Newton Public School District Gives ContentWatch Solution an A+ in Support, Features and Usability

Newton Public School District, Kansas

Profile

Educational excellence and consistent strides in technological advancement make Newton Public School District (NPSD) head of the class when it comes to K-12 education. Located in Newton, Kansas, NPSD serves over 3,600 students and over 1,500 staff members at 10 education sites, including an early education center and an alternative high school and adult learning center. The school district is renowned for its strong academics, with students consistently scoring above state and national averages on the ACT college entrance exam, in the subject areas of Math and English, and in state and national competitions in automotive repair, welding, entrepreneurship and robotics. In addition, the Kansas Department of Education has recognized the NPSD award winning teachers as being “highly qualified”, with over half of them having a Master’s degree or above.

In order to maintain and further its renowned academic reputation, NPSD has to not only keep up with technological demands, but also ensure that it remains ahead of the pack by only utilizing best-of-breed products.

Challenge

The biggest issues Steve Rankin, NPSD’s head network administrator, found with the old solutions were the lack of granular control, bandwidth management and customer support.

Like many school districts battling with budget constrictions and sudden technology growth, NPSD had over time patched together a mixture of products, including a content server that didn’t scan or screen viruses, a one-size-fits-all bandwidth solution and an open source proxy server. Because all of the products were made by different companies, Steve and the other technicians found themselves wasting huge chunks of their time and energy scurrying from one product to another in order to fight fires, update them and generally keep pace with school network demands.

In addition, after the installation of a new video learning lab and many schools within the district creating websites for their newspapers and yearbooks, bandwidth consumption swelled from a 45 meg connection to the need for a 100 meg connection a month. NPSD also moved school records management to the web server and teacher professional development learning plans were increasingly becoming web-based and media-streaming heavy.

“We were evolving rapidly, and needed to ensure business continuity,” says Rankin. “I was very unsatisfied with the level of support I was getting from the different product companies. The proxy was open-source, so naturally I didn’t have any support there. But the content server and bandwidth solution providers were either downsizing or merging at the time and you could tell they were experiencing growing pains because there was very little to no support. ‘We’ll call you back in an hour’ usually turned into several days.”

Finally, because they were using different products from different providers, Steve and his team had to contend with multiple duplicate services, and useless features that they never used. “It took a lot of experimentation to get products to work effectively with one another,” says Rankin.

With contracts with the existing suppliers coming to an end, and the internet connection contract up for renewal, Steve began his search for an appliance that would be the single point of management but also effectively manage bandwidth consumption.

Solution

“My biggest need was to remove the plethora of appliances that we had crowding our space and bogging our time,” says Rankin. “I didn’t want to go through the same issues again, so I really did my due diligence in seeking a better solution.”

With the ContentWatch ContentProtect Security Appliance (CP Security Appliance), Rankin did not have to choose between high performance and value. ContentProtect has combined the function of multiple devices-content filtering, bandwidth & application shaping, IM management, and anti-virus/anti-spyware-into one affordable plug-and-play box.

The CP Security Appliance is an Internet Management Device that optimizes WAN functionality by delivering unified threat management, maximizing network and application performance even with very limited resources, and eliminating the latency and complexity caused by implementing multiple single-purpose appliances. Its scalable and high-performing nature makes it ideal for education institutions that must battle with growing bandwidth usage, diverse user networks, internet security from spyware and viruses, and student and staff protection.

The CP Security Appliance is also unique in that it has been built to address customer-requested specific needs and is continuously updated according to requests. Rankin appreciated this customer support factor and the features offered by the CP Security Appliance, including:

  • Active Directory Sync - Full synchronization between the AD server and the CP Security Appliance makes it easy to manage policies, saving technicians time and improving policy adherence.
  • Filter Avoidance Security - The included filter bypasses technologies including enhanced logic for URL handling, automatic categorization and frequent proxy definition updates.
  • Peer-to-Peer detection — Discovers P2P and other threats and blocks them forever.
  • Quality of Service Reporting - Generates granular reports on specific users.

“I examined many, many products, but they were either too pricey or had open source DMS. It came down to four products, and ContentWatch’s solution beat them all when it came to features,” says Rankin.

Result

“When I began my search for another solution, my biggest concern was in finding a better product. It was just fortunate for me that the CP Security Appliance has also helped save me loads of time and the company has provided me with incredible support,” says Rankin.

Today, the CP Security Appliance has integrated very well with NPSD’s network, never interfering with Internet usage, which has ensured stability and performance without compromising other server functions.

“I don’t know how schools survive without managing their bandwidth,” says Rankin. “Many products claim to manage bandwidth but all they’re doing is controlling website access. Bandwidth management is paramount to any organization. Thanks to the CP Security Appliance, we have been able to securely manage bandwidth, giving us more Internet capability, saving us on costs and alleviating my team and me of so much frustration and wasted time.”


About Newton Public School District

Newton Public School District (NPSD) is located in Newton, Kansas and is comprised of Newton, North Newton, Walton and surrounding rural area communities. NPSD serves a diverse student population of more than 3,600 students and over 1,500 staff members at 10 educational sites ranging from a comprehensive early education center to an alternative high school and adult learning center.

For more information, visit: http://www.newton.k12.ks.us.

About ContentWatch, Inc.

Based in Salt Lake City, ContentWatch delivers Internet security solutions for the consumer and business markets. ContentWatch intends to lead the global industry with Internet management tools and services that employ its patent-pending contextual analysis engine to provide a safer, more productive Internet experience. ContentWatch delivers Internet Management solutions in more than 157 countries, and is the Reviewer's Choice for Government Computer News and Editors' Choice for PCMag.

For more information visit www.contentwatch.com or follow www.twitter.com/netnanny on Twitter.