Volume 8, Number 11
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Safe•Connect™ NAC Broadcast Messaging
Used in Meeting Clery Act Requirements
Last month, Impulse Point and the University of the Pacific announced that the broadcast messaging component of the Safe•Connect™ network access control (NAC) solution will be one of the methods used to notify students and faculty at the university of an emergency situation. Recently proposed amendments to the Clery Act—a part of the Higher Education Act—require complete notification of an entire campus community within 30 minutes of an emergency. The University of the Pacific is instituting several methods of communication, including text messaging and email announcements in addition to automatically displaying web-based broadcast messages delivered by the Impulse Point Safe•Connect system.
“Safe•Connect broadcast messaging is at the forefront of many announcement ideas,” says Rob Henderson, Director of Cyber Infrastructure at the University of the Pacific. “We’ve been using the system successfully to manage endpoint security compliance across multiple campus locations…. Impulse worked with us to advance development and now we can notify any registered computer user within seconds…. A school has only 30 minutes to notify its entire population of an emergency. That’s not a lot of time. We can’t catch everyone with a single method, so we need to have multiple options. Using Safe•Connect will be beneficial, especially while class is in session, since many students will have turned off their phones but may be using a computer.”
Safe•Connect ensures that all students accessing the university’s network register their computing device and agree to abide by the university’s acceptable use policies. Using the Safe•Connect system’s ability to deliver real-time policy enforcement messages enables an organization to broadcast an emergency message to everyone whose computer is authorized to access the campus network. The computer’s default web browser will be automatically initiated in the forefront of the screen with a campus-customized message. Anyone actively connected to the network at the time the message is sent will see it within seconds. For those not online, the message will appear when the computer is turned on. The University of the Pacific has also implemented Safe•Connect’s new notification receipt feature. Users must acknowledge the notification in order to close the message. This allows the college to audit the notification process and to meet the reporting compliance requirements of the Clery Act.
“Best practices for the Safe•Connect broadcast messaging component are simple,” advises Kirk Anderson, Customer Support Manager at Impulse Point. “As part of the implementation process, policy administrators usually create three to four custom broadcast message templates for a variety of situations... This enables the school to send out a generic notification…within seconds, and buys time to craft a more specific message. This is especially important [with] an emergency or a zero-day virus attack, when a custom message can be sent out within seconds and immediately quarantine noncompliant devices on the network.”
Designed for highly scalable and vendor-diverse environments, Impulse Point’s Safe•Connect™ Open Network Access Control (OpenNAC) solution enables organizations to automate and enforce end-user authentication, antivirus, antispyware, Microsoft security patches, P2P file sharing, and custom endpoint security policies. The result is a more secure, reliable, and predictable IT network infrastructure. Impulse Point (http://www.impulse.com) is headquartered in Florida and is one of Tampa Bay’s premier technology innovators.
For more information on the Clery Act, visit the U.S. Department of Education at http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/campus.html or the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators at http://www.iaclea.org/visitors/PDFs/CleryChanges_August2007.pdf.