Ballarat Clarendon College is an independent, co-educational, day and boarding school, located in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. Formerly affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of Australia, it is now a school of the Uniting Church and a member of the Ballarat Associated Schools. The school currently has 1200 students from the ELC (Early Learning Centre) to Year 12.
“We always had the desire to understand fully at a deep packet level what was going through our network. We have most of the basic tools at hand we can piece together to draw the picture of what is going on within the network, but having an interface to view this in an easy fashion and tie it back to an application, website or user is challenging at the best of times.
The Sinefa controller provides a single place we can visit routinely to ensure our network is performing as expected and to identify any traffic that shows high levels of activity. We consistently identify areas we then pursue, which could be bandwidth hogging, overuse of the network, a device that is contacting a server that should not be
We can use it to monitor our incoming and outgoing traffic and drill down to a host level to identify what devices, hosts or applications require the most bandwidth or reasons why the traffic to a device is larger than expected. We can easily identify potential concerns we may have previously not known about.
We have also been able to identify where traffic is coming from at the host level and also identify the OS accessing our network either incoming or outgoing. This data is very interesting to capture and diagnose to understand who and what is accessing our information and why.
A very basic example was a Cisco phone had a second line added to it by a previous technician when they trialled an external SIP service. The IP address and service it was trying to connect to was no longer at the location as configured. The phone was consuming up to 1Gb of data each day simply trying to communicate with the outside world.
We have recently identified a student notebook was sending ‘spam’ emails. We were able to see large amounts of traffic coming from the IP address, which we could then pair back to a username and the direct packet traffic it was sending. We reacted quickly and found the notebook had a virus and was broadcasting out.
Extremely easy, we opted in to a 30 day in house trial where the device was shipped to our door with some very simple instructions. We plugged the device in and once it was alive we could see data to the second. We have never been able to witness such clarity and detail on our network at that packet level.
We have raised one feature we wanted, and within days we had a trial in place.
It was the easiest inline install we have performed. Obviously there is a very brief outage when you locate the probe in the middle of the cable.
The cost of the appliance with the monthly ongoing fee is very competitive to anything we have seen on the market. We have a lot of software tools at our disposal that cost a lot more and give us far less and require a lot of effort to download and compile logs and then pair several different systems together to give us an overall picture.
We have identified some applications and websites that are being used by students that we thought were being content filtered (denied access). It demonstrated one limitation of our security.
Commercial benefits have come in the form of time savings in identifying any service concerns or traffic concerns on our network. It has also given us the ability to compare what we think is happening to what is actually happening, to the second.”
- Adam Ryan ICT and Project Manager at Clarendon College -#Education