Stanford University's School of Education deploys new security modules from Juniper Networks to tighten security and boost network performance.

Martin Garvey, Contributor

August 12, 2005

2 Min Read

As students prepare to return to school, IT departments at colleges and universities across the country are preparing for a new wave of worms, viruses, and other security problems that will hit their networks the minute students plug in their computers. Stanford University is deploying new security technology and tactics to protect its systems from internal threats and external ones, such as hackers trying to steal student or faculty identities.

"We're more proactive about security than we were in previous years," says Paul Kim, chief technology officer at Stanford University's School of Education. "We don't want to be on the news about successful hacker attacks." Kim says Stanford's Open Education Environment, with students coming in from a around the world, presents a challenge for his network administrators. "It's hard to tell the students what to do and what not to do" when it comes to security, he says.

Stanford is using several tactics to mix openness, flexibility, and security. His administrators run a separate network for all speakers, guests, and other outsiders who want to access the Web. That approach gives outsiders access to the Internet, but prevents them from gaining access to university files. On the university's main network, the IT department records all attempts at access. It also has firewalls from Juniper Networks deployed on the perimeter. Kim next week will add new security port modules from Juniper. The 8G2 and 2XGE Secure Port Modules plug into the university's NetScreen Series 5000 Firewall/VPN systems from Juniper. They're designed to boost performance to 30 Gbps on the firewall appliance and to 15 Gbps on the VPN.

The performance boost should help handle bandwidth-hungry applications like voice over IP, video streaming, and data replication. Two embedded processors automatically offload and process CPU-intensive work like transferring large media or data files across the network. The modules can also process some types of encrypted data without causing network performance to take a hit. The 8G2 module provides eight Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and 2XGE module provides two 10-Gigabit Ethernet interfaces.

The School of Education videotapes elementary-school students in class so Stanford students working toward an education degree can watch the teaching process. And the university uses video streaming and videoconferencing in a number of other areas, so improving performance on the network is a priority. Says Kim, "We look forward to more bandwidth and throughput as students are more digitized, sharing information globally over the Web."

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