Case Study: Kilgore College
“Viewfinity was the only product that did exactly what I wanted -- I had problems getting the other two products that I evaluated to do what I needed. The fact that Viewfinity works in tandem with Active Directory but not directly reliant on it, was huge to me. If Active Directory goes down, I still have least privilege and policies that actively manage my machines.” says Luke Saintignan, System Administrator for Kilgore College.
“Viewfinity’s support team was great. The installation went fine and the product is up and running flawlessly.”
Taking as its motto “Emphasis Excellence,” Kilgore College promotes high quality in all of its operations: teaching and learning which lead to certificates and associate degrees, administrative and educational support services, and public service. This commitment to excellence extends directly to Kilgore’s Information Technology team. They support approximately 1100 desktops and 200 laptops with a user base spread out over the main campus in Kilgore and its second campus in Longview Texas. Kilgore has seen a recent trend among the administrative staff with Vice Presidents, Deans and faculty members requesting laptops as their replacement machine. The ability to be “mobile” and off campus is helpful during summer months when classes are not in session but faculty are still working.
Kilgore was experiencing a high number of virus attacks and/or malware, partly due to the fact that most of its staff and faculty have administrator rights. In fact, one laptop came in with a record number of 893 viruses. IT’s common course of action was to reimage and completely rebuild the machine, leaving the staff member without a machine for up to several days. For efficiency the college is also moving towards taking more online credit card payments, driving a need for Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance.
In order to lighten the workload of the IT
organization, reduce faculty downtime and
achieve PCI Compliance, Kilgore knew moving
to a least privileges environment was the best
“Down the road is the idea of whitelisting applications and is something we are looking to do. This is to ensure that things that need to be there are there, and so that we can prevent other things from even being installed. Viewfinity seems to have a better way to handle this -- it is a more robust and elegant solution than any of the other products we looked at.” John Colville, Instructional Technology Director for Kilgore College.
Kilgore’s IT team was smart. They decided to tackle their most savvy end user first – the President of the College. The pilot began with rolling out Windows 7 and Office 2010 while also removing administrative privileges. Starting with a power user, they are identifying any issues that are likely to present themselves and then resolve them. Once the President is satisfied, IT will execute its strategy right down the management roster. Next they plan to remove rights from all VP’s and identify any elevated privileges required. They will then move on to address the Deans and so on. This approach lends them the political backing required to move to a least privileges environment because the top level executives are subject to same rules and regulations as staff members.
Viewfinity was one of three products reviewed
and tested. Kilgore liked Viewfinity the best
because of its ability to support off-campus
laptops, especially during summer months, and
the fact that policies are always active regardless
of connectivity status. The IT team doesn’t see
the faculty for 6-8 weeks but can still provide
immediate technical support using Viewfinity.
Certain Texas Administrative Codes that cover
state agencies and institutions of higher
education have strict data protection policies. By
locking down PCs and using Viewfinity to
manage privileges, Kilgore College better
adheres with Texas Administrative Codes and
Kilgore has granted privileges to its custom
college program. They are also a KACE shop,
which requires administrator rights, so now KACE.EXE runs with elevated privileges and it
works fine. The same is true for Calendar Creator in tandem with Outlook. Kilgore can still
move to a least privileges environment and continue to use all the fundamental tools and
applications in which they have invested.