New case study: leading Australian regional school boosts network capacity and cyber security protection

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Rockhampton Grammar School classroom

Resilient, scalable and secure solutions delivered by AARNet infrastructure and Cyber Security for Schools services support excellence in teaching and learning for The Rockhampton Grammar School.

The Rockhampton Grammar School is an independent day and boarding school located in the Central Queensland city of Rockhampton. The School caters to over 1,400 students ranging from Prep to year 12 as well as running an early learning centre. As one of the largest co-educational boarding schools in the country, The Rockhampton Grammar School takes a forward-thinking approach to technology implementation and understands the risks involved in today’s fast-moving digital society.

Improving the internet experience

Early in 2020, when the School was seeking to improve the quality and reliability of the internet experience for staff and students, and ensure high availability of business-critical services hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud, they turned to AARNet for a solution. AARNet had recently built fibre through the region, which meant that schools located there now had the opportunity to overcome the ‘tyranny of distance’ and connect to nation’s reliable high-speed dedicated network for research and education.

At the same time, with cyber threats rapidly increasing in the education sector, The Rockhampton Grammar School was looking to uplift network security to better protect the School’s information and keep students safe online. Connecting to AARNet meant that the School could take advantage of the integrated set of network and cyber security services co-developed by AARNet and CyberHound for AARNet Direct Connect schools.

High capacity diverse network 

AARNet worked closely with the School’s IT team to understand the School’s current and future needs to design a cost-effective solution. To boost capacity and mitigate the risk of potential network outages, AARNet built a 10 gigabit per second primary link and 1 gigabit per second backup link into different locations on campus. This diversity in the network design means that if there is an outage on the primary link network traffic can be diverted to the backup link, minimising any impact on the availability of web services. A secure direct private connection over the AARNet network to the Microsoft Azure data centre location optimises the performance of the growing number of services the school is planning to migrate to the cloud.

Advanced web security

Leveraging AARNet’s partnership with CyberHound, a high availability pair of next-generation firewalls were installed as part of the solution. To support the reliable functioning of the high availability architecture, AARNet provides an integrated managed router service to ensure network and security functions are optimally aligned.

Supporting student wellbeing

As well as looking after the students’ physical wellbeing, the School’s responsibilities encompass student pastoral care and online safety. To assist with this the School is using CyberHound’s behavioural analytics platform ClearView, which is offered through the AARNet’s Cyber Security for Schools service in partnership with CyberHound. ClearView identifies at-risk online behaviour and provides the School’s leaders with actionable intelligence that enables timely support to individuals who need it.

“Network diversity and security along with high capacity connectivity has enabled us to embrace cloud services and the efficiencies that come with them. We’ve been able to achieve a huge uplift in our capabilities for a regional school,” said The Rockhampton Grammar School’s IT Manager Neil Nankivell.

This is an excerpt – read the full case study

Find out more about AARNet’s Cyber Security for Schools service

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