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Rollins College Tackles Network Security Issues With NAC Rollout

Rollins College, a private liberal arts institution in Winter Park, FL, has rolled out a new network access control system (NAC) in a move to better monitor network activity and enforce security controls. The school's network supports roughly 4,000 users on a mix of personal and school-owned devices.

The college has deployed CounterACT by ForeScout Technologies. Ten appliances are installed across the 80-acre suburban campus, monitoring roughly 6,000 endpoints. With the system's dashboard, IT staff can view and manage network activity, in real time from a single screen. Staff members can see who's accessing the network, the devices they're using and what applications and processes they're running. They can also take a closer look at a specific user's system if they notice unusual activity.

"We recently had a spear phishing attack," recounted Pat Schoknecht, chief information officer at the school, in a prepared statement. "We used CounterACT to create a virtual firewall that allowed us to automatically notify users that their machine was compromised and to request they bring it to the help desk for remediation. This incident really opened my eyes to the power of CounterACT and its ability to enhance our security posture."

The appliance also allowed the school to implement a more efficient process for managing guest access. Before the deployment, IT staff members had to manually register all visitors. Now, however, any user who has a Rollins College email address may sponsor a guest. The visitor first connects to the guest SSID, using login information supplied by the network portal, and then the sponsor approves the connection.

According to a statement from ForeScout, Rollins College has been "able to free up more than 100 man-hours of IT time per month," since deploying the solution. Being able to better allocate its IT resources has been a huge plus, said Troy Thomason, network and communications systems manager for the IT department at the school.

"I have been able to take a very qualified person who was realistically spending 75 percent of his time supporting our previous NAC and reassign them to more strategic IT projects," he said.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at

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