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Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board Deploys Avenda Systems' Identity-Aware Access Control to Secure District-Wide Wireless LAN

11/18/09 - Avenda Systems announced that the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) has deployed its eTIPS network access solution to secure wireless access for more than 6,000 users, while protecting its network from unauthorized use.

The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board is one of twenty-nine Catholic School Boards in the Province of Ontario. It is one of the largest school boards in Ontario in terms of geography, spanning an area of more than 34,000 square miles. HSCDSB is made up of 26 schools, including three high schools, employs more than 1,100 people, and serves more than 5,800 students.

According to Derek Warmington, Network Administrator, HSCDSB was challenged with authenticating and centrally managing network access for its many wireless users, while keeping devices with out-of-date protection from infecting the network. With such a large geographic footprint, HSCDSB needed a way to enforce policies for students, staff and administrators that could be quickly deployed across the district's many wireless access points.

For example, the district's St. Basil Secondary school allows students to use their own laptops on campus, which requires support for unmanaged or unsecure laptops, as well as the 1,400 Mac books and PCs owned by the HSCDSB. In addition, approximately 20 percent of the district's high school students bring in their own laptops.

"Avenda is the only affordable solution that we have seen which secures our wireless networks and is easy to manage," said Warmington. "In the future, we will turn on health checking to keep certain devices off the network that do not meet our current protection levels based on set policy requirements. In addition to supporting all of our existing platforms, we can also create policies to manage iPhone authentication on the network, as well."

Serving as the district's RADIUS server, Avenda's eTIPS integrates with HSCDSB's Meru wireless LAN and 802.1X authentication system. The eTIPS solution works seamlessly with HSCDSB's Active Directory server to provide identity-based access to secure the wireless LAN and manage network usage. In addition, Avenda's activity reports are also very valuable, Warmington said. Cost of ownership was a major factor in the decision to deploy Avenda's solution as well, he added, as the team quickly discovered that other systems the district had evaluated required multiple components and were overly expensive.

"The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board is a good example of how an organization can tie security, authentication and network protection together," said Ron DiBiase, Avenda Systems Vice President of Sales. "Organizations are realizing the benefits of a role-based, policy architecture that integrates with all of their existing systems and user platforms; and, thus, are turning to Avenda Systems."

The eTIPS platform is the one solution that centrally manages policies across access methods, operating systems, managed and unmanaged endpoints, and existing identity stores.

By Robert Hoskins

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