Canadian University takes IT security back to school

Ryerson University, a Toronto, Ontario-based university, has completed a wide ranging IT security infrastructure upgrade centering on deployment of over 40 enterprise security appliances to protect its IT network, which supports over 50,000 student, employee and alumni users.

The organization said the move was prompted by a fast growing threat from malicious traffic such as viruses, spyware and worms, and the need to secure a growing amount of multi-platform devices that have restricted and unrestricted access to its campus network, which includes gigabit speed internet connections.

In infrastructure terms, the roll out was complicated by the fact that Ryerson University had different security needs in different parts of its network, with various subnets for academic disciplines and departments such as administration, finance and human resources that required individual security policies.

The university evaluated equipment from security vendors including Alteon, Cisco, Juniper and Nortel, before choosing to purchase over 40 Fortinet FortiGate enterprise security appliances to protect its campus-wide and extended network.

Larry Lemieux, assistant director IT support for Ryerson University, said: "Combining security into the network gateway can add overhead resulting in performance issues. Fortinet's high-performance security appliances significantly alleviate this by providing gigabit speed throughput at the gateway, while still maintaining comprehensive protection without adversely affecting real-time applications such as VoIP."

To secure its University network, consisting of numerous multi-platform subnets for various departments, Ryerson University deployed an enterprise network security platform with Fortinet's ASIC-accelerated FortiGate enterprise security appliances.

FortiGate-3600 large enterprise security appliances are deployed in a cluster at the internet gateway through which all traffic is filtered and scanned for viruses, intrusions and other unwanted network traffic, using integrated firewall, antivirus and intrusion prevention technologies.

FortiGate-800 enterprise security appliances and FortiGate-300 mid-enterprise security appliances are deployed throughout the campus to protect different buildings and subnets for various academic and administrative departments. The subnets' security appliances are configured with individual and varied firewall policies and leverage integrated antivirus and intrusion prevention functionality. Ryerson University centrally manages these security appliances using Fortinet's FortiManager system.

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