South African University Implements Open and Secure Network for Tens of Thousands of Mobile Devices

Khipu Networks, provider of Cyber Security Solutions within the Education sector, and Bradford Networks, the best choice to enable secure network access for corporate issued and personal mobile devices, today announce that North-West University (NWU) in South Africa has implemented Bradford Networks’ Network Sentry Solution to secure and manage network access for their 20,000 student population.

NWU selected Network Sentry to automate registration and enforce security policy compliance on mobile devices connecting to their campus and residential networks (resnet).

To accommodate the growing use of mobile devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones, NWU embarked on a project to provide wireless access to educational resources across its three campuses, creating a distributed network that needed to be centrally managed. As part of their Wi-Fi rollout, NWU had to find a solution that would provide complete visibility of who and what was connecting to their network at all times, ensuring that each user and his or her device was authorised and complied with NWU’s network security requirements before gaining access. Whatever solution NWU selected, it had to automate the entire process with little or no intervention between the students and NWU’s IT support team.

Prior to selecting Network Sentry, NWU reviewed several Network Access Control (NAC) technologies, including Juniper Networks’ UAC and Alcatel-Lucent’s DNAC. Khipu approached NWU with their NAC deployment model based upon six years’ experience implementing the Bradford Networks solution into Education environments. It was the only solution that met and exceeded all of NWU’s requirements both on the campus and resnet wired and wireless networks, without the need for complex network redesign, multiple appliances or reliance on specific network vendor functionality. “On paper and having reviewed Khipu’s and Bradford Networks’ customer deployments, the solution looked ideal for our environment. However, we still wanted to test the solution in our live environment against all of our requirements and on our specific network setup before making the investment,” commented Attie Juyn, IT director at NWU.

“Our campus population has embraced the use of mobile devices, specifically laptops and smartphones. We needed to provide an environment that will enable them to get secure, Wi-Fi access anytime, anywhere. As part of this effort, we had to make sure that these devices also met our IT security policies. Network Sentry was the only solution that satisfied all of our pilot criteria. Khipu proved the solutions fit within our environment, giving us the confidence that it was the right NAC technology to be rolled out across our 20,000 user multiple-site campus environment,”
said Hannes Kriel, project lead at NWU.

In May, soon after the completed pilot, Khipu and Hannes’ team commenced the full NAC roll out using Bradford’s virtual machine (VM) Network Sentry solution, enabling a quick and central deployment across NWU’s Mafikeng, Vaal Triangle and Potchefstroom campuses.

“Network Sentry provides us with complete visibility of all the devices connecting to our network, while ensuring that the appropriate devices meet the security rules in place for access. By automating the provisioning process for network access, we’ve created an environment that is extremely friendly to our campus population, while ensuring the best level of security to protect our network,” concluded Hannes.

“We are extremely pleased to have completed the project with the NWU team, having met all of their requirements for an open and secure network environment; the project has been a great success. With NWU being our first South African-based University deployment, we believe that other Education Institutions will look to this as a model for providing secure network access to their user populations,” said Matt Ashman, director, Khipu Networks.

“As one of South Africa’s top universities, NWU has taken the steps to continue to provide the best services to its students and staff, including providing secure, Wi-Fi access across all of its campuses. This will provide its campus population the opportunity to continue to use the mobile devices of their choice, without comprising network security,” said Scott Tyson, sales director – EMEA, Bradford Networks.