Enabling Abbey Gate College’s expansion into secure Cloud

Abbey Gate College is the longest running, independent, co-educational school for pupils aged 4 to 18 in Chester. Based in two locations they promote
academic ambition and excellence by nurturing potential, encouraging aspiration and developing an understanding of the wider world. The College is committed to providing an inspiring, modern and safe environment that prepares pupils for life beyond school through access to state-of-the-art facilities.

The Challenge

Abbey Gate College has always been a leader in educational technology, systems and applications, and when its networked IP Telephony and internet security system needed updating to support an expansion of digital services, eLearning and cloud-based applications – they contacted Advatek.

“We wanted a technology partner that shared our vision” says Duncan Stewart, Director of ICT at Abbey Gate. “We needed input into our technology roadmap that would give us reliability, cutting edge security and scope to take further advantage of cloud-based services, and we asked Advatek to help us.”

Advatek’s roadmap enabled Abbey Gate to:

  • Securely expand their use of web-based learning and cloud services.
  • Provide the schools 400 end point devices with advanced internet security.
  • Facilitate a secure ‘Bring your own Device’ (BYOD) policy for students and staff.
  • Back-up and protect critical applications and systems.
  • Future proof further developments with a scalable and secure technology platform.

The Solution

The school’s original internet security was updated to a dual, high availability and fully resilient FortiGate firewall that enables the speedy and secure running of network voice and data traffic across the school’s two sites, as well as integrating with their datacentre, and cloud-based services. The school also has a BYOD policy, and so most importantly, the solution authenticates, monitors, manages and protects pupil internet usage to agreed policies.

Core elements and benefits of FortiGate’s solution include:

Application Control: Monitoring internet usage based on rules that allow or restrict activity, along with network policing and traffic throttling to preserve bandwidth.

Gateway Anti-Malware: Real-time scanning of network traffic for malicious payloads. Protection against threats with no impact on network performance.

Web Filtering: Acceptable usage policies – blocking access to malicious, hacked, or inappropriate websites.

Intrusion Prevention: Protecting the school from outside attacks by monitoring all server traffic with the ability to take automated real-time action.

Remote Access: Authentication of users coming onto the network remotely, including verification that antivirus software is installed and current.

Abbey Gate also needed to protect and back-up data and applications held locally and in the cloud. To support this, Advatek deployed a Veeam solution that provides easy to use backup, recovery, monitoring and application workload reporting.

The Outcome

The school now has a unified voice and data platform provided through a FortiGate security solution with high levels of performance, resilience and dynamic threat intelligence, and their data and applications are backed up through an integrated a Veeam solution.

Duncan Stewart continues “The Advatek team really are like part of the family – and there’s a great atmosphere and vibe about our relationship. They understand the bigger picture and genuinely want to help us get best value from our investments whilst opening our eyes to the art of the possible.”

The Future

With Advatek, the school are planning further moves to refresh the physical infrastructure and cloud-based technologies including Microsoft Azure, along with a virtual desktop strategy that will enable staff and pupils to access information, and work from anywhere, at any time, on any device.

“We love the flexibility, reliability and scope for advancement and savings that virtual environments and cloud services bring” says Stewart, “and with Advatek’s support and guidance, we’re in great hands.”

For more information contact our Specialist Team.