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E-Class Next-Generation Firewall | SUNY College at Old Westbury Case Study

Background: State University of New York (SUNY) College at Old Westbury is located on a 607-acre campus 20 miles from New York City. SUNY is comprised of 64 campuses statewide with an enrollment of 467,845 total students. The College employs over 250 faculty members and 300 non-faculty staff, and serves over 4,300 students, a quarter of whom reside on campus. Typically, hackers do not target the College’s network for proprietary information (as they would target research institutions or for-profit corporations). However, hackers constantly probe the network in attempts to steal identity and financial information, and leverage the network’s high-bandwidth chain of thousands of devices as a hidden launching ground for outbound attacks.

Challenges: SUNY College at Old Westbury experienced a profound increase in bandwidth, which stressed its existing legacy hardware beyond its technical capabilities and architecture. Seybold began evaluating alternative solutions that could provide firewalling, edge routing, and system redundancy in a cost-effective manner which would meet his budgetary requirements. In particular, he sought a solution that provided granular policy controls so that the College could better optimize its available bandwidth and tie traffic flows to particular users and groups. “Faculty members often couldn’t stream video properly in the classroom because we had hundreds of students consuming bandwidth on YouTube,” said Seybold. “Since we couldn’t tie users to traffic, we could only blanket-throttle all traffic, but as a result, the faculty still didn’t get the performance they needed.”After extensive research and evaluation, the College selected the SonicWALL® E-Class Network Security Appliance (NSA) E7500 Next-Generation Firewall in paired High Availability (HA) mode.

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Solution provided by SonicWALL, Inc.: For organizations with large networks, such as the College, the SonicWALL E-Class NSA E7500 can provide Application Intelligence, Control and Visualization, gateway anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, anti-spam and content filtering. Combining SonicWALL Reassembly-Free Deep Packet Inspection™ (RFDPI) technology with a high-performance multi-core platform, the NSA E7500 is configurable to analyze and control thousands of unique applications, whether unencrypted or encrypted with SSL, and without introducing latency. As an inline solution, the NSA E7500 leverages existing infrastructure while adding an extra layer of network security and visibility. As a security gateway, it adds secure remote access and high availability.Unexpectedly, the previous firewall died minutes before SonicWALL technicians had arrived to begin setting up a parallel E7500 configuration. They managed to have the new E7500 solution operational—and the campus network back online—within a couple of hours.“It was a pretty impressive response,” said Seybold. “We have been very happy and satisfied with the service and support.”

Summary: The NSA E7500 helps Seybold shape and optimize bandwidth over his gateway firewall. With the E7500, Seybold is now able to view traffic flow and match it to specific users, adding a new level of transparency and control. This enables the College to protect network users and institutional assets, while enabling faculty and students to accomplish their work, unimpeded.“When you consider how much student use of bandwidth-hogging social media applications, audio and video files has increased, it’s clear that at some point any campus is going to reach its limits in terms of budget for additional bandwidth,” said Seybold. “It made sense for us to be proactive and actually look at how the available bandwidth is being used over different time slices during the day, by user and then optimize it.”In addition, Seybold has found management to be easier than that of the previous solution.“Our experience has been outstanding. Management of the firewall is much easier and technical support has been great,” said Seybold.

SonicWALL, Inc.
2001 Logic Drive
San Jose, CA 95124-3452 U.S.A.

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