LanDynamix has implemented Fortigate, Fortinet’s firewall appliance, at Michael Mount Waldorf School in Bryanston, Johannesburg. The firewall is offered as part of a managed security offering, thus avoiding capital expense for the school.
Like all leading schools, Michael Mount Waldorf School relies increasingly on IT to provide optimal learning and teaching experiences for both staff and pupils. For the school administrators, it is vital to be sure that the IT environment is available and functioning well — and that includes ensuring that it is not at risk from the malware and other cyber-threats that are a fact of digital life.
Fortinet’s Fortigate is a next-generation firewall appliance designed to secure corporate IT environments using leading-edge technology and services. FortiGate reduces complexity with automated visibility into applications, users and network and provides security ratings to adopt security best practices.
“As Michael Mount’s IT support provider, we knew how important it was that the IT environment was secure. At the same time, like all education institutions, budget is always a challenge because the ideal is to spend as much of it as possible on education — that’s why the managed services approach made such a lot of sense. Fortigate is an appliance, but the school did not have to purchase it outright,” says Dane Walker, cloud infrastructure manager at LanDynamix.
Because the firewall is offered as a managed service, LanDynamix is responsible for proactively monitoring the device, installing any patches and ensuring that new equipment or applications are protected. Any viruses and malware are thus prevented from entering Michael Mount’s IT estate.
Schools have extremely high numbers of users, as compared to a typical company, so require a large appliance to handle the traffic — clearly something that would drive capital expenses up. The high number of users would also impact licence fees. Both of these are avoided through the “as-a-service” model, as the appliance is not purchased outright, and the licencing fees are also covered by the monthly charge.
Other benefits of the managed service approach include the fact that LanDynamix automatically backs up the configuration data on the firewall twice daily. Because the configuration settings are extremely complex, this simple housekeeping means that in the unlikely event of a device failure, the firewall can be restored quickly.
LanDynamix also uses Fortinet Analytics to provide in-depth reporting so that the school can easily obtain an overview of bandwidth usage. This is of general management use, and is particularly useful in enabling administrators to identify abuse of the school IT system by pupils.
“For us, the simple monthly cost was a huge draw card — no need to budget for licence fees or upgrades. As important, though, is the peace of mind we get from knowing that our trusted support partner is not only managing the appliance itself but also undertaking the associated tasks to ensure our environment is as secure as it can possibly be,” says Hamish Brand, bursar, Michael Mount Waldorf School.