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2 Schools Overhaul Network Access Control

Two institutions--Northern Arizona and The Master's College--have both added network access control (NAC) technology from Impulse Point, replacing legacy systems from Cisco. Both schools are now using SafeConnect. A NAC system such as SafeConnect performs network validation before allowing a device to use network resources. That typically includes authentication of username and password and compliance with the school's network acceptable use policy or standards.

Northern Arizona, which has 20,000 students, sought a replacement that could keep up with the growth of devices on its network. One of the key challenges facing the Flagstaff school's IT department was the delay it experienced with its existing NAC system in recognizing newer operating systems and patch updates.

"Our students were showing up with new endpoint security software and operating systems such as Windows Media Center, Window 7, and Apple Mac Snow Leopard. For a period of six months, we had to make special exceptions within our Cisco Clean Access system to exempt these devices and the latest endpoint security software releases, which defeated the whole purpose of having a NAC system in the first place," said Heather Bell, systems administrator. "When we switched to SafeConnect, this issue was resolved because their managed support service ensures that we receive new device OS, and security software updates within 24 to 48 hours."

The Master's College in Santa Clarita, CA migrated to SafeConnect because it could no longer afford the staff time for maintenance and support of its legacy system.

"We ended up running it at a reduced functional level because of the many issues arising from it. We simply did not have the resources to sustain the solution and eventually determined that this product might not be the best fit for our environment," said Network Manager Paul Sedy. "The managed support service provided through SafeConnect has greatly helped to optimize our technical resources and reduce risk for our customers."

Other campuses that have recently moved to SafeConnect include Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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