Seoul National University of Education (SNUE) was founded in 1946 and over the past 69 years has focused on the cultivation of talent in elementary schools throughout the country, making a name for itself as the premier public education university in South Korea. The large university has around 250 faculty, 3,000 students, 14 affiliated institutions and 18 buildings. They believe that, “Education is the future, and the future is the path to happiness” and “a school environment should allow everyone to develop happily together.” It is on these principles SNUE bases their never-ending pursuit to improve standards in elementary education.
SNUE’s adoption of smart classrooms and other cutting-edge educational technologies coincides with a rapid increase in the use of wireless via mobile devices – driving the need to ensure the stability of wireless networks. Students and faculty were depending on access points (APs) to connect, but there were often gray areas for connectivity and wireless roaming services were limited – making smooth, continuous coverage impossible. These issues resulted in frequent complaints regarding the quality, speed, and stability of services.
Additionally, SNUE was tasked with building a comprehensive wireless security environment that could protect its network from threats. The university was using Secui IPS for wired security. However, their wireless service companies did not provide wireless equipment or separate security and certification services other than access points. The existing system could not properly detect viruses or abnormal network traffic, leaving the network exposed to a variety of security threats. If the wireless network was left in this state, the school’s main network could be affected, making wireless service security an immediate necessity.
Finding a solution that differentiates networks and assigns permissions for different user groups, while providing clear analysis and reporting functions, was paramount.
SNUE needed a stable wireless network within the school to allow SNUE to move forward with mobile academic programs, and an integrated security solution to protect it.
Selection criteria took into account several factors. It was important that administrators could easily operate and manage wired and wireless networks.
Additionally, being compatible with all existing technologies was an important consideration. Maintaining service without a loss of packets was another condition. This meant that the product needed to provide stability and service compatibility even after applying security services based on the packet filter and proxy.
“For SNUE, it was important to expand the visibility of all network traffic rather than simply expand the wireless network, given that the network needed to be accessed by students, faculty, alumni and other external users to the network.”
Finally, the solution had to provide group SSID management since SNUE provides access to alumni and other groups – not just faculty and students. This meant different firewall policies needed to be applied for various groups and locations when processing internal and external traffic. SNUE needed an integrated wireless solution that could do this efficiently.
“For SNUE, it was important to expand the visibility of all network traffic rather than simply expand the wireless network, given that the network needed to be accessed by students, faculty, alumni and other external users to the network. While competitors had offered to simply put simple wireless services or only basic security policies in place, WatchGuard allowed us to kill two birds with one stone, applying integrated security services against various threats such as APT, viruses, and spam to a wireless service zone,” said Song Ji-Hee, Computing Team Manager, SNUE.
The installation and adoption of WatchGuard UTM across the university headquarters, library, and art gallery took less than 10 days. Before installation, SNUE had been using another company’s wireless equipment and APs from telecom companies. The result was poor stability in speed and performance. After adopting WatchGuard, speed not only improved by 60% over the existing service, but service gray areas were reduced and the service provided was more stable.
WatchGuard tailored their solution to SNUE’s school network to protect the school’s internal network from a variety of threats. Many competitors’ solutions could only provide wireless service or basic security policies. WatchGuard, on the other hand, implemented a wide variety of integrated security services such as Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), antivirus, spam blocking, application control, URL filtering, APT blockers, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), RED service and more. This allowed for WatchGuard to effectively defend the school networks against security weaknesses.
“WatchGuard allowed us to kill two birds with one stone, applying integrated security services against various threats such as APT, viruses, and spam to a wireless service zone.”
WatchGuard engineered their solution to protect the network from a wide range of threats. While competing solutions could only provide partial protection, WatchGuard delivered antivirus, spam-blocking, application control, URL filtering, APT blocking, data loss prevention, reputation look-up service and more, for defense in-depth.
WatchGuard Dimension™, which is included with all WatchGuard firewall products, provides a suite of big-data visibility and reporting tools that instantly identify and distill key threats, issues, and trends. With it, SNUE was able to perform flawless analyses of all traffic and security events and set meaningful policy across the network.
Since deploying WatchGuard products, the school’s students and faculty have been satisfied with service quality, stability, and speed. SNUE plans on expanding the wireless service now currently available only in the university headquarters, library, and art gallery to the entire campus. WatchGuard’s solution created a foundation on which the school will be able to easily move forward with future smart class and wireless academic services, and have more flexibility to expand such programs.