Service Birmingham Selects Sophos to Protect School Children's Data

September 21, 2010 Sophos Press Release

September 21, 2010 - Oxford, UK - Through a new agreement between Sophos and Link2ICT, Sophos's innovative encryption solution, SafeGuard Enterprise, will be implemented across hundreds of Birmingham schools, to further improve the security of data held on school children.

Link2ICT is the division within Service Birmingham that provides Learning and Management solutions for ICT. Building on its steadfast relationship with Sophos, Link2ICT is leading the field in making the provision of encryption services available to all schools in Birmingham to help protect pupil data. Following an extensive trial on a number of devices at a selection of schools in the authority, all data on encryption enabled laptops will be fully protected by Sophos's industry-leading data protection technology.

Link2ICT has invested in a number of Sophos SafeGuard Enterprise licences to provide additional and robust data protection for primary and secondary schools in the Birmingham area. While most secondary schools, which typically have dedicated IT Network Managers, will manage the technology themselves, Link2ICT's technicians will manage the encryption technology centrally for primary schools.

Steve Hayes, Head of Solutions Design at Link2ICT said, "For several years we have been working with schools to assist them in meeting the Government's demands for improved data security. Having conducted research into the solutions currently on the market, we decided that Sophos's SafeGuard Enterprise was the most suited solution to help protect the data of Birmingham students from falling into the wrong hands." He continued: "Partnering with Sophos allows us to offer our schools a solution that will not only allow them to protect and manage all connected devices and users (including laptops, desktops and any removable media), but will also assist with security policies, enforcing consistent rules for encryption, authentication, user privileges, individuals and groups working within varied IT environments."

Today's announcement further cements Link2ICT's existing relationship of over ten years with Sophos. The IT security company already protects the majority of Birmingham's schools from viruses and other malicious threats through its Endpoint Security product. Now Sophos is working closely with Service Birmingham to advise both primary and secondary schools throughout the authority and help them take advantage of the crucial new data protection capabilities available on teacher's devices.

Ciaran Rafferty, vice president - UK & Ireland at Sophos, said: "We're delighted to be working with Service Birmingham and Link2ICT on this project. We've seen a number of high profile data protection cases in the past few years which, together with the new data protection fines of up to £0.5m, mean that local authorities are increasingly aware of their responsibilities with regard to the public's personal data. This is particularly relevant where it concerns the most vulnerable members of our society. Many schools do not have the resources to deal with evolving issues of data protection and yet the security of pupil data is crucial. Service Birmingham is leading the field in making the provision of encryption services on teachers' laptops and computers available to all schools in its area to help protect pupil data."

In addition to the trust already established between Sophos and Link2ICT, the authority chose Sophos SafeGuard Enterprise for a number of reasons:

  • Ability to upgrade between full disk encryption and removable devices.
  • It was fully compliant with Single Sign On
  • The licence works on a per machine not per user basis
  • It provides flexible authentication for full disk encryption

About Service Birmingham

Service Birmingham is a Unique Strategic Partnership between Birmingham City Council and Capita, with the principal focus on the provision of cost effective, world class ICT services and supporting the Council in achieving its objectives. Link2ICT is the learning and knowledge division of Service Birmingham; providing ICT services and solutions for all ages. Currently supporting over 450 schools, 69 Adult Education establishments nationwide and local community projects that deliver ICT to 1500 homes, Link2ICT ensures everyone within its learning community is fully supported in their use of ICT.