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Morgan School District Takes a Cloud-Based Approach to Distance Learning

“We spent so much time dealing with so many false positives. I set up our filtering to happen at the DNS level, which is different from other solutions. It’s more effective and successful at eliminating false positives. We used to have false positives 8-10 times per day. Now, after making a few minor tweaks, my team has dealt with only one false positive in six months since we implemented Infoblox’s BloxOne Threat Defense Advanced. We had that one fixed in about 5 minutes.”
— Ven Savage, Network Operations Manager, Morgan County School District

Facts

Customer: Morgan County School District

Industry: Education

Location: United States

Initiatives: Migrate to the cloud, Improve cybersecurity posture, Minimize content filtering false positives, Customize content filtering workaround for Chromebooks

Outcomes: Minimized false positives, Reduced workload for small IT team, Centralized network management from a single pane of glass

Solutions: Infoblox BloxOne Threat Defense Advanced

The Customer

Morgan County School District is a public district located in Morgan, Utah. The PreK-12 district provides free, public education and services to 3,103 students across five schools. The Morgan County School District community stands united in the pursuit of educational excellence and the attainment of its mission: to create a challenging learning environment that provides for growth and emphasizes literacy and numeracy.

Ven Savage has spent over fifteen years specializing in networking practices, DNS and DNS Security. He has extensive experience in training, network design and troubleshooting, including over fifteen years of working closely with Infoblox in an education and training capacity. In 2012, he began helping the Morgan School District improve IT and cybersecurity across its entire network.

The Challenge

The customer has several long-term initiatives to improve and streamline cybersecurity and content filtering. The customer sought to migrate its IT infrastructure to the cloud and enhance its overall cybersecurity posture district wide.

The customer also needed to simplify processes and reduce workload for its small IT team. Finally, the customer wanted to quickly implement a more robust and reliable solution that would eliminate false positives and keep students and users safe online, even as they learn from home under the COVID-19 quarantine.

A Cloud-Based Approach to Content Filtering

The customer looked to migrate its IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud while also maintaining some local control over services, such as DNS Firewall, to implement better content filtering and eliminate false positives. The customer already had Infoblox’s core DDI and cloud-based cybersecurity solutions in place before implementing Infoblox’s BloxOne Threat Defense.

The customer strongly understands that content filtering is essential to any IT strategy in the Education sector. It protects students, faculty and staff from accessing inappropriate or harmful content online, and it keeps their highly sensitive data safe. Filtering is especially important in a school environment because it can help protect children from cyber-bullying, pornography, gambling websites, and more.

Savage explains, “Filtering products for schools typically aren’t great, and the ones we’ve had in place aren’t enough for our schools. We spent so much time dealing with so many false positives. I set up our filtering to happen at the DNS level, which is different from other solutions. It’s more effective and successful at eliminating false positives. We used to have false positives 8-10 times per day. Now, after making a few minor tweaks, my team has dealt with only one false positive in six months since we implemented Infoblox’s BloxOne Threat Defense Advanced. We had that one fixed in about 5 minutes.”

Simplifying IT Processes and Reducing Workload

The district has also successfully simplified its IT processes and reduced workload for its small IT team. Being able to manage all their applications and services through a single pane of glass helps the team focus on priority tasks and improve the user experience. For example, the customer’s IT team is able to keep the district’s large network up and running and can scale and pivot to protect users anywhere. With Infoblox’s cloud-based solution, the customer is also able to get rid of multiple other security devices and tools, simplifying everything to one solution: our existing Core DDI solution.

Savage continues, “I want to see things work and stay working. The more IT teams can make tasks invisible to the end user, especially in a K-12 environment, the better the solution implementation will be received by users and by everyone. The beauty of Infoblox is that it simplifies my team’s entire setup. I can manage everything from a single pane of glass and better protect our students, faculty and staff – and my own family – now working at home.”

Looking to the Future of Distance Learning

Schools around the globe are finding different ways to overcome barriers to online learning and teach students remotely. In Utah, school districts have a great amount of decision-making authority over how their schools operate, though they are overseen by the Utah State Board of Education (USBE).Therefore, the customer is able to take a unique approach to distance learning, district wide.

The customer currently has all students learning from home under the COVID-19 quarantine . Savage explains, “Coronavirus forced us to issue take home devices, which we don’t typically do. Once our schools were shut down, we immediately began issuing Chromebooks to families. We went from issuing zero take home devices to issuing 750 devices in just three days. Content filtering has remained our primary challenge. Data Privacy laws require school devices filtered the exact same way no matter where students are using them.”

The customer’s IT team is also communicating with other school districts and urging them to implement cloud-based filtering tools. Savage is leading the charge to take cybersecurity in Utah’s education sector beyond threat removal to the next level of threat protection.

For More Information

Learn more about how you can proactively detect malware and protect your users and data via DNS. Speak with an Infoblox representative or start your free trial of our BloxOne Threat Defense technology today. Join the conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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