Setting up PaperCut with SurfControl

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This knowledge base article has been contributed by Mark from Temple Christian College. PaperCut Software would like to thank Mark for his contribution.

Overview

Temple Christian College is a private secondary school in the inner western suburbs of Adelaide, Australia. We have around 500 students on campus.

We have been using Surf Control, a web filtering application that integrates with Microsoft ISA Server, for a number of years as well as a competitors printing and Internet charging software.

We decided to evaluate PaperCut Quota as an alternative for printer and Internet monitoring and charging. We installed the evaluation version and were quite impressed. Very simple to install, configure and manage and yet very powerful. We decided to change from the competitor’s product to PaperCut and ordered a 1000 user licence.

PaperCut offers the feature of being able to remove a student from the Internet access group when they have used up their Internet quota. This is very useful and yet what we needed was for PaperCut to be able to ‘talk to’ Surf Control so that Surf Control would know that the student had been removed from the Internet group. The developers at PaperCut were very helpful, even to the extent of providing a custom executable with the added functionality to be able to force Surf Control to re-enumerate group membership when a student was removed from the Internet group. This works perfectly for us. Needless to say I am very pleased!

One of the most useful features of PaperCut is the web-based administration interface. This is extremely useful for managing PaperCut from remote machines. It also provides students with up to date and accurate information relating to their Print/Internet balance and usage. The fact that the PaperCut developers wrote custom code for us so that PaperCut and Surf Control would tie together has made this combination very powerful indeed. The PaperCut Developers have since indicated that the custom enhancements will become part of the standard PaperCut release as of version 5.3 allowing other organizations to set-up PaperCut as described here.

Configuration

To go into some more detail we have ISA server installed on a Windows 2003 server with 1Gig of RAM. Surf Control is installed as an ISA plugin on this server. We have another Windows 2003 server that hosts our Intranet and is also our print server. PaperCut is installed on this server also. Surf Control is configured to only allow Internet access to students who are members of a global group called Internet. When a student is removed from this group and we force Surf Control to commit changes, that student can no longer access the Internet. The problem these changes can only be committed via the Surf Control GUI or by running a Surf Control provided command line tool called ScCommit.exe.

PaperCut, of course, has the inbuilt functionality of being able to remove students from an Internet access group when they have used their Internet credit. As previously mentioned, Surf Control doesn’t realise that the group membership has changed and therefore allows that student to have continued Internet access. This was causing students to go into (quite large) negative Internet balances with the competitor’s product. When I mentioned this problem to the PaperCut staff they said they would provide a custom executable that would allow the ScCommit.exe utility to be executed automatically every time a student was removed or added to the Internet group. This has worked perfectly for us.

Summary

To summarize the PaperCut / Surf Control integration:

  1. The server is running Microsoft ISA Server and enhanced by Surf Control for content filtering.
  2. Access rules are configured in Surf Control to only allow access to users that are a member of a domain group called “Internet”
  3. PaperCut is configured to execute the ScCommit.exe utility when it commits a group change. This is done by adding new registry key located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/PaperCut/GroupMembershipChangedHook with a path pointing to the ScCommit.exe utility.

Many thanks to PaperCut Software for an excellent product!

keywords: surfcontrol, web filtering, proxy server intergration, web quotas, internet control

Categories: InternetControl

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Article last modified on October 06, 2006, at 02:46 AM
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