Illinois district adds security with network monitor - Tech Learning

Illinois district adds security with network monitor

The network design for Illinois’s Bloomington Public School System is somewhat unusual.
Publish date:

The network design for Illinois’s Bloomington Public School System is somewhat unusual.Bloomington’s Systems Administrator Jason Radford equates the public school’s 98% virtual traffic network to the Wild West, unlike modern corporate environments which tend to have straight and narrow paths.The IT Department services technology needs across 10 sites for three primary groups:students, teachers, and faculty.With the multi-directional traffic and with the laws governing student cyber safety, the ability to monitor and trace network activity is vital.

With student cyber security a constant priority, user complaints of suspicious activity are taken seriously.When a user contacted the IT Department complaining of suspicious PC behavior regarding slow response time and unrequested pop-ups, the IT team dispatched a technician who confirmed the machine was infected with a virus called “AV2009” that wasn’t caught by the anti-virus software they had been using.The virus was reaching out to botnet websites and was sending email to further propagate itself.In a short time, the virus infected over 100 machines.

Upon discovering the nature of the virus, Radford suggested using their new NetFlow analysis software to pinpoint it.NetFlow technology monitors and records all IP traffic passing through the supported router or switch. Prior to this development, IT administrators could see how much traffic was on a network, but they couldn’t see what kind of traffic it was. NetFlow collectors gather and analyze the flow packets for data then present that data in graphical format, providing detailed trending and measurement of network traffic.

From their centralized data center location, Radford’s team used their NetFlow collector to create filters for SMTP and specific subnets trying to hit known botnet sites.In less than an hour, they isolated every single infected machine and dispatched IT SWAT teams armed with a the collector’s report.“Before enabling NetFlow, we had very little visibility,” Radford explained.“There is no question that it would have taken a lot longer to catch every infected computer without Scrutinizer.”

Radford’s IT team uses the software’s NetFlow analysis on a daily basis to verify that connection thresholds aren’t exceeded, and to provide overall metrics for bandwidth utilization to traffic anomalies.Their primarily virtual processes rely on internet connectivity in all fields, from classroom instruction to food service operations.Online video streaming requires large amounts of bandwidth- not just for the 50 security cameras in each building, but also for educational instruction through video sites like YouTube.NetFlow analysis allows the IT Department to not only pinpoint traffic that is prohibited by school policy, but it also allows the team to increase bandwidth for accessing permitted sites for legitimate educational needs.“Visibility is everything to us so that we can correct problems on our network,” Radford said.

The Bloomington Public Schools System pushes the envelope with educational network traffic configuration.They serve 9,000 students in 10 separate locations for pre-kindergarten through high school.These locations are interconnected through a Metro TLS Ethernet network then linked to a central data center with an all-Cisco network.The Bloomington School system was the first school district in the nation to get a Cisco Nexus 7000 switch and a Cisco UCS server.

Few schools have this type of infrastructure and primarily virtual nature.Radford said that this type of setup allows multiple points of entry, which demand tools to ensure security.“The Scrutinizer product has changed our processes.It lets us drill down to any type of traffic, anywhere on the network, so we can quickly provide answers to what is going on and why.”



Wolf Creek in Alberta improves network security and integrity

To improve network security and integrity for users on its wired and wireless network, Wolf Creek Public Schools  in Alberta, Canada selected a combined integrated security solution from InfoExpress and Alcatel Lucent. The new security capabilities will protect the public

Illinois district adopts SIS

Maine  Township High School District 207 is the first district in the state of Illinois to select Aspen as its student information platform, Follett Software Company announced here this week.

Secure social networking

The new Saywire network provides secure social networking for K 12 schools, and lets its members share ideas, collaborate on projects, and prepare for competitions in technology. It includes permissions based controls to ensure online safety and features such as

Illinois HS district selects cloud computing provider

Comcast Corporation today announced that Township High School District 214 , the second largest high school district in Illinois, is using Comcast Metro Ethernet services to deliver cloud computing, virtualization and streaming video in the classroom.

Matteson, Illinois Elementary School District 159

Name: Matteson, Illinois Elementary School District 159 Brief Description of the Site: Elementary School District 159, located in Matteson, IL consists of four schools. The Web site design is simple, making it easy for visitors to find information about district programs, schedules, and events. Links to each

Improving Network Security

Question:What resources do you recommend for helping improve our district’s Internet security policies and actual security status? The IT Guy says: The Center for Internet Security is a nonprofit group dedicated to helping organizations (including schools) improve security controls and minimize risks to

Online school runs smoothly with network monitor

 Originally designed to help reluctant learners gain access to the kind of alternative education they need for credit recovery or supplemental assistance, has developed into a comprehensive online education service, which helps schools individualize instruction, offer high-quality standards-aligned curriculum, and provide alternatives for students who need new ways to learn.