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News

Halesowen College network security using Sourcefire 3D

Sourcefire : 30 March, 2009  (Application Story)
UK college saves man hours by moving from open source to supported Sourcefire 3D solution for network management and security
Open source innovator and Snort creator, Sourcefire has announced that Halesowen College, a further education establishment based in the West Midlands, has chosen the market leading Sourcefire 3D System, with Sourcefire RNA (Real-time Network Awareness), to monitor and protect its Local Area Network (LAN). Using Sourcefire has greatly improved efficiency for Halesowen, which has been able to save 15 man-hours a week in monitoring.

Halesowen has around 1,700 personal computers across three campus', which are supported by a variety of networks, and managed internally. In a typical year, Halesowen has around 4,000 full-time students, as well as 4,000 part-time students. Following an increase in service requirements, the college decided it needed a more commercial solution to replace its open source Snort system, so that it could: reduce the pressure on the IT team, demonstrate it is following best practices, and increase its ability to react to security threats.

Will Davidson, Technical Resources Director for Halesowen, comments:
"We found Snort could spot threats very well, but we were being overloaded with information and it was hard to see the wood for the trees. Sourcefire's threat analysis and RNA functions really stood out because they correlate context and data so that you are only alerted to threats that you need to act upon. We considered TippingPoint and Cisco, but the Sourcefire solution ticked all our boxes and came in within budget, so it was an easy choice."

Halesowen has installed two Sourcefire 3D sensors across its three sites, one to monitor the college's Internet connection and the other one for its wireless networks. This gives the college all the network defence capabilities of its previous Snort system, along with more in-depth network and security information, by combining a number of security technologies to provide complete visibility of all network traffic. Additionally, it has deployed Sourcefire RNA to gather network intelligence, with all information feeding into the central Defence Centre. Davidson continues:

"The impact flagging and alerts are fantastic. They're very quick to come through, we get all the information in real-time, and it gives you added confidence that the product is doing its job. RNA provides an even finer level of control so that we get far less false positives, which is excellent. As a result we have made huge efficiency gains, with RNA giving our team back 15 hours a week. Additionally the read out and logs provide us with an audit trail that demonstrates we are following best practices. I'd happily recommend Sourcefire. We now have total confidence that our systems are secure and important resources aren't being wasted. It's made a huge difference."

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