MCNC provides NCREN Connectivity and Client Network Engineering services to public K-12 under contracts with the North Carolina Office of Information Technology Services and the Department of Public Instruction.
NCREN connectivity services provide North Carolina school districts and charter schools, including those in the most rural locations, with connectivity and equitable access to technology and broadband Internet access. All 115 Local Education Agencies and over 50 charter schools are connected to MCNC’s North Carolina Research and Education Network.
Access to NCREN provides commodity Internet connectivity, national research network connectivity (http://www.internet2.edu), and high performance broadband IP connectivity between K-12 schools, community colleges, private and public universities, research and health care institutions and state and local governments across the great state of North Carolina.
MCNC manages domain name services (DNS) for use in mapping hostnames to IP addresses. Primary and secondary zone file hosting is available for all LEAs and charter schools (see https://www.mcnc.org/services/domain-name-services).
The connection to NCREN includes optional firewall and web filtering functionality which can be configured by the LEA or charter school to meet their specific security requirements.
If an LEA or charter school elects to utilize the firewall functionality, a Cisco 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) is deployed on the LEA or charter school premise and managed by the N.C. State Government Department of Information Technology (DIT). The firewall functionality can be delivered as a DIT Fully Managed Firewall or as a DIT/Customer Managed Firewall where the LEA or charter school has the requisite access to configure the firewall.
An LEA or charter school may also elect to use the cloud-based web security functionality for Web Content Filtering and Advanced Security Protection. (Cloud-based security provides a very cost effective solution with no hardware cost or maintenance overhead.) This cloud service is offered by redirecting web traffic to Enforcement Nodes that function as inline proxies to enforce filtering policy and provide security protection. The multi-tenant environment allows LEAs and charter schools to manage and customize their web security policies.
The MCNC web security solution can be used by an LEA or charter school to replace or complement their existing content filtering solution. An LEA or charter school that wishes to keep their existing content filtering solution can still take advantage of the security protection features to provide an additional layer of security around their network perimeter. A LEA or charter school may also elect to only use the web security solution for remote and mobile clients.
Client Network Engineering
The Client Network Engineering (CNE) group is available to work with clients to design, implement and support their network and security infrastructure. The CNE group conducts network and security assessments, and provides network design services, general technical guidance and advice, training, recommended practices, and assistance resolving complex network problems. Through experience and community feedback, these services continuously evolve to ensure the most relevance and benefit to the K-12 community.
Assessment services are available that will measure, analyze, and document network functionality, performance, and security. These assessment services include the following:
- Network Assessment
- Wireless Network Assessment
- Security Vulnerability Assessment
Given the opportunity to work with LEAs across the state, the CNE team is well positioned to identify networking issues and challenges common within the K12 community. To help address these issues and challenges, the CNE team is working with the community to develop technical papers and recommended practices. Please review the technical papers and recommended practices and email us with your questions or comments. We welcome suggestions for revisions to existing documents or topics for new documents.
To learn more about NCREN and/or Client Network Engineering services, please send a request for support to the Client Network Engineering team at firstname.lastname@example.org.