Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)

In a world where mobile and IP-enabled devices have infiltrated almost every aspect of our working lives, universities – like all organizations – are under pressure to secure access to their campus networks. While addressing these issues, the IT team at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), needs to support efficiency, ease-of-use and productivity for their users across the board. 

Highlights

Network Profile:

  • A wired network supporting 5,500 concurrent users and a wireless network supporting 4,500 concurrent users

Challenges:

  • Save time and automate network security compliance for devices accessing the network
  • Find a proven solution that was scalable and flexible
  • Manage the proliferation of BYOD

Results:

  • Automated access control and protection against rogue clients and malware
  • Complete visibility of all devices and users accessing the network
  • End users can log on without IT assistance and self-remediate non-compliant devices, saving time and improving productivity for both users and IT staff

Case Study

At LJMU, Bradford Network’s Network Sentry Network Access Control (NAC) solution ensures that IP-enabled devices accessing the University’s campus network are secure and compliant with existing security policies, in a much more efficient and automated way.

Prior to implementing its Network Sentry NAC solution, LJMU secured access to its wired network in a cumbersome, time-consuming way. Since students would sometimes disconnect the University’s known clients to connect their own devices, the IT team had to register the MAC addresses of authorized devices manually in order to limit access to these devices. However, this system was not scalable and had limited tracking and management capabilities. As student- and University-owned devices proliferated, the problem grew, and the existing solution became untenable.

The IT team identified the need for a more efficient and scalable method of securely managing the number and variety of IP-enabled devices connecting to its network. It needed a solution that could provide complete visibility into the type and security profile of devices accessing the network, as well as offer automated self-remediation to users.

One key reason that LJMU selected Bradford Networks was vendor-independence. Network Sentry can support network equipment from any vendor, so University is free to implement network solutions of its choice while taking advantage of comprehensive visibility and automated access control.

Automation, Security, Efficiency and Productivity Gains

LJMU implemented Network Sentry to provide visibility and control for clients connecting to its network.

Network Sentry provides LJMU with comprehensive capabilities:

  • Registers and authenticates all users and their devices, monitors their activity and network usage
  • Allows only known devices to access the network and ensures that these devices comply with security policies. Devices are scanned to validate compliance before being allowed on the network. Those at risk are quarantined, while enabling users to remediate compliance issues without having to engage IT staff.
  • Correlates security data from various systems with information on endpoint devices, users, the location of network connections, time of day, and other factors to automatically enforce security policies and enhance overall security of the network.

”Now we can check compliance not only at time of connection, but also continually,” said John Cannon, Network Manager, LJMU. “Network Sentry helps us focus on devices needing the most attention. At any given time, we have typically 20 devices quarantined by the solution, which can then be investigated.”

Another benefit is that staff and students accessing the network can take ownership of their devices’ security. If a device doesn’t comply with the University’s security policy, users can self-remediate the problem immediately. This easy, automated process provides huge time savings for the IT team, freeing them to be more productive else-where.

LJMU is also using Network Sentry to monitor the security and integrity of other devices accessing its network. These include emergency systems, point-of-sale systems, building management systems (air-conditioning, heating and fire systems), card access systems and audio-visual systems. Network Sentry controls which VLAN these sys-tems can access and ensures they are secure.