Great Circle Associates Firewalls
(July 1994)

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Subject: Re: University networking
From: Sean McLinden <sean+ @ andrew . cmu . edu>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 1994 07:54:15 -0400 (EDT)
To: criney1 @ abacus . tis . tandy . com, Kenneth Duda <kjd @ DSG . Stanford . EDU>
Cc: firewalls @ GreatCircle . COM
In-reply-to: <199407260611 . XAA26350 @ Bump . Stanford . EDU>
References: <199407260611 . XAA26350 @ Bump . Stanford . EDU>

>>> Yes, I have gone out in LEFT field here, but I hate it when someone
>>> throws in 'BUT WHAT ABOUT UNIVERSITIES' rebuttal.  If someone is on
>>> this list and is representing a UNIVERSITY, hopefully they are interested
>>> in securing thier site(s), in some form or fashion.
>Not all academic institutions are insensitive to the directions in
>which the Internet appears to be evolving.

In fact, I would venture to say that a great many Universities are quite
concerned, for a number of reasons.

First, Universities are frequently entitled to highly discounted
software licenses as well as access to libraries, databases and tools
which would be unaffordable if they needed to be purchased at retail
prices. In many cases, the vendors exact a promise that only fulltime
faculty and students will have access to the software. This, in turn has
made it more difficult for Universities to support guest access and
results in incredible management difficulties since, unlike many
businesses where the desktop is, typically, the property of a single
user, on campusses open clusters are the model.

Second, security is a concern of ours because of the need to maintain a
stable and reliable environment for teaching.  As more of our classes
move onto the computer (3 of my four classes are taught in a shared
computer lab), I need to be able to rely on the stability of the
laboratory so that I don't spend most of my time repairing the
environment from the last class (which was "Network Design and

Third, we are increasingly the site of continuing education and
professional training for local businesses.  In many areas,
Universities' reputation for being lax on security and system stability
has affected our credibility with the business community at a time when
fulltime enrollments are declining.  If we are to tap this market which
we have, heretofore, ignored, we must be prepared to demonstrate the
kind of technical competence one would expect from a production IS
facility. The professional community is not nearly as tolerant of the
kind of IS sloppiness that we tolerated as pioneering students.  The
first time it doesn't work, you hear some moans and see some eyes roll. 
The second time, you have an empty classroom and requests for tuition 

Finally, in many campusses it is simply not feasible to separate the
academic from the administrative computing networks, therefore, things
such as firewalls are essential to maintain secure, reliable operation.

So I agree with the previous posters... this is a changing marketplace
and the Universities (at least many of them), are no longer just IS
playgrounds. Many, if not all, serious programs are grappling with the
same issues as businesses on (and off) the Internet, and using the same


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