonicWALL Content Filtering appliances deployed which failed to curb the external proxy usage. Briefing about the dilemma, “We have a lot of these very technically oriented kids with a lot of time on their hands,” said Mr. Christopher Roberge, Technical Support Services Manager for the district‘s Division of Information Technology. “They are good, very good, and they were going everywhere and doing everything. Our biggest issue was the use of external proxy servers to access unauthorized content on the Internet. With SonicWALL, we were forced to block those sites individually when we learned about them; a completely ineffective way of dealing with a plethora of them. If one of these sites was blocked, others would surface. We were waging a losing war. Also, we had a lot of false positives - SonicWALL was blocking legitimate sites all the time,” he added.
Social Networking Menace
Talking about the social networking rage, Mr. Roberge said, “One of the latest trends is signing up to social networking sites. We recognize the importance of these sites to our students for personal and social use, yet unlimited access is an issue with the temptation for our students to go social networking rather than focus on academics.”
The Web is an incredible tool and puts almost limitless resources at the disposal of
students and teachers. But providing unbridled and un-audited access leads to some
unique security challenges for school officials and administrators.
The Cyberoam Solution
After careful consideration, Mr. Roberge decided to try out Cyberoam next-generation,
identity-enabled UTM+ appliances in place of the SonicWALL appliances. The district
replaced all SonicWALL appliances with three (3) Cyberoam CR100i and one (1)
CR300i appliances; all deployed in bridge mode. While Home Street School, Woodman
Park School and Garrison Elementary School have a CR100i each, Dover Middle
School (DMS) has a CR300i UTM appliance. Dover High School is connected over
fiber to DMS for Internet connectivity.
External Proxy - Reigned In
Cyberoam has a content filtering database of more than 44 million Websites, categorized cleanly in 82+ categories, providing extensive control over Internet usage. External Proxy, third-party tunneling and browsing applications which were being used to tunnel through the previous security solution for unrestricted browsing, are now history. All harmful and objectionable content accessed over the Internet is now blocked.
Controlled and Safe Browsing
All unauthorized downloads, P2P applications, pirated audio and video streaming and other harmful content is now safely blocked. Any phishing or pharming Website is disallowed to ensure that no personal information accidentally falls into the hands of criminals. The content filtering categories allow the school to create policies to block access to sites associated with spyware, phishing, key-logging, malicious mobile code and malware. All content access over HTTP, HTTPS and FTP over HTTP is controlled and sanitized. The Intrusion Prevention System module is used in conjunction with the Content Filter for Open Proxy and Application Management.
Inculcating Healthy Surfing Habits
Without curbing the healthy curiosity of young minds, Cyberoam allowed them to roam far and wide on the Internet. Additionally, Cyberoam allows customizable messages for its Web pages that it blocks. This helps the schools to educate the students about the Internet policy and helps inculcate safe surfing habits in them. Cyberoam also enforces “Google Safe Search” at the gateway level for students, so that students can only search Google using “Safe Search Mode” even if they change the setting on their desktops.
Judicious Bandwidth Management
As part of their filtering policy, the Dover School District uses Cyberoam's time-based
quota feature. With the time-based quota option, organizations can set up policies for
different users or groups to visit specific categories of sites for pre-set amounts of time.
Ease of Appliance Management
By taking advantage of the ability of Cyberoam to be easily managed via a Web browser, the Dover School District has dramatically improved productivity by extending its security policy management and administrator controls to additional IT staff members. “You can just login to any Cyberoam appliance GUI through a Web browser and manage the policies, categories, users, and other things. Because of that, I‘ve been able to delegate control and I can give responsibility to the IT administrators. That‘s been a very nice feature,” the manager said.
A Matter of Trust
Cyberoam‘s technical support team is also earning accolades. “The Cyberoam support guys have been phenomenal. They trained four (4) System Administrators including me. We were given basic understanding and Level 1 troubleshooting. This training was aimed to reduce technical dependency in the Cyberoam team,” Mr. Roberge said. “They‘ve never let me down. I‘ve worked with many different vendors where it was hard to get hold of anybody to get a question answered and find people to help us with our problem. It was very reassuring that I could just pick up the phone and call someone at Cyberoam to get help right away and get a problem resolved within a reasonable amount of time. Everyone I spoke with was knowledgeable and had an intelligent and satisfactory answer,” he said.
User-based authentication and granular control proved to be an unexpected bonus, as this was something the authorities did not consider initially, mainly because they tried to do it with SonicWALL earlier but never got it going and they thought it would be similar with Cyberoam. To the manager‘s pleasant surprise, user-based policy formation and control was configured in a jiffy.
To Round it Off
“This far, the Cyberoam devices have performed flawlessly. They are easy to set up and configure. The interface is intuitive, and they are extremely effective. At the customer service end, Cyberoam has been wonderful to work with. I would highly recommend to anyone that they check out Cyberoam for content filtering,” beamed Mr. Roberge.