Securing students access to a school network

This Case Study highlights how state schools across Luxembourg utilized UserLock® to provide the necessary access control, restrictions and monitoring to help secure students access to a school network and the resources contained within.

securing students access to a school network

Key Findings

  • For schools using Windows infrastructure, no native features are available to limit connections and report effectively on historic connections. It is therefore necessary to turn to a third party solution. UserLock is the only software that has this necessary functionality.
  • The most anticipated feature of UserLock from the schools has been the limitation of simultaneous connections. For the most part this is fixed to one single connection per student and helps ensure access to schools resources are only to the users deemed to be authorized.
  • Attributing all activities to a single user makes students more responsible for their network behavior. It motivates them to stop sharing their unique identification as it impacts their own ability to access the network.
  • Further access controls, restrictions and reporting makes the task of monitoring network activities far easier and more effective with UserLock. For example a common request is to know “who has used any computer and when” – a search that is now very easily accomplished with UserLock installed on the network.

Download NOW a fully functional Free Trial of UserLock. 30-day full version with no user limits

By sharing their unique identification students unwittingly prevent the proper monitoring of network activities.

Luxembourg’s ‘Centre de gestion informatique de l’éducation‘ (CGIE) / Centre for the Management of Information Systems is part of the Ministry for Education, Children and Youth. It is responsible for the e-governance administrative services of national education – and all administrations, services, schools or institutions which are under the authority of the Ministry.

The main role of the CGIE is to optimize IT resources and procedures to ensure the most effective management of information systems within state education. Among other responsibilities, the Center is in charge of the security of all computer and information networks for the national education system and its schools.

It’s for this reason that officials from the Center reacted upon finding that account and password sharing was becoming increasingly common between students. By sharing their unique identification students were unwittingly preventing the correct and proper monitoring of network activities and placing the security of the school network at risk.

User accounts for access to the network are assigned to each student on a personal basis and considered as confidential information. A student’s login and password act as an ‘identity card’ to access the network and the resources within. The disclosure of individual accounts whether to fellow students or even people outside of the organization is a significant risk to security.

Read more here on how the PRISM fiasco highlights the dangers of password sharing.

When students connect from accounts that are not their own, it becomes impossible to know who was connected from which machine and when. This prevents all accountability and trace-ability in the event of any problems or malicious actions – jeopardizing the ability to deal with any violations that occur and thus harming the reputation of a school.

It was therefore necessary for CGIE to find a way to stop these unwanted shares to reduce the risk of security breaches and allow schools to have the visibility into what specific users were doing on the network.

With UserLock, all schools managed by CGIE can prevent simultaneous connections to the network.

Schools who work with Novell products (NetWare / OES-lx / ZenWorks) do not encounter this problem because these operating systems – and eDir – include a feature to limit connections and report on historic activities. For schools using Windows Infrastructure, this type of functionality does not exist natively, and it is therefore necessary to turn to a third party solution.

Already known by some technicians at the schools, and being the only software that has the functionality required, the first choice was focused on trialing UserLock, published by IS Decisions. After a period of testing, in which the software responded perfectly to the needs, it was decided to introduce UserLock throughout all schools managed by the CGIE.

With over 5,000 stations to manage across all schools, it was essential that the selected software was easy to install as it is to use. UserLock perfectly meets this need with an effective deployment that is fast, easy and enjoyable – needing only minimal management.

 

Securing students access to a school network

UserLock provides the necessary access control, restrictions, monitoring and recording to help secure access to the schools resources and offer effective administration of students’ network activity.

We found in schools that pupils were increasingly using their friends’ accounts instead of using their own personal user IDs and password. To remedy this situation, we wanted to provide the schools with an effective tool that could track what any specific users were doing in case of any problem. UserLock is the product that meets this need perfectly. Much like an Antivirus product, it is good to know that when installed it can be trusted to do its job properly and does not require too much intervention.” Daniel Weiler, Director of CGIE 

The most used feature of UserLock with CGIE has been the limitation of simultaneous connections. For the most part this is fixed to one single connection per student and helps ensure inappropriate access is no longer a possibility.

Attributing all activities to a single user makes students more responsible for their network behavior and motivates them to stop sharing their unique identification as it impacts their own ability to access the network.

Further access controls, restrictions and reporting also make the task of network administrators far easier and more efficient with UserLock. For example a common request is to know “who has used any computer and when” – a search that is now very easily accomplished with UserLock installed on the network.

In conclusion, UserLock makes the monitoring of network activities much easier for school administrators and helps ensure access to schools resources are only to the users deemed to be authorized.

Download NOW a fully functional Free Trial of UserLock. 30-day full version with no user limits

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Chris is Community Manager of IS Decisions. IS Decisions software offers organizations proven and effective solutions to help protect a Windows Network against Insider Threats.

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