Web security optimises network performance

Melbourne School Wesley College is enjoying a new web security appliance.

Wesley College Melbourne has deployed a web security appliance to cope with increasing volumes of staff and student web-browsing. The college has more than 3000 students and 1200 teaching and other staff accommodated across three Melbourne campuses.

Previously the college used an outsourced solution to limit the amount of data the staff and students were allowed to download each month. The appliances comprising the solution were on-site but were managed remotely by a service provider.

Russell Graham, the college’s network services manager, explains: “As demand for browsing increased and download requirements became larger, we were obliged to drop the download limits, but this, unsurprisingly, encouraged even more usage and slowed things down to an unacceptable level.”

The college’s existing service provider proposed a multiple box solution to overcome these download limit problems, but the college wasn’t happy with the power that solution would draw.

Graham explains: “This meant additional on-site hardware requiring a larger footprint and higher energy consumption. The cost of power was included in our evaluation and we decided one appliance would not only be less costly to run, but it would reduce our environmental impact. Being green is important to Wesley College.”

Options were considered and the college eventually chose an IronPort Web Security Appliance. The appliance protects the network perimeter against spyware and web-based threats. It features deep application content inspection, a Layer 4 traffic monitor, reputation filters and multiple malware signature sets.

The college was able to evaluate the appliance within its own infrastructure before committing to it.

“This meant we were able to prove the solution in a real life environment and that’s far more persuasive than reading about throughput performance claims in a glossy brochure,” says Graham.

Graham tested the appliance’s performance by comparing it against a third party service while users were accessing what he calls “the slowest of the slow websites: the online newspapers, with all that embedded advertising”.

He says: “IronPort was significantly faster and its solution is also able to block unwanted advertisements when browsing, and that’s another benefit.”

According to Graham, there have not been any complaints about internet performance since switching to the new appliance.

Graham says: “It has simply solved our problem; slow browsing is a thing of the past. With bottlenecks eliminated, people are motivated to make more use of the system and the amount of content we are now pulling down is just unbelievable. When you have multiple students all downloading large video files the system is able to handle it; that’s great news.”

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