Case Studies


Making Sonoma County Office of Education More Secure With Palo Alto Networks

Helping 177 schools across Sonoma County to function cost-effectively while maintaining a focus on outstanding academic achievement, the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) depends on its IT infrastructure at all times. Digital Scepter provides SCOE with the robust security and access control technology it requires in order to remain accessible to schools across 40 districts.

The Diagnosis:

  “We always begin with a diagnostic session,” explains Jon Robinson, Director of Digital Scepter. “Our extensive experience with school districts told us there were two distinct goals that seemed clear from the start – implementing dependable security to protect against threats, and enforcing application control to meet with acceptable use policies.”

Designing The Solution:

  “The Palo Alto Networks Application Firewall (PAN) was already on my radar,” says Dan Exelby, Technology Consultant at the Sonoma County Office of Education. “But Jon and the team at Digital Scepter were very supportive of my situation and enthusiastic about PAN.”

  Naturally, SCOE’s next step was to look at competing quotes from companies that could supply similar solutions.

  “We did look for competing quotes,” adds Exelby from SCOE. “But Digital Scepter gave us high-level advice on deployment at the best price I could find on PAN equipment.”


Execution and Implementation:

  With the Palo Alto Networks Next-Generation Firewall decided on as the ideal method to combat security threats and control application use in this scenario, Digital Scepter drew upon years of experience to deploy the PAN solution at speed.

  “PAN was quickly deployed as an inline security device behind our existing Cisco ASA firewalls,” says SCOE’s Exelby. “We were so pleased with our Palo Alto device acting as a threat prevention box behind our firewall that we have now replaced the firewall itself with Palo Alto hardware, simplifying the chain of connections out to the Internet. Digital Scepter helped us to implement this solution and recommended a consulting company to assist with the transition.”

The Future:

  Today, SCOE runs a high-availability pair of PAN devices in active-passive mode, meaning that one device runs as a more advanced, “active” firewall, while the other runs in a broader, “passive” state. With the help of Digital Scepter, SCOE hopes to make its security even more robust over the next five years.

  “In a year, we are hoping to make the switch to an active-active pair of devices, helping us to balance the traffic more effectively and improve overall performance,” says SCOE’s Exelby. “Digital Scepter will have a vital role to play in that process. Then, five years from now, we will be moving to the larger Palto Alto 5000 series hardware. We have big plans for our information security moving forward, and Digital Scepter gives us the confidence and additional support to make this a possibility.”

  For your own information security needs, contact Digital Scepter by visiting or by calling (888) 299-3718.