IT security is becoming a challenge in school districts due to the continuous roll out of new devices in classrooms, as well as the increase in “bring your own device” programs.
“When West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey launched a one-to-one computing initiative to go with an existing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program, IT Infrastructure Manager Harry Doctor Jr. faced two challenges: He needed to ensure that every classroom had ample bandwidth and had to address security risks from the influx of mobile devices,” according to Wiley Wong of EdTechMagazine.
In order to ramp up their security efforts, the district installed a Palo Alto Networks firewall according to the report. With the firewall also comes a F5 Networks load-balancing appliances that will serve to protect the network against denial-of-service attacks.
“We use multiple levels of security because one appliance can’t do it all,” Doctor says, according to the report.
“As school districts embark on one-to-one computing and BYOD initiatives, they must architect their networks with security in mind. That includes deploying network security appliances, such as next-generation firewalls and network access control (NAC) devices, and segmenting their networks into separate virtual LANs (VLANs) to bolster security.”
These methods of security work as a multifaceted tool that adds multiple layers of security for the many devices being used in the classroom. Student devices may be infected from browsing at home on unprotected devices; this can then be transferred to the school network if it’s not properly protected.
“As for network segmentation, a district can split its network into separate VLANs, so students on a Wi-Fi network can’t access critical servers and applications,” according to Wong.
“Furthermore, if a student introduces a virus or malware, it can’t propagate through the rest of the network.”