North East Learning Trust – Smoothwall Filter Case Study
What’s the background?
North East Learning Trust is a multi-academy educational trust based in the north east of England that was established in 2014. Their trust is founded on a deeply held principle that every child has the right to an excellent education. With over 200 staff and 6,000 pupils, online safety is a key concern and they were struggling to provide comprehensive web filtering and were unable to utilise a BYOD feature due to authentication issues with their existing systems.
Don Balmer, Head of IT Services ensures that their solution meets current security and safeguarding requirements to protect their staff and students online.
What was the challenge?
Don Balmer, Head of IT Services, said that their previous solution, Bloxx, was too labour intensive, with students finding loopholes within the web filtering quicker than they could block them. With the responsibility of safeguarding thousands of students and staff from harmful online content, it was essential to find a solution that was more comprehensive.
North East Learning Trust was previously unable to filter mobile devices as it opened up a lot of compatibility issues regarding authentication when using their previous solution. They required a solution that was able to integrate with their wireless network to authenticate users.
How Smoothwall helped
After an extensive evaluation process, the North East Learning Trust chose Smoothwall, which has allowed them to spend less time worrying about their web filtering and authentication. Previously they were dealing with daily hacks from students to get around blocked content that took up a lot of time and resources to repair, now they are able to focus less on the day to day maintenance of their solution.
Don Balmer said that the solution “allows you to integrate Smoothwall into your wireless network and the authentication, allowing us to provide accessible and secure BYOD filtering for the first time.” This meant that they were able to use school resources such as iPads in a meaningful way while keeping their devices safe. “The Smoothwall reporting feature allows all web traffic to be assigned to an individual user and custom reports to be created.”
“Smoothwall allows us to relax and enforce policies that need implementing while giving us the confidence factor. There isn’t anything it can’t handle!”
North East Learning Trust chose to implement the Smoothwall solution themselves. “With excellent service from the end of the phone, support are always available to help us. We don’t have many problems, so that is a good thing!”
“Support has been very helpful, we have asked a lot of questions and they have helped with all of them – they have managed to resolve any issues, no matter how big or small they may be – unlike other products we have used.”
“It’s an end to end – all in one box, securing the network and providing excellent filtering all in one appliance.”
With excellent service from the end of the phone, support are always available to help us. We don’t have many problems, so that is a good thing!