Cyberoam Checks in for Network Security at Valley View University
About Valley View University (VVU), Education
Valley View University was established in 1979 by the West African Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists (now Ghana Union Conference). The, Valley View University became the first private institution in Ghana to be granted national accreditation. The university serves students from all over the world. It admits qualified students regardless of their religious background, provided such students accept the Christian principles and lifestyle which forms the basis for the university's operations.
In academic development, the ultimate is to make Valley View University a centre of excellence in teaching and research in science and technology, without sidelining the humanities and social sciences.
Malware and spam mails took necessary bandwidth, and undesirable pornographic content directly targeted student’s inbox. So they needed an Anti – Virus and Anti – Spam solution
Mr. Ebenezer A. Laryea
Valley View University
The challenges faced by Valley View University are listed below:
Basic Boundary Protection
As an educational institution, Valley View University is committed to fostering an environment of academic freedom in which cutting-edge research and learning is promoted. However, the University has an obligation to protect students and staff while accessing online materials. The University is interested in allowing online access to information, while simultaneously protecting itself from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats and this posed a major challenge for the University.
The University therefore, needed a firewall and an intrusion prevention solution. The combination of these two solutions was needed to protect the network against intentional and unintentional intrusion attempts, and Denial of Service attacks.
Reducing Malware and Spam prevalence
Valley View University had no proper security solution in place. This presented the University with all the network problems, such as viruses resulting in computer network down time; spam taking up necessary network bandwidth and more importantly, undesirable pornographic content directly targeting student inboxes. Thus they needed to protect students from undesirable content. They decided to tackle the issue on by implementing an effective anti-virus and anti-spam solution that detects and removes spam and viruses before they reach the school network thus preventing unnecessary emails ever reaching the inbox.
Filtering over the Web
With thousands of students accessing the Internet at any one time, VVU had growing concerns to protect the students and network. The University has a responsibility to protect all students, from inappropriate content on the internet. They needed a flexible web filtering solution to allow them to set different access levels for students and staff. It had then become evident that the University needed a more customized product to better manage Internet access.
Also, opening up access to all sites for all students resulted in bandwidth getting “choked”. So they defined security and bandwidth management policies after taking the user’s identity and professional profile into account. Bandwidth needs to be managed and prioritized to achieve maximum business advantage. They wanted to ensure productive use of bandwidth.
The Cyberoam Solution
After tracing the market for the correct solution, VVU purchased 1 unit of Cyberoam CR300i enterprise-class UTM appliance for the University at the main site which was soon deployed in gateway mode across all the locations.
The business benefits were as follows:
- Identity based Security
Cyberoam UTM delivered unforeseen value additions such as the award-winning identity-based security feature which provides full visibility of user activities in the network. To elaborate, after integrating Cyberoam into the VVU’s network infrastructure, Mr. Ebenezer A. Laryea, the System Administrator at VVU used its Active Directory Services (ADS) to include all VVU’s Internet users in the database so their online activities could be further monitored.
- Firewall and Intrusion Prevention
Cyberoam firewall is ICSA and Checkmark certified - provides granular access controls over Internet traffic and the network resources. Coupled with Intrusion Prevention module, Cyberoam UTM can counter any Denial of Service attack. Mr. Laryea now felt the network is secure.
- Virus & Spam Protection
Cyberoam’s gateway anti virus and anti spyware features lookout all the web and mail traffic – SMTP, IMAP, POP3, HTTP, HTTPS and FTP protocols and make sure that no malware or spyware creeps through the edge. Additionally, the anti-virus blocks attachments for specified file types such as executables, media files, PDF, zipped files etc. before these blended threats can demolish the network.
Recurrent Pattern Detection (RPD) powered signature-less anti spam technology works instantly on deployment, with the least human intervention and is language independent. It blocks spam in any language regardless of the content, e.g. image, audio, video or zip-based spam. The anti spam feature is also equipped with Virus Outbreak Detection. This protects the university against any zero day attack.
- Controlling Surfing Practices
The University needed to know who was accessing what sites and as such needed an identity based filter and reporting system that would include the students as well as staff’s online behavioral audit. It would also be required to block harmful spyware/malware infested sites. One of the most important vectors of worry was the productivity. The productivity might be affected while spending precious time in unproductive surfing and messaging. Mr. Laryea believes that Internet access is a resource that should not be wasted and so every user’s bandwidth usage ought to be distributed and monitored using content filtering. They needed strong web filtering solutions which could control all Internet access and give informative reports on Internet usage.
Mr. Laryea said, “The reporting capabilities are an essential component of the Cyberoam appliance. We consult the activity logs and reports on a weekly basis to ensure that the students and staff are using the Internet appropriately and have the information on hand when dealing with students who abuse our Internet Usage Policy.”