Posted on 9/19/2012 8:35 AM By Brandon Gary
A construction project can be an exciting and stressful time for a Technology Department. The key to these projects is to be involved in the entire process from start to finish. Architectural drawings are created well in advance of breaking ground. The drawing should be meticulously reviewed to identify any discrepancies that may arise. These issues can easily be fixed before the project starts but once a contractor starts work per their contract, it can be difficult to change.
One of the great benefits of a construction project is when technology can be designed from the ground up. Often times existing technology is inherited and the design of a server room or network closet was not well thought out. This is the perfect opportunity to customize the area and install any wiring up to code. Having this new technology well documented and organized will provide greater reliability of systems in the long run.
Renovation projects, as opposed to new construction, offer new technology challenges. Offices and classrooms are often temporarily relocated while the project is ongoing. This poses a problem when power and network lines are not readily available in these areas. Enterasys wireless networks have proven to be a reliable means of connecting both mobile and non-mobile networked devices. Most of their wireless access points support a bridging feature which allows for a wired network to be installed in construction or classroom trailers without expensive fiber optic cable being installed. This is a quick and easy way to provide network access in an area which was not designed for such access.
Construction projects are a great opportunity to be a part of. When communication with all parties involved happens consistently, the project will continue and complete smoothly while meeting expectations.
Posted on 4/11/2012 9:00 AM By Brandon Gary
Sonicwall’s Network Security Appliance allows for granular content filtering in an educational environment. Having a “one size fits all” filtering policy is a thing of the past. Many districts have the capability to set multiple policies with their existing Sonicwall infrastructure simply by upgrading firmware and reconfiguring. This allows for varying policies to be applied to end users, depending on who is logged on to a computer.
This is a great feature in education as there can be great resources available to a teacher on a website that may also contain content not appropriate for students. With multiple content filtering policies you are able to apply a less restrictive policy to the teacher and a more restrictive policy to the student depending on their membership of a group. Now the teacher has the capability to show a youtube.com video on history to the class without giving students access to the same site.
These end user accounts are authenticated via LDAP using a Sonicwall SSO agent. It is recommended that you run at least two agents, possibly more depending on the number of users in your environment. These can be installed on physical or virtual server which does not have to be dedicated to run this agent. These agents then probe for user information using NetAPI and DC security logs which is cross-referenced with the filtering groups that have been created for this configuration. There are multiple options for authenticating these users but I have found this setup to work best in most environments.
You can also apply a policy to a tablet or non-domain laptop using the device’s IP address. However this can become time consuming if more than a dozen devices are on your network. In this scenario you can apply policy based on an IP range. If the wireless infrastructure supports it, you could have a public network that gets a default, more restrictive policy applied. Then also have an approved guest network that applies a less restrictive policy. These two broadcasts could then be given specific IP ranges which are referenced by the Sonicwall to apply the appropriate policy.
Director of Technology