IT security and data protection firm Sophos has been working in partnership with South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) to make the purchasing of IT security solutions simpler and more cost effective for schools in the South West region of the United Kingdom.
SWGfL is a not for profit, charitable trust company, set up by the 15 local authorities across the South West of England. SWGfL provides maintained schools and many other educational establishments throughout the region with broadband internet connectivity, virtual learning solutions, internet and IT safety and security. In June 2011 SWGfL partnered with Sophos to provide IT security solutions to the schools it supports.
Since then, SWGfL has been providing schools with significant cost savings by passing on the discounted rates it secures from bulk purchasing licences at a reduced education rate. This has even greater significance for smaller primary, independent or free schools purchasing individually, as well as academies.
Whereas they would not ordinarily be able to take advantage of large economies of scale, procuring Sophos licences via SWGfL allows them to purchase small numbers of licences, achieving cost savings of over 80% in some cases. This is all backed up with Sophos’s platinum support package, the highest level available to users, ensuring that in the event of a problem, schools can be back up and running as quickly as possible, so that pupil learning is not affected.
Richard Harrison, chief operating officer at SWGfL, said, “We’ve been delighted with the take-up from schools and authorities in the South West, which demonstrates that the value for money solutions we’re providing have really met a need in schools. To achieve this, SWGfL, Sophos and Phoenix Software have all worked in close partnership together, and both Sophos and Phoenix have been easy to deal with, flexible and very focused on finding solutions that actually work for schools.”
Wiltshire schools were the first to benefit from the cost savings, with nearly 20,000 Sophos endpoint licences purchased by schools in the county. Schools from Somerset, Cornwall, Swindon, Bristol and other local authorities are also purchasing via SWGfL.
Allison Clark, network manager at Worle Community School in Weston-Super-Mare, said, “The Sophos offer via SWGfL is fantastic. I was literally about to purchase through my normal channel but for the price of one year, I now have three and a half years' cover.”
As public sector organisations remain under pressure from government austerity measures, schools and other education establishments are required to limit expenditure without putting the safety of pupils, or the quality of their education, at risk.
Network security is increasingly challenging for schools as the internet becomes an ever important learning tool. It has therefore become crucial for security companies to work closely with the education sector to provide solutions that ensure that children and staff are provided with a safe while still productive IT environment.
“Below par or poorly configured IT security solutions not only leave pupils open to a variety of threats and inappropriate content, but can also restrict access to legitimate learning materials” said Ollie Hart, head of public sector at Sophos. “We understand the importance for schools to make sure that their IT security provides the best levels of protection, without being unnecessarily limiting.”
Sophos Endpoint Security and Control (ES&C) licences are available to the schools supported by SWGfL. In addition to defending endpoints against viruses, Trojans and other malware attacks, ES&C is ideal for the education environment, as it enables individual applications to be controlled, enabling systems to be configured to only block disruptive or counter-productive applications, without overly-restricting users. Schools served by SWGfL can also choose to protect their data using Sophos’s SafeGuard Enterprise solution. This encrypts the data stored on laptops and removable media, keeping confidential and sensitive information secure, with the added benefit of being able to prove that data was encrypted in the event that a device is lost or stolen.
Schools can purchase Sophos licences directly via the dedicated portal at: https://www.phoenixs.co.uk/swgfl/
About South West Grid for Learning
The SWGfL Trust has evolved into a leading IT educational organisation in the South-West, facilitating regional collaboration and development. SWGfL has pioneered work in the field of Internet Safety since 2003 with great success. Together with our partners we work hard to protect children, parents and anyone else who works with young people. SWGfL was chosen by the European Commission to lead the UK Safer Internet Centre from January 2011 in partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation and Childnet.
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.