There’s not much you can teach Lytchett Minster School and Sixth Form about providing a great education to its pupils. For several years, the Dorset school has been the recipient of OFSTED “outstanding” ratings in a number of the key areas serving its 1,400-strong student body of 11 to 18 year olds.
The IT network had grown over the years and was now providing communications, scheduling, valuable lesson resources and more. Combined with the fact that computing is now a compulsory subject for years 7 to 9, a modern IT infrastructure was vital.
Like many education institutions, Lytchett Minster was hampered by a cumbersome Internet service that only offered blanket filtering without the ability for customisation. They were not able to set access levels based on time or individuals, which meant that while pupils were restricted in what they could view, so were staff. This was unmanageable, as up to 800 users with different Internet requirements could be online at once.
Lytchett Minster’s IT team chose a new Internet service provider and adopted firewall protection with the WatchGuard XTM 820.
Thanks to the XTM 820’s throughput, the school’s IT team can provide a range of services in-house, including hosting the school website and email. All staff can log in remotely, while senior teaching and IT staff have their own VPN at home, each defended by a WatchGuard X10e.
“With the visibility tool WatchGuard Dimension™ set up, we can see potential attacks in real time as they reach the firewall, which is very interesting and useful to have. We saw a whole denial of service attack hit the firewall before we could even get through to our ISP to find out what they were going to do about it.”
The IT team now benefits from the simplicity and improved efficiency of one solution for endpoint security, including spam, web filtering and virus protection. Coombes said: “Having one place to look at for all the security measures and reports is very important, as it saves us time and hunting around.”
Taking advantage of the benefits associated with digital learning, teachers now incorporate a wide range of online tools into their lessons. WatchGuard firewalls provide the configuration flexibility needed to fully control how each student uses the Internet without restricting staff access.
Coombes concludes: “In terms of performance, the WatchGuard XTM 820 is rock solid; it has never fallen or died on us. We now want to use this as a platform for expanding our capability by integrating an active directory, as well as using WatchGuard Dimension to provide us with real-time reporting and historical analysis.”