Every day our children, teachers and administrators log into the network at school. How can you ensure the data travelling across that network is secure from hidden threats and attacks such as ransomware? With SonicWall next-gen firewalls and DPI SSL inspection technology, IT administrators can find threats hidden in encrypted web traffic that cybercriminals don’t want you to discover across your K-12 network. This week at ISTE 2017, SonicWall will highlight its automated real-time breach prevention solution, how to leverage our SonicWall Security as-a-Service option, and showcase the advantages eRate offers for upgrading network security. Visit us in booth 2357 from June 26-28 at The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Your K-12 school district’s security solution needs to perform with x-ray vision by inspecting encrypted traffic to block and detect ransomware attacks with SonicWall Capture ATP. Over 25 years, SonicWall has been protecting school networks around the world. St. Dominic’s School for Girls is one that has been able to innovate more with SonicWall next-gen firewalls.

“SonicWall NGFW has lived up to its promises. We feel very well protected and have not experienced any security breaches or content filtering issues.” – Harry van der Burgt, IT Manager St Dominic’s School for Girls

Let’s take a look at securing your school’s network traffic.

Over time, HTTPS has replaced HTTP as the means to secure web traffic. Along the way there have been some inflection points that have spurred on this transition such as when Google announced it would enable HTTPS search for all logged-in users who visit google.com. More recently, Google began using HTTPS as a ranking signal. Other vendors including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have also made the switch. If you read articles on the use of Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption the latest numbers typically indicate that a little over 50% of all web traffic is now encrypted and that percentage is expected to continue growing. At SonicWall, data gathered by our Capture Threat Network shows the percentage to be a little higher, around 62%. We found that as web traffic grew throughout 2016, so did SSL/TLS encryption, from 5.3 trillion web connections in 2015 to 7.3 trillion in 2016. Like others, we also expect the use of HTTPS to increase.

Given the growing trend toward HTTPS and its use by hackers to steal information, it makes sense to have a security solution in place that can decrypt and scan SSL/TLS-encrypted traffic for threats. Not every school does, however, especially smaller ones. According to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Unified Threat Management (UTM) from August 2016, the research and advisory company estimates that “Less than 10% of SMB organizations decrypt HTTPS on their UTM firewall. This means that 90% of the SMB organizations relying on UTM for web security are blind to the more advanced threats that use HTTPS for transport.”

In his blog titled, “DPI-SSL: What Keeps You Up at Night?” my colleague Paul Leets states, “We must look into encrypted packets to mitigate those threats.” And he’s right. We need to be able to “see” into encrypted traffic in order to identify threats and eliminate them before they get into the network. And it needs to be done in real time. We call this automated breach prevention and it’s what our lineup of next-generation firewalls delivers. To learn more about automated breach prevention and how SonicWall next-generation firewalls decrypt SSL/TLS-encrypted traffic and scan for and eliminate threats without latency, visit the “Encrypted Threats” page on our website.

In addition to uncovering encrypted threats, K-12 schools are risk for ransomware attacks. To help protect school networks against the increasing dangers of advanced persistent threats (APTs), SonicWall Capture will be available to demo at ISTE 2017. This cloud-based sandboxing service – available on both firewalls and email security solutions – scans potentially malicious unknown files until a verdict can be reached. This solution is built on multi-layered sandboxing technologies that use both system emulation and virtualization techniques to detect more threats than competitors’ single engine solutions. Customers immediately benefit from fast response times, high security effectiveness and reduced total cost of ownership.

With the volume of cyber attacks increasing in intensity and sophistication, many of our education customers have taken advantage of SonicWall Security-as-a-Service. Our expertly trained partners deliver SonicWall next-gen firewalls to you, so your school network can benefit from the following:

  • Outsourced network security to an experienced security provider
  • Have your Security as-a-Service solution expertly configured by SonicWall-certified engineers
  • Predictable monthly service fee with no upfront costs
  • Next-gen firewall, gateway anti-malware, intrusion prevention, content filtering and Capture.

SonicWall solutions for education deliver real-time breach prevention along with secure remote access that enables your school district to realize and promise of technologically advanced learning environments. Join the team onsite at the booth 2357 including our partner, Securematics. Do more and Fear Less.

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Scott Grebe
Senior Product Marketing Manager - Network Security | SonicWall
Scott Grebe has over 20 years of product marketing and product management experience working for high tech companies including SonicWall, Apple Computer and SGI. In his current role, Mr. Grebe is a senior product marketing manager for security products at SonicWall. Mr. Grebe holds an M.S. in Communications (television/radio/film) from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

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