Royal Russell School is “different by design”- a coeducational independent day and boarding school based in South London that values the things that make each pupil distinctively brilliant. With 1,100 pupils aged three to 18 under its tutelage and 110-acres of facilities, this vibrant and ambitious community requires the highest levels of security to ensure proper safeguarding, and to protect its own systems from malicious attack.
Protecting more than book bags
Royal Russell needed to safeguard its children online. It specifically needed to uphold their data rights in data protection law, as children are classified as vulnerable data subjects. This meant Royal Russell needed an enterprise-class threat detection system to protect its community as they browsed the web and accessed applications in the cloud.
With end-of-life web security, it was clear they needed to engage a new solution to protect its large school community of 1,500 users including pupils and staff. In 2015, Royal Russell first engaged with Censornet channel partner, Managed Security Solutions (MSS), to replace their current Web Security. After an extended trial they then purchased Censornet’s Web Security and Cloud Application Security (CASB) as their first line of defence.
Mark Hayden, IT Manager at Royal Russell School said:
“It is essential that all our staff and pupils have secure access to the web as a lot of our information is hosted in Microsoft 365 and other third-party apps. We need to make sure that when anyone accesses a website it’s not going to be full of adverts which could be subjected to a malware attack. Most importantly, our pupils must be safe in the sites they are able to access. We have a duty of care and Censornet helps us with our due diligence.”
However, Royal Russell soon realised that it needed to protect its users across not just web, but its wider ecosystem. According to the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, 41 percent of primary and 70 percent of secondary schools identified a breach or an attack in the last 12 months. They also needed to protect the number one attack surface: email, and effective email filtering was vital.
MSS recommended Censornet’s Email Security. Since 2019, Royal Russell have been using it continuously to protect its school community from known, unknown and emerging email security threats, such as phishing and spam. Sergio Masud, Security Consultant at MSS said:
“This offered the school a single pane of glass for email and web to manage staff and pupils on both their wired and wireless networks.”
Taking an integrated approach
By working with Censornet, the school was able to combine attack intelligence across their email, web and cloud application security (CASB) solutions, to stop cross-channel attacks. This enabled Royal Russell to protect against web-borne malware and offensive and inappropriate content. The school is now also able to effectively manage time spent on websites, as well as review user interactions across cloud applications. It has complete visibility of any attack, at every stage, across any device or application. Royal Russell also needed rule-based granularity to make sure access was personalised to each pupil and teacher. The school provides different permission levels to the junior school, the senior school, and the boarding community who need access and support at different times of day.
Visibility across the board
User experience is a key reason why Royal Russell chose Censornet over other solutions. “The main dashboard gives you a very clear view of what’s happening in email, web and cloud security,” Mark explains. “It’s like a pane of glass: you can see everything from emails coming in, to blocked websites. We have great visibility of the three distinct but complementary products. I then have the flexibility to drill down into each of those modules to investigate particular groups of users.”
Support for success
Censornet’s responsive customer support ensures Royal Russell can confidently safeguard its 1,500 online users and adapt and respond to any problems. “We have either email or telephone support. We fire off an email and within about half an hour, we’ll get a response back from the team. That’s been exceptional so we’re very happy with that. If we phone up, we receive great service straight away,” Mark says. “The system was also set up correctly from day one by Censornet, and my team have been able to make any tweaks we needed with no issues.”