Valley Christian Academy Aurora, Ohio USA North America
Cyberoam Provides CIPA Compliance and Security to VCA - US School
About Valley Christian Academy Aurora, Ohio, School / Educational Institute

Valley Christian Academy (VCA) has been educating the children at Aurora, Ohio, USA since 1979. To best meet the needs of students, VCA has two schools within one - Elementary upto grade K-5, and a Middle School for grades 6, 7, and 8.

The school is chartered by the State of Ohio and in 2004 received an additional accreditation from ACSI (the Association of Christian Schools International).

The school authorities were initially looking for a good Web Filtering solution.

We needed a simple solution to our content filtering dilemma. A content filtering solution is a mandatory requirement to meet CIPA compliance. The bevy of features in Cyberoam was an unexpected but welcome bonus.

Mr. Dale Moncrief
Chief IT Administrator
Valley Christian Academy

Mr. Dale Moncrief, the Chief IT Administrator at VCA and Mr. Dan Lavely from XL Systems were in the process of testing WebSense - a leading Content Filtering solution. XL Systems provides IT and network support to VCA.

One of the first hurdles that they faced during the evaluation was that the solution was extremely resource hungry. In fact, they found that if the solution was to be procured and installed in the school premises, they would be forced to buy a new server to run it. The tech support, at one point in time asked them to install an old-fashioned hub in their network so that all the broadcast traffic would pass through it. Complying with all their resource requirements proved to be taxing.

The installation of the solution was difficult. Mr. Moncrief and Mr. Lavely had a real hard time deciphering the utility of different modules of the product, to find the ones that were best suited to them. Intricate licensing of different modules was yet another pain area.

Once they were able to clear the initial hurdles, they faced the steep uphill task of configuring the solution. They soon concluded that the task was not intuitive and it seemed to have a steep learning curve. “I believe it would be hard to demonstrate to my client – VCA administrator, how to perform simple day-to-day tasks on his own,” said Mr. Lavely.

“We needed a simple solution to our content filtering dilemma. Moreover a content filtering solution is a mandatory requirement to meet CIPA compliance. If a solution had other features over and above our basic need, it would be an unexpected bonus,” Mr. Moncrief said.

The Cyberoam Solution

Mr. Lavely was first introduced to Cyberoam UTM at the ASCII Cleveland show. The product interested him and he decided to have a proof-of-concept. A CR 100i was deployed in gateway mode in the school premises. Cyberoam replaced the ageing
firewall also. This was an added advantage.

The first pleasant surprise was that the solution blended seamlessly into the network with no major changes. Cyberoam is integrated with the school’s Active Directory server for authentication. Cyberoam’s Automated Single Sign-On feature is also implemented. Hence the users are transparently authenticated to use Internet as soon as they log into the computer using their unique username and password.

The authentication is used to create identity-aware Internet access policies in Cyberoam’s firewall and Web content filtering. Mr. Moncrief created distinct access policies for staff and students. Once the policies were in place, the content filtering
solution kicked in. With a database of more than 44 million Websites and regular timely updates, Mr. Moncrief was glad to see that all the children and the school staff are protected from surfing damaging content on the Internet.

Now the school had control over all instant messaging solutions and web-based email access. Cyberoam has a special pre-defined Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) based Internet Access Policy. Once this policy is enabled, all Internet-based harmful and objectionable content is automatically blocked. Based on the identity of the users, adults have been assigned a higher level of browsing freedom, than the students. As an individual’s identity and Internet activity can be logged Cyberoam helped VCA authorities in meeting CIPA compliance.

Using Cyberoam’s scheduling features like Cyclic Access, the administrator can control the duration of an individual’s Internet’s access. This feature ensured that every individual got his share of Internet time and resources.

“The Cyberoam appliance has put everyone’s minds at ease now that our children are protected from harmful Internet sites. We can also tell the parents with confidence that their children are protected from such content. All this was achieved at a fraction of Websense’s cost and minimal operating effort,” said Mr. Moncrief.