AUSTIN -- Bullard Independent School District in Bullard, Texas instructs 1,650 students in five elementary and secondary schools. Like all K-12 environments, Bullard is concerned with managing Internet usage by both students and faculty and with viruses, spyware and other security threats. During peak usage, Bullard's T-1 line was operating at 100% of capacity-forcing the District to face spending scarce resources on additional bandwidth. The growth in bandwidth usage was driven by the increased adoption of graphics and other data-intensive applications in students' Internet-based projects. Over the years, Technology Director Lee Sleeper had installed four enterprise-level Internet filtering systems and an expensive bandwidth monitoring device to try to manage the district's ever-growing Internet needs.
In March 2006, Sleeper installed Lightspeed System's Total Traffic Control v6.0 (TTC) unified threat management software. He was attracted to TTC's Windows platform and deployment in various-sized K-12 school districts throughout the US.
Using TTC's extensive reporting and detailed protocol and port monitoring, Sleeper identified significant non-educational Internet usage. He shared the reports with district principals, who in turn held a series of meetings with school staff to discuss district Internet use policies. Sleeper then held meetings with students to discuss the reports and the "acceptable use policy" students and their parents sign with the district.
Student Internet traffic is particularly important. In addition to the bandwidth it uses, this traffic is governed by myriad regulations.
School administrators must demonstrate compliance with the Childrens' Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and other laws to obtain federal subsides under the eRate and other educational technology funding programs.
Sleeper was also concerned about the security of Bullard's data. TTC's reports enabled him to drill down to specific ports and usage times.
Sleeper discovered elevated network traffic activity from midnight through six AM--the telltale sign of the presence and activity of spyware, adware and other malware on PCs. TTC's reports equipped Sleeper to remove malware from all Bullard's computers.
Lightspeed Systems Total Traffic Control v6.0's traffic control and prioritization functionality cut Bullard's network traffic by 30%. The software saved the district the expense of upgrading its network to increase bandwidth. TTC also identified spyware and other malware that posed a security threat to Bullard's data and, if left unchecked, would have impaired user productivity. Finally, district administrators gained clear, easy-to-read reports for regulatory and related purposes.