What was the background?
Kendall Eley is the technical director of Prince Avenue Christian School, a pre-k through 12 campus with a variety of networked and personal devices including 1-to-1 and iPad carts.
Prince Avenue has 4 wireless networks, each requiring a tailored filtering policy: one for students, one for faculty, one for guests which requires a token, and one public network shared with church in school off-hours. Filtering policies for the shared network needed to be adapted not only to location but also to hours of the day.
There is also a wired network that filters and authenticates PC users against Active Directory®. Student and faculty iPads are filtered separately, depending on the wireless network they are connecting to.
What was the problem?
With their previous solution, Prince Avenue had to make hard choices. Either they would be able to filter by location or by time of day, but never both.
They also had problems with reporting. “The data never felt valid,” says Kendall. Any issues with anonymous proxies or circumvention efforts were invisible or unavailable in any level of detail.
There were also issues with support. “Support calls were always dead air on the line,”says Kendall. “They would never explain the process.”
These types of shortcomings ate into Kendall’s sense of confidence in the product, and how valued he felt as a customer. When Kendall suspected the campus was being targeted by a DDos attacker, he felt shut out by his previous supplier. “When I finally got through, they said to call back next time it was happening, and that’s just not good enough.”
How did Smoothwall help?
Kendall looked at 4 different solutions before choosing Smoothwall. “With Smoothwall, they didn’t try to sell me the device; they let the device speak for itself,” says Kendall. “The low sales pressure meant a lot to me.”
Smoothwall also provided the level of support that Kendall was looking for in a filtering product. “The support has been great,” Kendall says. “They were able to fix the problem for me and explain to me what the problem was, helping to prevent future problems.”
Previously Kendall also suspected issues with anonymous proxies and other circumvention methods, but poor reporting integrity never revealed the problems. With Smoothwall’s drill down reporting and Active Directory® authentication, those problems quickly became a thing of the past.
Smoothwall also helped to enhance the educational program at Prince Avenue, with its incomparable granularity features. Now they could open sensitive resources for faculty without risking access by students. “Now, teachers can do the research they need to provide the best learning experience possible,” says Kendall.
Kendall’s experience with Smoothwall also makes him feel valued. He says, “Smoothwalll is the only technology solution that I’ve ever bought, that I don’t look back on thinking I could have gotten better. It’s answered all of our needs.”
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