Proactive network protection critical for digital learning environment
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 GonzalezNetwork Operations Manager, District 230