Leeds City College, the UK's third largest further educational establishment, with 40,000 students and more than 1,500 staff, is deploying WatchGuard XTM firewall appliances across its large, multi-site network that connects three large campuses with fibre circuits and microwave point-to-point links.
The College was formed in 2009, following the merger of Leeds College of Technology, Leeds Thomas Danby, and Park Lane College Leeds & Keighley, with further mergers with Joseph Priestley College and Leeds College of Music in 2011.
While this major expansion presents exciting new opportunities for students, the integration posed considerable challenges for the College ITSS Department. Not least of these was securing the three major ingress/egress points of connection to JANET, the UK's research and education network.
To tackle these challenges, the Leeds City College IT team decided to standardise on the WatchGuard Unified Threat Management (UTM) platform with the help of its IT partner, Epic Net. The first WatchGuard XTM 1520 replaced a Cisco firewall at the Technology Campus to deliver greater performance and control; while a second appliance has been installed at the brand new Printworks Campus, opened for the first wave of students this September. The third WatchGuard XTM 1520 will be installed in the Park Lane Campus this October to complete the secure multi-site network.
The WatchGuard UTM firewalls provide safe IPSEC or SSL VPN authorised remote access to the College network and resources for all staff and students from multiple Apple, Windows, or Android platforms. As well as support for the full Microsoft Office suite of applications, every student has an Office 365 email account and associated online collaborative workspace.
In addition to providing full Layer 7 firewall protection and intrusion prevention, Leeds City College now has a central point of management, with the ability for policies to be easily deployed across the network, along with simplified administration and centralised logging and reporting.
With up to 14Gbyte throughput, the WatchGuard XTM firewall appliances will be able to handle anticipated bandwidth growth over the next five years as well as the addition of increasingly complex rule sets, without loss of performance; while the clustered hardware configuration provides 100% resilience.
"The expansion of the College posed significant security challenges, but the WatchGuard solution has allowed us to efficiently and comprehensively implement network security for staff and students wherever they are on the network," says Dave Newsham, ITSS Service Delivery Manager at Leeds City College. "The WatchGuard XTM firewalls are both affordable and uncomplicated to deploy and maintain, helping us ensure we meet compliance standards, and can easily scale to accommodate future growth."
"Support from both WatchGuard and its partner, Epic Net, has been exceptional," continues Newsham. "Deployment was pain-free, and we now have a more centrally managed, secure, and easy to administer multi-site solution and we are able to track, monitor, and review real-time access and reporting."
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The expansion of the College posed significant security challenges, but the WatchGuard solution has allowed us to efficiently and comprehensively implement network security for staff and students wherever they are on the network.
Support from both WatchGuard and its partner, Epic Net, has been exceptional. Deployment was pain- free, and we now have a more centrally managed, secure, and easy to administer multi-site solution and we are able to track, monitor, and review real-time access and reporting.
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