The largest school district between Austin and Dallas, Killeen Independent School District (KISD) employs 5,800 teachers and support personnel to serve its over 50 campuses of nearly 40,000 students. In its support of the district, KISD Technology Services faces each day with a single purpose: to meet the information needs of the students and staff throughout the region to the highest level of satisfaction possible.
KISD Technology Services has used WS_FTP for many years to securely share files, data, and other critical business information among its users as transparently as possible, and they recently added the web transfer module to their WS_FTP Server installation to allow users to easily upload and download files and to create and delete folders on the remote server without having to install any software on users’ computers. “There’s no way I could support the district on a site-by-site basis,” says Steven Robertson, KISD UNIX System Administrator. “WS_FTP Server Web Transfer Module is the key; if the web client is structured properly all the administration goes away.”
With the WS_FTP Server Web Transfer Module, server administrators define who is authorized to connect to WS_FTP Server. Once an end user has accessed WS_FTP Server with their browser, all of their account settings, permissions, and privileges for their account on WS_FTP Server are automatically applied to the web transfer module. As a result, the user can access only the appropriate account, files, folders, and virtual folders just as if they connected with traditional desktop file transfer client software like WS_FTP Professional. “It emulates the actual campus and allows access to only those folders that a certain individual needs,” says Robertson.
KISD’s original motivation for choosing WS_FTP was to add another layer of secure internet correspondence within the district. “When you look at the data we’ve got out there - grades, counseling records, and other ‘eyes-only’ material - it’s amazing how sensitive our information actually is,” notes Robertson. “Of course, besides WS_FTP’s security and encryption abilities, its easy implementation, rapid deployment, and world-class support were the hallmarks for us.
Because WS_FTP easily integrates with the Microsoft Active Directory® database for end user authentication, KISD can specify any number of user groups to allow only the appropriate users to authenticate. “Active Directory drives everything we do,” says Robertson. “It allows me to manage 6800 individual accounts across the entire enterprise. That’s important because someone could be in one district today and another tomorrow. Having WS_FTP allows us to meet that challenge through the integration with Active Directory. WS_FTP allows me to import the user IDs from the Active Directory structure to the server. It cuts down on our training time and gives everyone the security they need. All the data that’s unique to you follows you wherever you are.”
The scalability of the product is another reason KISD chose WS_FTP Web Transfer Module. “We currently support about 40,000 individuals and we’re just below 7,000 users,” says Robertson. “We’re finding that there’s a need to transfer information among school districts in the state; we can set that up with the web transfer module and it would be easy, transparent, and scalable.”
In describing his experience with Ipswitch File Transfer, Robertson is pleased with both the file transfer product line and the support he’s received through the years. “My history with Ipswitch goes back to about 1993, and the original products were so solid back then that with the improvements they’ve made all along the way, I’m not surprised I’m still with them. Their ﬂexibility and their adaptability are what sets them apart from other players in the industry. They listen to user feedback – and they implement it.”