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Halesowen College Deploys Network Security Systems

UK's Halesowen College has replaced an open source security system from Sourcefire with the company's commercial offerings--3D System and Sourcefire Real-time Network (RNA)--to monitor and protect its local area network. The deployment has saved the college 15 hours of monitoring time a week. Halesowen has 1,700 personal computers on three campuses, which are supported by several networks and managed internally. Following an increase in service requirements, the college decided it needed a more commercial solution to replace its open source security application, Snort.

"We found Snort could spot threats very well, but we were being overloaded with information and it was hard to see the wood for the trees," said Will Davidson, Technical Resources Director for Halesowen. "Sourcefire's threat analysis and RNA functions really stood out because they correlate context and data so that you are only alerted to threats that you need to act upon. We considered TippingPoint and Cisco, but the Sourcefire solution ticked all our boxes and came in within budget, so it was an easy choice."

Halesowen has installed two Sourcefire 3D sensors across its three sites, one to monitor the college's Internet connection and the other for its wireless networks. In a statement, the college said the implementation provides all the network defense capabilities of its previous Snort system, along with deeper network traffic and security information. Sourcefire RNA gathers network usage data and feeds it into a centralized monitoring system.

"The impact flagging and alerts are fantastic," said Davidson. "They're very quick to come through, we get all the information in real-time, and it gives you added confidence that the product is doing its job. RNA provides an even finer level of control so that we get far less false positives, which is excellent. As a result we have made huge efficiency gains, with RNA giving our team back 15 hours a week. Additionally the read out and logs provide us with an audit trail that demonstrates we are following best practices."

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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