Case Study

LCAD Increases IT Efficiency, Reduces Bandwidth Costs, Maintains Federal Compliance With Splunk Light

Executive Summary

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is a private four-year college of art and design that offers undergraduate degrees in Animation, Design + Digital Media, Drawing + Painting, Game Art and Illustration, and graduate degrees in Art of Game Design, Drawing and Painting. With a distributed IT infrastructure across five separate locations that serve over 500 students, LCAD wanted to gain centralized visibility into its servers and network. Since deploying Splunk Light, LCAD has seen benefits including: 

  • Headcount savings equivalent to hiring a full-time employee (FTE)
  • Reduced log checking times by 75 percent
  • Reduced bandwidth costs by 20 percent
    • Lack of centralized visibility into network and servers
    • Tedious and time consuming manual monitoring and log searching
    • Small team with limited resources
    • Need to comply with federal funding regulations
Business Impact
    • 75 percent reduction in time spent on log monitoring
    • 20 percent savings on Internet bandwidth costs
    • Headcount savings equivalent to hiring a full-time employee (FTE)
    • Better able to maintain compliance with federal funding regulations
Data Sources
    • Server Logs (Windows)
    • Network logs
    • Syslog
    • DHCP server
    • Active Directory
    • Firewalls, routers, switches
    • VPN hosts

Why Splunk

LCAD’s small IT team has only two employees that handle all the infrastructure support on campus, including the College’s lab computers, staff computers, equipment checkout and printing services. LCAD needed to monitor its distributed infrastructure and to gain full visibility into its network and servers in order to decrease costs, improve efficiency and meet federal funding requirements. While LCAD considered open-source solutions, the team ultimately decided it had neither the time nor the resources required to build the kind of robust functionality immediately available with Splunk Light. According to Matt Morton, LCAD’s director of IT, “We were thrilled to find a version of the Splunk solution that met our budgetary constraints while offering us the same mature performance we required. Those open-source solutions were simply not as easy to use as Splunk Light.”

Currently, LCAD has just under 100 servers and other types of network equipment connected to Splunk Light, with plans to monitor 160 more infrastructure devices.  

“We were thrilled to find a version of the Splunk solution that met our budgetary constraints while offering us the same mature performance we required.”

Matt Morton, Director of IT

Improved monitoring saves time and resources

LCAD’s initial use case for Splunk Light was syslog data aggregation, but the uses for the Splunk solution grew over time. Says Morton, “Not having to go to each server and check on the server logs was a huge help for us. We’ve been able to pinpoint network outages and other issues more quickly. We can look at our Windows logs directly without having to do some sort of syslog output. We soon found other things we could do with Splunk Light to make our lives easier, such as doing lookups against the DHCP server with our Active Directory server to gain visibility into activity on our firewall.” 

The time savings over previous manual log checking initiatives has been well over 75 percent. Most critically, deploying Splunk Light as a centralized logging solution has enabled LCAD to avoid having to find budget for another full-time employee.

Historical log analysis maintains Federal compliance

Some of LCAD’s federal funding requires compliance with regulations prohibiting peer-to-peer file sharing and downloading of illegal content. Before Splunk Light, the IT team would have to determine whether a user on the network was engaged in questionable activity at the exact moment it was happening, which was described as “a huge endeavor.” With Splunk Light, the team gained the ability to sift through historical network data and see bandwidth spikes to pinpoint issues anytime. By filtering non-compliant web traffic with Splunk Light, LCAD also has seen a 20 percent savings on Internet bandwidth costs.