Barnsley College Selects Sophos to Protect Students from Online

September 15, 2010 Sophos Press Release

Barnsley College, a large tertiary college serving Barnsley and the surrounding areas of South Yorkshire, has chosen Sophos to protect its 6,000+ students from malware and inappropriate online content at the internet gateway.

Given that the majority of its large student base falls between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, Barnsley College was keen to step up the level of protection it was providing for students by putting in another layer of control at the gateway to filter emails and monitor web access. The move is part of the College's commitment to safeguarding young children and adult learners.

The College chose Sophos's email and web appliances to do the job as they allowed them to put policies in place that would not only protect users but would also prevent any potential misuse of the system by the College's enthusiastic young users. Both the email and web appliances also provide the IT team with excellent reporting facilities to allow them full traceability of what is being accessed internally and what is being sent out via the system. With the IT network spanning seven separate buildings with another on the way next year, as well as the need to maintain two separate domains - teachers and students - management of the College's IT resources is no simple task.

Another issue for the College was granularity of access to different types of content since a blanket approach to filtering does not work in an environment where students are studying topics that often call for access to filtered content. Sophos's appliances allow the College to provide different groups of students with different content as Mark Kendrick, IT Manager at Barnsley College, explains: "Using policies, we have been able to provide some much-needed granularity between different student groups. We wanted to be able to give more control to tutors over the content delivered to their students depending on what subject they are studying, for example criminal law or health and social care. Because setting policies is so easy with Sophos's appliances we have been able to give the lecturers control over this area."

The final key outcome for the College's IT department was to improve the online experience for its students and lecturers alike by speeding up access to email and online content. The College's firewall was causing considerable delays in delivering and sending email because there was so much spam clogging up the system. By eliminating spam at the gateway, the Sophos Email Appliance will provide significant improvements in the speed of email delivery.

Mark Kendrick comments again: "We looked at a lot of different products. With over 6,000 students potentially wanting to access the college network, we needed devices that would handle the kind of throughput generated by such large numbers of students. With seven different buildings to protect already, we move into another new building next year and need to future proof whatever we do now. As a result, we decided to go for two appliances so we could balance the load."

Sophos Email Appliances provide simple, powerful protection against spam, malware and data loss. With a choice of 3 models and easy clustering, these managed appliances scale to meet the needs of any organisation. For more information visit the Sophos website here:

http://www.sophos.com/products/enterprise/web/security-and-control/appliances/index.html

About Barnsley College

Barnsley College is a large tertiary college with several subject specific facilities across the town. It serves learners of different ages and abilities from Barnsley and the surrounding areas of South Yorkshire, providing A Levels, vocational and work based learning courses.The College aims to be an outstanding tertiary college providing an inclusive learning environment for all.