PA district deploys network control system

InfoExpress, network security solutions provider, announced today that Pennsbury School District (PSD) has selected its CyberGatekeeper Network Access Control (NAC) to protect the District’s wired and wireless network. PSD will be able to manage network access and define policies for district-provided laptops provided to staff and students. Once the system is fully deployed, the Pennsylvania school district will provide network protection to its high school campus, three middle schools, eleven elementary schools, and administration building.

“The use of technology is critical to providing our students with the best education possible,” said Daniel DiLorenzo, Director of Information Technology at Pennsbury School District. “The challenge for us was how to provide as much access to our network as possible, without compromising the integrity of the system.”

After a thorough examination of PSD’s network security needs, DiLorenzo and his team determined that they needed to better control the devices accessing the network. In selecting a NAC partner, PSD was looking for a solution that was easy to deploy and that required no changes to the network.

“CyberGatekeeper from InfoExpress met all of our needs,” continued DiLorenzo. “We had a very quick deployment, rolling out CyberGatekeeper to more than 1,000 devices in less than a day. Throughout the process, InfoExpress was extremely responsive to our questions. In addition, unlike the other vendors we spoke to, they did not charge us during the evaluation process and did not require us to make a bunch of changes to the network before we began.”

In addition, securing PSD’s wireless network was a key concern for DiLorenzo and his team. Through a grant provided by the Pennsylvania State Government, PSD relies on mobile carts with district provided laptops. Based on PSD’s strict policy, non-district provided devices are prohibited and the school laptops require an encrypted key to access the wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

DiLorenzo went on to say, “Students are very savvy when it comes to technology. It did not take long for them to run a hack program on one of our laptops to secure the key. The key was then distributed to other students, and we had thousands of personal laptops, smart phones and iPods accessing the network.”

Based on a policy that was quickly generated and deployed by the CyberGatekeeper Policy Server, PSD now requires that all devices meet a specific configuration. Even if someone has the key or password, if they are not using a district provided laptop and it’s out of compliance, the endpoint is denied access.

“Non-compliant device related incidents were increasing at a significant rate. The smallest problem would require about 24 hours of time spent by multiple members of my team to mitigate. In the short time we have been using CyberGatekeeper we have seen a sharp decrease, which allows us to focus on our strategic IT goals.”