Fast access to the internet has been one of the major advancements on the New Zealand education scene over the last few years. Students, teachers and staff now have access to a world of online resources for eLearning, research, collaboration and administration.
The internet can bring previously dispersed communities and stakeholders together to increase cross-cultural understanding, improve student outcomes and prepare for the future.
But with all of this power comes responsibility. The internet offers much more than educational resources - it can provide a gateway for malware, intruders, cyber-bullies and a host of other not-so-salubrious outcomes into your network.
To complicate matters, opening access to your school’s internet resources to student, staff and guest smartphones, laptops, tablets and PCs gives the bad actors an ever-growing number of entry points into your network.
How can you take advantage of the good while keeping out the bad?
The security-centric network
The answer is a security-centric network. “What this means,” says Andrew Khan, Fortinet Senior Business Manager at Ingram Micro, New Zealand’s largest distributor of Fortinet security solutions, “is that any time you add anything to your school’s network you need to ensure that you have included security into the equation."
"There are many security solutions on the market, ours included, that can provide the necessary safeguards to make your network safe for users. The process is neither too hard nor too expensive…if your ICT support team knows the best way to go about it," he says.
“Too often,” continues Khan, “the ICT support team has built up considerable expertise in the mechanics of networking, user support, hardware upgrades and the like.
"But security is a niche market that requires specialised knowledge and hands-on experience.
"Again, the process isn’t overly difficult…schools across New Zealand and Australia have implemented secure infrastructure to protect students and staff…but there is little margin for error. Even simple oversights in setting security policies can have dire consequences.”
Building security expertise in your school’s ICT team should be the first step as you take advantage of high-speed internet for eLearning and internet access.
“Most of New Zealand’s specialist education service and support organisations…NORRCOM and New Era come to mind…have the requisite security knowledge to support your ICT team as they upskill.
"Once you have established a robust security profile and given your staff the necessary training, keeping current shouldn’t take too much time. But it is important to get started on the pathway to a secure network. And the time is now," says Khan.
To get more information on how Fortinet can help you protect your school’s network, you might want to view this informative webinar (registration required) from Gary Gardiner, Fortinet’s ANZ Director of Engineering and Services: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/4586730772238099458
For further information, please contact:
Hugo Hutchinson, Business Development Manager
P: 09-414-0261 | M: 021-245-8276