Auconet BICS Resolves Complex NAC, Security, and VLAN Management Challenges for Saint Martin’s University of Washington State

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NAC replaced by Auconet Business Infrastructure Control Solution – BICS – to easily manage all network security and management challenges.

The quality of the product and professional expertise that the Auconet team displayed was far beyond what we have experienced before.

Auconet, provider of next generation Business Infrastructure Control solutions for Global 1000-grade IT Operations Management (ITOM), today announced that Auconet Business Infrastructure Control Solution – BICS – was quickly and successfully implemented by Saint Martin’s University to provide a new, superior approach to network access control (NAC) and centralized network management for the university’s complex, diverse VLAN-based universe of wired and wireless devices and endpoints. Operational in less than two weeks, BICS simplified and streamlined management of the entire network and its high number of virtual LANs, saving time and money for Saint Martin’s University and virtually eliminating the need for manual intervention to configure new user devices for network access.

Saint Martin’s University, a Washington state private university, began working with NAC solutions more than ten years ago when attacks by the Blaster Worm virus brought down networks around the world and created an "era of fear" for network managers. As with many universities and enterprises, network security and management remains a problem because the types of security threats have changed over the past decade.

"The problem today is not about protecting the network from virus-infected computers," said Neal Bullinger, Senior Systems Administrator at Saint Martin’s University. "Most new viruses are not attacking the network, rather they are driven by criminal profit motives attacking endpoint devices to steal users’ personal credentials and their money. Using narrowly focused NAC solutions, designed to protect the network from viruses, just doesn’t make sense anymore. You spend a lot of money to protect against a problem that no longer exists. The combination of NAC and infrastructure control is required to guard against many different types of threats and bad behavior."

Saint Martin’s University confronted the same problems felt by many larger universities and enterprises, including the largest Global 1000 enterprises: what is the best method to effectively and efficiently manage their own "Internet of Everything?" At Saint Martins, this includes an eclectic mixture of networking equipment (routers and devices) from several manufacturers; a large number of VLANs requiring correct, automated assignment and configuration of newly registered devices; and an exploding number of electronic devices, used interchangeably by the frequently-changing user population of students (at least 25% annual turnover), as well as faculty and staff on campus. In addition to university owned computers and lab equipment, the network manages a plethora of BYODs: PCs, laptops, cell phones, tablets, cameras, gaming machines, etc. that users need to connect to the local network.

After a long history of working with prominent NAC providers and in-house solutions, Saint Martin’s required a more comprehensive, zero-maintenance approach with outstanding support to meet its requirements. The Saint Martin’s IT staff evaluated more than a dozen NAC vendors, including all those listed in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for NAC. None of them, except Auconet, could handle Port Provisioning/MAC Authorization, more than a limited number of VLANs, automated VLAN assignment and web-based authentication, and easy, self-registration of new devices. These capabilities were all required to simplify the management of the entire university network.

"We talked to a dozen of the top NAC firms but when we asked about MAC Authorization, the answer was always the same ‘You’ll need to write your own.’ In fact, after years of various vendor solutions and approaches, we’ve found NAC solutions don’t simplify network management at all, they just add another layer on top of it," said Bullinger.

The Auconet team quickly installed the BICS VM (virtual machine) on-premises at Saint Martins. "None of the others come close to what Auconet BICS enables us to do – elegantly control our entire infrastructure, and every digital device anyone tries to attach to it, from a central console, including MAC-level protection right out of the box."

Key BICS capabilities that are operational right out of the box include:

  •     Complete, efficient management and protection of the entire network
  •     Up and running in less than two weeks
  •     MAC-based, out-of-band authentication
  •     Vendor independent – works with all types of network devices and endpoints (past, present and future)
  •     No agents installed on endpoints (endpoint information comes from/managed by the network devices)
  •     Web-based, self-registration for people to add their devices (captive portal for walled garden)
  •     VLAN assignment by device type including BYOD: PCs, tablets, phones, game consoles, cameras, printers, VOIP phones, etc.
  •     No change required to the existing infrastructure
  •     Easy to learn, easy to manage from a central console
  •     Scalable to manage hundreds of thousands of devices, ports, and endpoints, right out of the box
  •     Exceptional on-boarding support

"With BICS we can spend our resources on improving computing for everyone in the university, rather than endlessly re-configuring students’ end devices," said Bullinger.

"Auconet’s team worked side-by-side with ours until the job was done for the BICS installation. The quality of the product and professional expertise that the Auconet team displayed was far beyond what we have experienced before, and we want to make sure that you know how grateful we are to have the privilege of working with such an enjoyable and knowledgeable team. BICS is exactly what we were looking for, and we are happy to recommend it to others."

"Saint Martin’s University is one example of the critical need for capabilities that extend beyond traditional Network Access Control to modernize business infrastructure control for IT Operations Management at all enterprises," said Frank Winter, CEO of Auconet. "The ease and speed of installing BICS at this customer’s complex VLAN environment, and Auconet’s deep expertise in meeting the needs of Global 1000 enterprises like BASF and Siemens, shows that BICS is the right solution for today’s IT Operations Management challenges."

About Auconet

Auconet, Inc. provides next generation Business Infrastructure Control solutions for Global 1000-grade IT Operations Management (ITOM). Auconet BICS – Business Infrastructure Control Solution – is a streamlined multi-tenant, cloud or on-premises platform that quickly and seamlessly enables Global 1000 enterprises with real-time visibility, persistent monitoring, and automated, optimized control across all network device vendors’ solutions – past, present and future – and connected (wireless or wired) endpoints. BICS easily scales to manage hundreds of thousands of network elements from a single, central console. Auconet is a member of the Trusted Computer Group and is a recognized vendor within the Gartner Magic Quadrant for NAC in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Auconet is headquartered in San Francisco, CA with EU sales, support, and research and development offices in Berlin, Germany. For more information, visit: http://www.auconet.com.

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Frances Mann-Craik
Auconet, Inc.
+1 (408) 868-9577
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