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Technical College Shifts Internet Security to Cloud

Tri-County Technical College, a 6,800-student school, has placed its Internet security trust in the cloud. The four-campus institution recently moved its Web filtering off of Lightspeed Systems and onto OpenDNS Enterprise from OpenDNS in order to address the growing number of mobile and roaming devices among its user base and to address network performance problems.

According to the IT organization, the college isn't interested in filtering Web sites so much as preventing users from accessing sites known to transmit malware and other Internet threats. The application, which resides online, works by resolving DNS queries on the network, preventing users from visiting unsafe sites or those blocked by the school; it also stops known bots from using DNS to connect to "master" servers for instructions, thereby reducing the chances that malicious code will spread.

The agentless approach of OpenDNS allows the college to force all devices trying to access the Internet via campus network gear to go through the same process, preventing them from downloading malware.

"Other solutions simply protect the managed devices that are already on our network," said IT Operations Manager Matthew Edwards. "With OpenDNS Enterprise, we're able to provide protection to all devices, on all our campuses, without any additional headache."

The college evaluated a number of alternative appliance-based solutions, Edwards said, "but our bandwidth needs would make it nearly impossible to scale at a reasonable price," adding, "We chose OpenDNS Enterprise because it basically manages itself."

OpenDNS said its software is in use by other institutional customers, including Texas A&M University, Penn State, and Vanderbilt University.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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