E-ACT: “a trust-wide approach to connectivity is making us more resilient”
E-ACT is a multi-academy trust (MAT) with 28 primary and secondary schools across England. Consolidating connectivity with Jisc as a single provider for every site is enhancing the trust’s network security and improving operational efficiencies.
Jisc connectivity specialists worked with E-ACT to develop a trust-wide connectivity plan and roll it out gradually to each academy site. E-ACT network is eduroam-enabled. As the trust rolls eduroam out, its staff will be able to travel between all 28 trust sites – and to other eduroam-connected public sector premises – and gain access to the internet from the minute they arrive.
E-ACT has also adopted Jisc’s web filtering and monitoring framework to make it easier to evaluate and procure a web filtering solution that safeguards students when they access content online and keeps the organisation compliant with its obligations under the anti-terrorism Prevent duty.
And with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) continuing to highlight increasingly common ransomware attacks on UK education organisations cyber security is a number one priority at E-ACT. The trust has been working with us on developing its security systems and response strategy. There’s a security plan in place and Jisc cyber experts will launch a ‘war game’ early in 2022, simulating a cyber-attack on E-ACT to see if they can breach its systems.
“This is an opportunity for us to do something proactive about security, to look for weaknesses and address them, focusing on prevention, response and recovery.”
Chris Wiseman, chief operating officer at E-ACT
Kirklees Council tackles digital inequality through eduroam
The pandemic highlighted how differences in access to connectivity affect students' chances of advancing in their studies. Bringing together connectivity, equipment, and digital skills makes a real difference to their future.
"When I found out we could improve digital connectivity to all learners in the Kirklees area by adding eduroam to govroam at no extra cost, it was an easy decision."
Terence Hudson, Head of technology at Kirklees Council
Rolling out eduroam means people can access the internet and local services wherever they are. For example, students can pop into their local library and get excellent connectivity. With eduroam now available in leisure centres, libraries, council offices and care homes, the council's next step was to use surveys to find out what people have available to them regarding connectivity, devices, and skills. It's about doing more for people and smaller, less populated communities; everyone deserves the same opportunities.
As Kirklees Council were already on govroam, the infrastructure was in place. Eduroam has provided a secure roaming service while protecting the council network and assets, avoiding any disruption. As a result, Kirklees feel they have become more inclusive and focused on supporting everyone.
Digital transformation at Rochford District Council
Rochford District Council in Essex needed to streamline its infrastructure to be in a position to deliver better services to its residents. Thanks to its partnership with Jisc, the council is now working more efficiently and securely, and saving money too.
When Rochford parted company with its previous IT provider, it faced issues with legacy infrastructure, which was putting the brakes on its ambitious digital transformation plans. It was time to change because of a clunky internet connection, confusing contracts with vendors, and high running costs.
Migrating servers to Azure, moving to the cloud, and Microsoft 365 reduced operational costs and allowed collaborative work through Teams. Using the Janet Network strengthened the connection, saved time, and improved services. Previously Rochford had suffered from latency issues that impacted on its staff and residents; the new infrastructure has increased staff confidence and agility.
“It's streamlined, we understand our network and are saving more than £40,000 a year, a huge win for a small council. We wouldn’t have got to where we are without Jisc's help.”
Ami Goulter, ICT business support and relationship manager, Rochford District Council
Moving Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust to the public cloud
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is a leading clinical research organisation as well as one of the UK’s largest hospital trusts, with five hospitals treating around 1.5 million people each year. Its website imperial.nhs.uk is the gateway to the trust’s services for GPs, patients and visitors.
In 2018 the trust’s digital team opted to move the website to the public cloud to boost stability and security, reduce running costs and allow the trust to be more responsive and flexible.
The trust tasked Jisc with planning and managing the migration to Microsoft Azure, and we set up the supporting infrastructure as a ‘greenfield’ deployment. We provisioned all services from code and migrated only data from the legacy system, so we could do most of the work ahead of time and transition from the old to the new seamlessly, with no downtime.
"This project has proved it’s practical to migrate to the public cloud and that stringent information governance requirements can be met. It’s the breakthrough that will lead to new and more efficient ways of working across the organisation.”
Rachel Watson, head of digital
The project is being seen as a trailblazer for more migrations to the cloud at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which wants to digitise more of its internal and external systems and resources such as research data.
Connecting Sunderland to its smart city vision
The city of Sunderland's vision is to be a smart city with ubiquitous connectivity to all remises, both residential and commercial, by 2030. One of the key building blocks is developing 5G millimetre wave connectivity to deliver ultrafast wifi to key locations in the city. This requires a reliable, safe and affordable internet connection – and Jisc’s Janet Network was chosen for exactly those attributes.
The difference it’s making can be seen in Hudson Road Primary School, which was struggling with a 20Mb internet connection – insufficient for streaming content or delivering online classes. We worked with the school to provide a 1GB connection to Janet, and the impact for both pupils and staff has been immense.
“We want to engage and involve pupils and parents alike in a safe environment, allowing them to explore any topic and discover new things quickly and with ease. Our ultrafast 5G connectivity allows us to do just this.”
Cathy Westgate, headteacher at Hudson Road Primary School
As around 80% of Hudson Road parents don’t have the internet at home, Janet access was extended to the school’s communal areas. Parents can come in and use the connectivity via school-provided devices, whether to help with homework or do the weekly shop. It all helps to ensure that no one is left behind in connected Sunderland.
Speeding up roaming for Kent’s public sector staff
It’s common practice for public sector staff to work across multiple sites as part of their jobs but how can they access the internet easily when working across different public sector locations? In Kent they use govroam, a national roaming standard set up by Jisc, to connect effortlessly from libraries to fire stations and from council offices to community centres.
We’ve enabled govroam at more than 500 public sector sites in Kent and Medway, giving public sector workers flexibility as they roam from site to site. If they work at another govroam-enabled location, they don’t have to ask for wireless access codes; instead, their device will connect automatically as soon as they arrive on site.
It helps with collaboration between health and social care as govroam is accessible at six hospitals, alongside healthy living centres and local authority social care sites.
“There are NHS staff who work in hospitals, at borough and district council sites, in doctors’ surgeries, and Kent county council sites. They would have to have multiple logins for all those different organisations – but this takes away that requirement.”
Stuart Cockett, technical service delivery manager at Kent Public Service Network
And because govroam is deployed alongside eduroam at educational sites, it can also offer benefits when public sector workers are deployed at universities and colleges.
Building a portable resilient work environment for Cheltenham Borough Homes
Non-profit Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH) manages Cheltenham Borough Council’s housing stock and runs its housing and homeless service.
CBH moved to the cloud to modernise its digital infrastructure and boost operating efficiencies. The key to the project was to design an overarching system that enables agile working and system access for staff whether they’re in the office or out in the field.
Working as CBH’s cloud partner, we assessed varying staff needs and devised a plan to maximise data storage and increase data accessibility across a number of working environments, moving CBH to Microsoft Office 365 to establish a flexible work environment with infrastructure that is portable and resilient.
“The key to the successful implementation, migration and transfer of data was the knowledge-sharing that happened between Jisc, our current provider and our own IT team through the ‘discovery days’ at the very start of the project. The resulting plan gave us a failsafe, well-architected framework with all the code in Azure Resource Management templates so we could take control of our own data and documents while Jisc facilitated our pilot email migration.”
Louisa Dowsett, corporate project manager at Cheltenham Borough Homes.
Managed solution for TLScontact keeps essential government services online
TLScontact is a long-standing Jisc cloud services customer. It works with governments around the world, providing secure processing for visa and passport applications as well as other citizen services.
A couple of years ago, Jisc moved TLScontact’s fully managed solution out of our datacentre into AWS, which was identified as the most appropriate cloud solution to manage the organisation’s huge database. Jisc have continued to manage it for TLScontact ever since.
Late in 2019, Jisc needed to migrate the portal to new servers to ensure continuing technical support from Microsoft and the application development partner Lokulus wanted to use the opportunity to build a new version of the app to improve functionality for end users. A key project deliverable was that the UK Government’s service must be offline for as short a time as possible.
“Someone, somewhere, always needs to use the portal.”
Russell Stynes, procurement and strategic partner manager at TLScontact
Jisc worked with Lokulus throughout their data migration and initial testing to iron out any connectivity and firewall issues before TLScontact and the Home Office put the system through its paces. Throughout the production, test and acceptance testing stages, Jisc kept the original servers running, putting in a temporary proxy box to make sure normal services were uninterrupted.
“We’ve worked with Jisc for years and we continue to work with them because they get things done. It means we can focus on what we need to do to provide our own client, the UK Government, with a great service.”
Russell Stynes, procurement and strategic partner manager at TLScontact
Research and innovation organisations
Supporting worldwide collaboration with high bandwidth at the European Bioinformatics Institute
The Janet Network is powering the European Bioinformatics Institute and UK Biobank to enable researchers to access data and gain insights into health and disease. By making this data available freely across the globe it enables researchers to put science into action and make discoveries.
The UK Biobank database is hugely valuable, and a major contributor to the advancement of modern medicine and treatment all over the world. Researchers are highly dependent on these large-scale biological data sets to transform future research. These organisations were in need of an infrastructure and Janet Network upgrade as well as data transfer.
“In addition to providing high-bandwidth access to our worldwide audience, Jisc also provide the internal connectivity between our data centres on campus near Cambridge, our leased data centre space in Harlow, and Jisc’s shared data centre space located in Slough."
Steven Newhouse, EMBL-EBI’s head of technical services
Having robust infrastructure in place is enables organisations to collaborate as well as providing long-term storage of data.
Peace of mind for Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) inspires new generations about the vastness of the universe, from coachloads of children on school trips to postgraduate students who work on their PhDs alongside AOP’s staff astronomers carrying out internationally cutting-edge work in several key areas of astrophysics.
When Ciaran Magee, AOP’s ICT manager, joined in 2018, his immediate task was to “make Armagh the ‘place for space’ – make it safer, more secure, more reliable with better uptime”. His first step? To partner with Jisc and connect to the Janet Network.
“We haven't looked back since. We've got the network installed and it’s been rock solid. Now we draw on the cyber protection, the support team, the alerting team, the engineers available for me to use at different times and we've done the penetration testing repeatedly as well. We have used so many other services from Jisc, and all from the initial contract of, ‘give us excellent internet connection’."
Ciaran Magee, AOP’s ICT manager
Easier internet access for researchers at the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute prides itself on creating an inclusive, collaborative environment for its community of researchers. To enable collaboration, it wanted to allow users and academic visitors to access the internet via eduroam on its site, on their own devices. However, new privacy settings on Apple and Android devices made this more challenging.
To solve the problem, they joined an online support clinic for eduroam, run by Jisc. At that clinic, we recommended our trust and identity consultancy team. This solution was to reconfigure the system according to best-practice recommendations, including directing users to the eduroam app to set up a new connection, removing the need for the legacy solution.
“Through all of the work, the campus lost only about five minutes of connectivity which is fantastic; I could have turned to Jisc sooner for their expertise. Eduroam allows our students and staff access wherever they are – and it’s a core service to have that connectivity.”
Cass Flowers, head of IT at the Babraham Institute
The old system required researchers to find their media access control addresses on their phones which can be confusing, not everyone knows what that is or how to find it. Instead, they now just go to the app to connect. Jisc’s dedicated consultant also involved the institute’s user support team in the process to explain the set-up so they are able to answer user questions.
Providing a robust digital lifeline for people in crisis at Samaritans
Samaritans provides 24-hour emotional support for people who are distressed or struggling to cope.
Digital transformation is a priority for the organisation to improve business efficiencies and, even more importantly, to keep pace with the changing behaviours of its service users.
“Our services must be relevant and easy for users to engage with. Younger generations, in particular, conduct their lives online and it’s important that everyone who wants to talk to us can do it in the way that feels comfortable. We also knew public cloud would give our systems the resilience they need, help us save money and give us more flexibility in how we operate.”
Paul Saklatvala, assistant director of IT, Samaritans
Having selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud provider Samaritans searched for a partner to support its digital transformation and found us. The most pressing issue was migration to the cloud and this took just six weeks with minimal downtime for service users.
The next important step was to completely rearchitect the charity’s systems to improve reliability, security and flexibility and to enable cost savings. This project took place over four months in the first half of 2021 and it wasn’t always plain sailing.
Children’s Hospice South West saving time and money to reinvest in essential services
Children's Hospice South West (CHSW) supports children with life-limiting conditions and their families, from South Gloucestershire all the way to the Isles of Scilly. The charity’s three light, bright hospices – in Devon, Cornwall and Bristol – deliver emergency, palliative and end of life care as well as respite care and short breaks in comfortable living spaces where whole families can relax and spend quality time together.
At the start of 2020 CHSW’s head of IT Matt Argyle was overseeing a move to the cloud as part of a digital transformation to enable efficiency improvements and service enhancements across the organisation. But they couldn’t procure the reliable, robust connectivity they needed from the standard corporate networks operating in their region.
The extra mile for an essential cause
Matt contacted us to discuss a solution.
“I knew Jisc goes the extra mile to provide a good service.”
Matt Argyle, head of IT, CHSW
We helped CHSW scope out their requirements, plan the project and get other linked tasks, such as the cloud migration, aligned. The charity’s three connections to the Janet Network went live on schedule in September 2021.
CHSW now has three high availability 100 Mb connections on a gigabit backbone and this enables ‘bursting’. It scales fast to accommodate peaks in demand, for example when there is heavy demand for streaming services, without causing the hospices to overtop their limit. This ability to flex is important because demand for bandwidth can skyrocket when large families arrive to spend time with their children. Now, there is none of the ‘lag’ that sometimes previously afflicted streaming.
Digital transformation at CHSW is making it possible to save time and money to reinvest in essential services.
Most meetings are now routinely virtual, saving many hours of driving time. And the organisation is able to recruit staff from further afield because, with reliable, responsive connectivity, there’s no longer any need to find local people to oversee fundraising in a particular area.
“We’ve done a huge amount of work with Jisc to transform our IT during a very difficult period and it’s good to know we can get ongoing advice and practical support from them if we need it.”
Matt Argyle, head of IT, CHSW
Independent education and academy trusts
Keeping Leicester Grammar School Trust connected
The Leicester Grammar School Trust (LGST) is a family of three independent co-educational day schools based in Great Glen, Leicestershire. The senior and junior school has around 1250 students from nursery all the way up to age 18 – and reliable connectivity in school is crucial.
However, when James Hickens, the trust’s IT manager, took on his role, the school’s broadband was supplied by the local authority and he didn’t feel it was up to scratch.
“I'd worked with Janet previously, at a job at Wolverhampton City Council, so it seemed obvious to approach Jisc. When I’ve had Janet connectivity in the past, it's always been so fast. The connectivity's always been brilliant. The availability's always been superb. The ongoing support you get from them has always been brilliant. So, for us, making that call was an easy decision.”
James Hickens, LGST IT manager
We worked with James to capture his expectations and requirements, making the process easy to manage. Our status as a non-profit was also appealing.
LGST migrated its connectivity to Janet while continuing to manage its firewall itself. The connectivity switch was smooth and the resulting speed and stability means James and his colleagues can spend more time doing the things they need to do to support the school, rather than worrying about whether the connection will hold up for staff and students.
Protecting multiple campuses for the University of Law
The University of Law (ULaw) has nine UK campuses, partnerships with the universities of Reading, Exeter, Liverpool, Sheffield, Chester, Newcastle and East Anglia, international campuses in Berlin and Hong Kong plus an office in Hyderabad, India.
ULaw was one of the first alternative providers to join the Janet network and has made the most of the comprehensive set of services on offer, from the network itself to cybersecurity.
“Having the extra layers of DDoS protection and management by Jisc gives us that extra layer of comfort and backup that our network's being monitored 24/7. We know that if there was to be any particularly suspicious traffic on our network, we would be alerted and we could react if we needed to. Jisc understands the challenges that we have in academia. They understand that the student must be at the centre of everything and that we must always have a service available.”
Tom Brady, chief information officer at ULaw
The increase in uptime compared to ULaw’s previous provider and the fact that any maintenance is scheduled for out of hours so it has no impact on the business, all points to what, for Tom, is a fundamental difference with Jisc’s service.
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