Telemark County Council has used Citrix for many years to deliver applications to their employees. Around 1.600 employees receive services from multiple zones. Authorized personnel who handle sensitive personal data access through the safe zone, the remaining personnel use the open zone. Citrix also supplies the county with a school zone for pupils and educational staff in secondary schools in Telemark.
When Telemark County Council rolled out Citrix NetScaler for the first time in 2014 it was with the assistance of Citrix reseller First Point. The decision was partly made on the basis of recommendations from neighbors in Buskerud. The goal was to better utilize resources across the infrastructure, sharpen security and make new services more accessible. The hope was that they would see savings in terms of easier administration, less need for many expensive point solutions and a more homogenous environment. Net -Scaler quickly became the hub that secures and controls the traffic in and out of the network.
Citrix NetScaler improves the quality of services and load balancing across the network. "We get increased flexibility around the delivery of services and improved user experiences. It is a unique platform to deliver faster and better online services", says Anders Røine the county council's IT department.
NetScaler Technology gives us so many opportunities, and is an important piece in our infrastructure", says Røine.
He explains further that one of the most brilliant benefits with NetScaler is the many technical settings available. It's easy to open and block accesses.
In 2015, when the Directorate of Education (Udir), approved the use of digital aids in high school exams, NetScaler performed to its best. Although this gave students new opportunities, there was a technical nut to figure out how one could allow some content in certain sites and block others, and prevent communication under examination.
It is important to support students' needs for digital aids", says Røine who hooked together solution with input from Citrix, NLDA and Cerpus supplying technical solutions for NDLA.
When we had decided what we were going to do, the whole solution was set up in under an hour", says Røine. He states that they would never have managed to set up such a service without next-generation security solutions. Conventional firewalls are not advanced enough to be able to filter the advanced content. Now it's set up a proxy solution with NetScaler as the engine that allows some types of HTML traffic and prevents all attempts at permanent connections. This lets students practice in a read-only access to the internet where all "non-permissible" acts are washed away.
The exam solution works by placing the student in a blocking group, then run the machine over in exam mode, with red desktop background and an additional icon on the student desktop called "Telemark limited internet." When students start, this icon opens a separate browser with pages NDLA, wikipedia and Language Council dictionary.
The solution is available for students and teachers at all times, so they can learn what is available and how they can use it effectively. When using the solution, there are some parts of the sites that do not perform. such as video and search. Røine believes it is important that students see and learn the opportunities and constraints, and believes that this is an important step in the right direction to give students a realistic examination implementation.
Citrix NetScaler is set up to wash traffic from learner's PC onto the internet. Anything that attempts to communication or chat are blocked.
"We considered whether we should set the settings so that they could use the regular web browser, but to be on the safe side we have "Telemark limited internet" as a completely separate solution, says Røine.
"We are very proud that we managed to solve this challenge, and hope it can help improve exam situation for students", says Røine.
"We are happy to share the work we've done, we have been in contact with several counties and municipalities, they are looking at our methods and use of technology, they want to offer their students the same opportunities", says Røine.
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