How To Maximize Protection and Access, On Campus Or Off

Colleges and universities are increasingly dependent on cloud- based apps and mobile connectivity. Meanwhile, cyberthreats are on the rise, and compliance and security requirements are more stringent than ever. Universities must embrace a boundless network security approach. This brief examines critical network security needs for today’s universities and explores best practices for selecting an effective next-generation firewall platform.

  • Published: 12-04-2022

  • Related Category: Security Operations

  • Type of Content: White Papers

  • Owner: Sonicwall


Distance learning, teleworking and cloud-based curricula have opened college and university networks to more cloud-based apps and connected mobile devices. IT departments are under increasing pressure to secure their data from continually evolving, evasive network attacks at faster speeds. The exponential rise in the number of connected endpoints, including IoT devices, has created more threat vectors for cybercriminals to launch advanced attacks such as zero-days and ransomware, many of which execute within memory.

In addition, universities require both academic and business continuity to ensure the flow of information and the services they provide across their network. To meet today’s demands, university IT directors need a highly reliable next-generation firewall that not only can scale to support a massive number of devices and encrypted connections simultaneously, but also scan them for threats without compromising performance.

While risk escalates, more demand is placed upon constrained resources. Utilizing a cost-effective and easily manageable next-generation firewall that can handle the available bandwidth and support multiple networks and clouds has proven elusive. Cost becomes prohibitive, and the shortage of trained personnel becomes more acute.

Universities need to shift from conventional security models to a boundless network security approach that embraces mobility and the cloud. Network security today needs to be always on, always learning, and always ahead of emerging threats

Network complexity

University networks support diverse user groups, from students and professors to researchers and administrators. Each might require access to unique subnetworks or cloud environments. Security must operate across several segmented networks, clouds, or service definitions, each of them with unique templates and device groups, often with different policies.

Moreover, such network diversity can include an inherent legacy of multi-vendor network security solutions. IT administrators do not want to manage separate firewalls for each of these networks or service definitions. Furthermore, they often need to service multiple user groups who each require unique configurations and, in some cases, must supply a clean pipe to them.

With numerous security devices covering various networks, managing access and security policies can become complicated and burdensome. Complexity can often create difficulties with security monitoring, access control, regulatory compliance and rapid mitigation. Inefficient management creates security bottlenecks and decreases business agility. This also contributes to greater operational overhead costs.

Best practices suggest that an effective firewall must integrate security services that can protect SaaS resources and cloud- based resources, as well as secure mobile and IoT endpoints. A unified policy interface is necessary to enable universities to simply and intuitively create access and security policies globally across a diverse distributed network. Features designed to simplify deployment and setup while easing management can further help universities to lower their total cost of ownership and realize a higher return on their security investment.

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