Another reason Walton County Public Schools chose the tool was to facilitate a rollout of iPads to high school students. “One of the top benefits Dell SonicWALL gives us is the ability to support 4,000 iPads that we've provided to students,” Graves says. “Whenever they go home, we have the iPads set up to go through the Dell SonicWALL in order to access the internet, so they're still getting their content filtering and the assurance of reliable, fast internet access.”
In rolling out the iPad program, a key challenge was domain authentication. “The iPad doesn't log onto the domain because it is an Apple device,” explains Graves. “And we needed a way to know who that kid was on the iPad. The engineers helped us create a radius server process for user authentication.” This allows students to safely and securely use their iPads wherever they are located.
The IT team also uses the firewall's AppFlow Monitor feature to see which sites students connect to on the internet.
Because the IT department rolled out a large number of devices at once, it also needed a firewall that could accommodate a large number of SSL connections. The solution, Graves says, will easily support the district's 5,000 devices connecting to it and surfing the internet at the same time. “It doesn't even break a sweat.”
The reality of working in a school district means Graves doesn't have a lot of money or staff, so he and his team have to wear a lot of hats. “I can now focus on other things so that my job isn't just internet and firewall. If I need to make a change, I jump on it, it's done and then I move on to something else."
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