Consolidated High School District 230 Enhances Security with Comcast Business DDoS Mitigation

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Situation
  • Consolidated High School District 230 in Orland Park, Ill. with three high schools
  • More than 8,300 students each with laptops and personal devices
  • First-hand experience confronting rising trend of DDoS attacks in education
Challenge
  • Increasing reliance on cloud-based systems and applications to manage day-to-day operations
  • Growing ecosystem of integrated systems and tools
  • DDoS and security attacks on the rise
Solution
Results
  • Proactive threat monitoring, detection and mitigation
  • Easy-to-manage solution with no on-premises equipment
  • Automated notifications and event information via convenient portal

CASE STUDY

Proactive network protection critical for digital learning environment

Elementary, middle and high schools are increasingly reliant on network connected technologies and cloud- based applications to foster modern teaching and learning experiences. From back of house school operations to in the classroom lesson plans, smart devices and internet access play a pivotal role in day to day operations and student engagement.

At Consolidated High School District 230 in south suburban Chicago, three high schools and an administration building form a campus at the frontier of education’s technology revolution. All of the more than 8,300 students are provided laptops, facilitating a new era of digital learning and 1 to 1 teaching in every classroom. The over 1,000 faculty and staff are also harnessing technology to support the district’s primary mission to cultivate successful schools and successful students.

Innovation as catalyst for new threat vectors

In response to digital transformation trends, District 230 had already begun to address new realities that made network management more complex. Their Wi-Fi network required 3 SSIDs to manage guest, student and private needs with different levels of access permissions, paths to the internet and rate limits for each. Their ecosystem of cloud apps and integrated systems required a great deal of attention to both troubleshoot performance issues and also stay on top of user management.

While the adoption of new technologies had generally brought great benefits to students, teachers and staff, they also expanded the attack surface – a problem top of mind for security professionals in all industries.

"We have seen that DDoS attacks are increasingly commonplace among our peers in education," said Marce Gonzalez, Network Operations Manager for District 230. "Our campus has been the target of more than a dozen attacks in the last four years," said Gonzalez, "and we have come to view as a matter of when vs if the next attack will occur."

These types of attacks can be crippling for schools. Without access to network services, not only does learning stop but important systems and processes for state and federal compliance are jeopardized.

"We have seen that DDoS attacks are increasingly commonplace among our peers in education."
– Marce Gonzalez
Network Operations Manager, District 230

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