Stonesoft Earns High Marks on Network Security Overhaul
Background: As one of the largest school districts in the state of California Sacramento's Twin Rivers Unified School District has one of the most technologically complex networks of any school district in California. Between 2007 and 2009 the complexity of Twin Rivers' network coupled with the growing volume of students and employees requiring always-on access was threatening network security and performance. In fact the district more than doubled from 12500 students and 23 sites to 30000 students and 67 sites.
Challenges: As the IT team's responsibilities grew the network became harder and more expensive to manage. Logistically speaking they were constantly adding new firewalls and VPNs that had to be manually configured whenever a change occurred on the network. That's would be fine if they had a team of 10 IT guys but they only had a team of three. These network woes were further compounded by a demand to reduce network costs and the effects of less-than-optimal customer service from Twin Rivers' current security vendors. To guarantee reliable access Twin Rivers had implemented not only multiple ISP connections but also multiple clustered security devices to eliminate single points of failure. Initially the team attempted to cluster CheckPoint firewalls including a geographically dispersed four-node cluster and Rainfinity for their multiple ISP connections. However once the solution was in place they struggled to get the products to work as claimed.
Best Deployment Scenario - Firewall Solution
Solution provided: Twin Rivers knew that the only way to overcome their challenges was to simplify and centralize Twin Rivers' network infrastructure. Top on the list of priorities was to find a solution that offered clustering technology for improved load-balancing enhanced network redundancy flexible deployment and cost-effective pricing. They evaluated three different firewall technologies against their criteria before finally selecting Stonesoft's integrated StoneGate Firewall/VPN solution. The flexibility of the solution was a dealmaker for Twin Rivers.The implementation was a total replacement but took less than 72 hours to complete. Traffic and performance rolled over seamlessly to the new appliances. With StoneGate's combined security and high availability features Twin Rivers was immediately able to transparently load balance traffic between multiple firewall clusters including its geographically-dispersed four-node cluster.
Stonesoft's patented Multi-Link technology which is built in with the StoneGate firewall/VPN appliances provided automatic failover and load balancing capabilities for multiple ISPs giving the district the power to ensure internet redundancy and the fastest connections across all facets of its infrastructure.The performance and painless implementation of the appliances alleviated Marcum's security and failover concerns but it was the single management interface that spelled out the cost savings. The StoneGate Management Center allowed Twin Rivers' IT administrators to see what was happening across the entire network. If they needed to make a change they could use the management center to configure one device and push that configuration out to all other devices. The StoneGate Management Center also armed Twin Rivers with the remote management to quickly administer routine updates across multiple networks without the need to travel on-site to each location.
Summary: Instead of spending an estimated 90 percent of its time handling firewall issues the district's IT department can now focus on other aspects of network management. Now even if there is a firewall issue it can be addressed during normal business hours without a second of downtime.
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