Texas district deploys 1:1 netbook security

Fortinet®, provider of network security and unified threat management (UTM) solutions – today announced that Northwest Independent School District in Texas, has deployed more than 7,000 FortiClient™ endpoint security software licenses to students in the four middle schools and three high schools.

The original Northwest ISD deployment occurred in 2007 with a pair of FortiGate® appliances deployed at the district headquarters in high availability (HA) active/active mode. The FortiGate appliances are still deployed and are being used for firewall protection as well as anti-spam, antivirus and Web content filtering.

The district recently launched a 1:1 netbook program whereby all middle school and high school students are provided a district netbook for access to educational content as well as the Internet. The district-provided netbooks are used by students during school hours in addition to home use. The program initially began with 3,500 high school students, and due to its overwhelming success, it quickly expanded to the middle schools. Northwest ISD teachers received their district-owned laptops in 2008, the year before high school students received their netbooks.

While responsible for the netbooks of the 7,000 students, Northwest ISD was also responsible for meeting federal regulations such as the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA mandates that children not be allowed to view offensive material on school and/or library computers. Because of the success of the original FortiGate deployment, when it came time to deploy an endpoint solution on the netbooks, Northwest ISD worked with Fortinet partner, M & S Technologies, and installed Fortinet’s FortiClient endpoint software solution on each of the 7,000 district-owned netbooks. FortiCient is being used for antivirus, anti-spam and Web content filtering on each of the netbooks and is being used as an extended layer of network security protection.

“The FortiClient solution is extending the boundary of our security reach by protecting the netbooks when they are on campus and when they are not at school,” said Carl Shawn, director of technology at Northwest Independent School District. “In conjunction with our FortiGate appliances, we are confident that we are providing the best level of network security to protect our faculty, staff, and more importantly, our students.”

In addition, a FortiManager™-400A appliance has been deployed at the district’s main office in Fort Worth, TX and is being used to help centrally manage all Northwest ISD’s FortiGate and FortiClients. The IT team at Northwest ISD now has a “single pane of glass” for making configuration changes to any of its Fortinet devices located within the physical internal network or externally when off campus.

“Northwest ISD started its Fortinet deployment with a pair of FortiGate appliances. Because of the success of that deployment, the FortiClient solution was purchased to help them extend its network protection beyond the boundaries of the school district and into the homes of its students, faculty and staff,” said Pete Brant, vice president of enterprise sales at Fortinet. “The Northwest ISD deployment of Fortinet solutions is further proof of our end-to-end and internal and external network security capabilities.”