Customer Spotlight: Solving BYOD For This Private School Didn’t Require Magic, Just a Fresh Approach

Rae Harrison


On this Thanksgiving day here in the United States, we wanted to highlight an atypical school that needed — and found — an atypical security solution.

If you’re a fan of the Harry Potter series, Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, Washington, might make you think of Hogwarts: school dances in the ‘Great Hall,’ a competition for the ‘House Cup,’ and a picturesque campus with a weeping willow tree, a tower and occasionally a wild owl sighting or two. The original Annie Wright School opened its doors in 1884, and today hosts 400 local students, with about 100 boarding students from all over the world living in its dormitories.

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The school estimates that at any given time, there are between 800 and 1,200 devices on its network consuming 50-70 Mbps of Internet usage, with three-fourths of a terabyte needed via wireless every 24 hours. As Bob Williamson, Network Administrator describes it, “Everyone has a laptop, Xbox, Wii, smartphone or some other device in class or in their dorm room. Our foreign students often use Skype to talk to family back home. They also access a lot of unfamiliar URLs and use a lot of special apps and tools most IT people have probably never heard of.”

Annie Wright Schools’ situation is similar to that faced by many educational institutions grappling with BYOD and a crush of devices in use, but that can no longer rely on legacy security solutions to meet needs for application filtering, QoS and bandwidth management.

I invite you to read on for a look at how Annie Wright Schools gained network visibility to control and prioritize application access and solve other challenges using the Palo Alto Networks Enterprise Security Platform.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating!

 

Customer Spotlight is our regular look at how various customers are using the Palo Alto Networks approach to enterprise security to solve their infrastructure challenges. Read more customer storiesĀ here.

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