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Ballarat Clarendon College
31 July, 2019

Co-developing a cyber security solution for schools

Ballarat Clarendon College implements an improved managed security service from AARNet in partnership with CyberHound.

When Ballarat Clarendon College was searching for a security solution they turned to AARNet and CyberHound as collaborators. The trio have co-developed a cyber security platform that offers an integrated set of network and security services to all AARNet Direct Connect schools.

Ballarat Clarendon College is a school where learning comes first and is not confined to the classroom. It is a coeducational school associated with the Uniting Church in Australia, enrolling students from Early Learning to Year 12. The College has a number of campuses catering for different year levels and learning experiences. In addition to their 1,200 day students they cater for a community of 150 boarding students.

How to balance online access with securing and protecting data?

The College’s learning environment has progressively transitioned to a predominantly digital experience, placing greater demands on the network. Providing high speed access to cloud based services and online learning resources, whilst also securing and protecting data to ensure they meet compliance and regulatory requirements was a constant challenge and a key focus for the College.

Of further importance was the health and wellbeing of its students. In this new connected world, the College felt it lacked adequate visibility and controls to identify exactly what was happening across the network. With a 24x7 duty of care and special considerations for their boarding students, enhanced visibility to support pastoral care efforts has become increasingly important.

The existing managed security solution was restricted in terms of performance, security and functionality and did not sufficiently cater for the specific requirements of a K-12 education environment. As the demands on the network grew it was unable to cope with these changing requirements and they needed more.

Co-developing a solution

With such business critical requirements, the College’s ICT team wanted to ensure that they implemented a solution to meet current and future needs. To achieve this goal, they turned to the expertise of their trusted network infrastructure partner AARNet (Australia’s Academic and Research Network) as a collaborator. Following an extensive review and testing process, leading security provider CyberHound was selected to partner with AARNet and the College to co-develop a solution specifically for schools directly connected to the AARNet network.

Both AARNet and CyberHound have extremely strong pedigrees in the education sector, with a combined 50 yeas of sector-targeted service development and innovation and a similar long term approach to customer satisfaction.

A key requirement for the solution was performance to maximize the College’s high speed AARNet network service while allowing scalability for the future. The solution needed to provide comprehensive security capabilities and best practice support and change management processes to ensure the same high standard of service reliability the College has experienced from AARNet over many years.

With CyberHound’s capabilities, the solution provides a broad range of differentiated and specialised security and application controls, including full SSL visibility, enhanced malware/threat detection and granular reporting with CyberHound’s XGen platform. Data visibility was enhanced with the ability to log key data to the College’s intelligent central data repository.

The College’s student welfare program was enhanced through the inclusion of CyberHound’s behavioural analytics technology, ClearView. This capability delivers a new level of visibility, reporting and actionable intelligence to assist staff in providing immediate support for students.

“We didn’t have the deep visibility or control before implementing this new AARNet CyberHound solution. Now with Clearview we have the tools to see exactly what is happening on the network. Since implementing this service, we have confidence that we can identify and act upon a number of concerning behavioural trends that we would have had no visibility of before,” said Adam Ryan, Infrastructure and ICT Manager at Ballarat Clarendon College.

Key Benefits

One of the key benefits Ballarat Clarendon College has enjoyed is working with partners who totally understand the requirements of the education environment.

“The process of engaging and collaborating with AARNet and CyberHound ensured the College met its requirements and the transition to the service was seamless. The CyberHound team understood our environment quickly, better than any other company we have encountered. They had our environment configured and running overnight, and offered us some very valuable best practice advice. This level of experience and knowledge really instilled confidence and allayed any apprehension for us transitioning such a critical service. The service levels subsequent to the implementation have been second to none and of the highest levels we have experienced in any service arrangement,” said Adam Ryan.

The AARNet and CyberHound solution for AARNet Direct Connect schools is delivering other benefits to the College, including improved network security and data protection; enhanced visibility and control with customisable reporting; improved throughput for enhanced network performance; superior quality of service with best practice change management; and responsive support by highly experienced industry experts.

“We were very impressed that both the AARNet and CyberHound Senior Management team made themselves available to work collaboratively to achieve the best solution for our school and that we can pick up the phone to them as we need,” Adam said.

“As part of our long term strategy we are committed to developing cyber security capabilities that meet the specific needs of the research and education communities. After extensive market research and customer consultation, CyberHound was selected as both a natural and complimentary partner with the same core values, brand integrity and service record to the sector. The co-development process has yielded a solution that meets the needs of the College and affirms our confidence in the choice of CyberHound as an essential element of the AARNet Cyber Security for Schools service,” said Nick Cross, Portfolio Manager, AARNet.

We were very impressed that both the AARNet and CyberHound Senior Management team made themselves available to work collaboratively to achieve the best solution for our school and that we can pick up the phone to them as we need.”

Ballarat Clarendon College
Adam Ryan

Infrastructure and ICT Manager, Ballarat Clarendon College