Network Security for K-12 School District Simplified with Powerful Firewall, Failover Capabilities


The Goffstown School District in New Hampshire supports nearly 4,000 students and staff. And one person oversees it all.

Running the IT department for an entire K-12 school district sounds like a challenge that few would take, but Goffstown School District IT director Gary Girolimon makes it look easy. Clearly, this is the result of years of experience and having sound networking tools available.

If the number of users doesn’t bother you, consider that all seven Goffstown School District buildings are part of a high-speed 10 Gbs dark fiber wide-area network (WAN). At any given part of the day, students can be downloading massive amounts of dangerous files, or stumbling upon harmful content that violates compliance regulations.

So, how do they handle that level of network complexity?

Girolimon, pictured, deployed a SonicWall SuperMassive 9200 high-end firewall at the perimeter of his network. On it, he runs the SonicWall Comprehensive Gateway Security Suite, including content filtering to support CIPA compliance, which helps him manage the bandwidth to demanding applications and block harmful sites. The district also uses SonicWall Analyzer for real-time web traffic reporting.

“SonicWall gives us an integrated, cost-effective solution for our organization’s security needs,” said Girolimon. “It’s easy to administer, with a flexible UI, and the solution is super reliable. We have had no downtime attributable to our SonicWall firewall.”

Prior to deploying the SuperMassive at the edge, Girolimon deployed smaller SonicWall firewalls, ranging from NSA 2400s to 3600s, at each distributed building location. Those firewalls now provide failover service in case a dark fiber link to the network hub goes down, thereby extending their life and usefulness.

“SonicWall gives us an integrated, cost-effective solution for our organization’s security needs. It’s easy to administer, with a flexible UI, and the solution is super reliable.”

Gary Girolimon
IT Director
Goffstown School District

This flexibility and performance have allowed Girolimon to create a DMZ and bring servers in-house for better local access and to provide specific employees remote access to network assets — all with the confidence they are secure and protected.

By maintaining a single, primary firewall appliance with a failover firewall available as needed, Girolimon greatly simplified administration of firewall rules, app policies and VPN permissions. Integrated content filtering and VPN has simplified CIPA compliance.

Cost-Effective Network Security for K-12 School Districts

Today, more than 3,000 districts and schools rely on SonicWall to deliver secure remote and network access with school firewalls that enable educational institutions to realize the promise of technologically-savvy learning environments, in the classroom or while students are mobile.

SonicWall Staff