Staffordshire schools lock down data with DESlock+
Staffordshire County Council advises schools to conform to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidance to guard against compromise, by recommending the use of DESlock+ for encryption of their data. DESlock+ is commissioned and managed by Staffordshire Learning Technologies (SLT), so schools do not have to perform any management tasks but are reassured that the data is secure.
Staffordshire Learning Technologies (SLT) is a traded arm of Staffordshire County Council, providing Audio Visual and ICT Services to Staffordshire's Schools, Learning Establishments and Business Units.
An audit of the school systems identified a requirement for schools to protect the sensitive information that was held on the management information system servers. SLT recognised that encryption of the data on a server operating system was not a common requirement but to comply with the ICO recommendations, SLT undertook a review of available products to achieve this aim.
SLT investigated a number of solutions, including drive level hardware encryption and the use of a TPM chip. Hardware encryption was quickly ruled out due to the use of VMware virtual platform being used on the servers. On investigation of the software encryption options, it was quickly established that DESlock+ met all the requirements and SLT started work on implementation of this solution.
Mastering the Management
Andy Arnold, CS Team Leader of System Solutions at Staffordshire Learning Technologies (SLT) was responsible for the extensive evaluation and implementation of DESlock+. Andy details the set up and some of the complexities of the implementation:
"The DESlock Enterprise Server is hosted by SLT. Agents are installed on each new server commissioned and are managed by the SLT central server with client setup and configuration being performed by SLT engineers. The service desk has the ability, following stringent security questioning and telephone callback checks, to provide unlock codes in the event of any users forgetting passwords. This procedure ensures smooth operations without compromising security.
Apart from the product functionality, one of the key reasons for choosing DESlock+, is that the local server is synchronised to DESlock's cloud service. This means that in the event of any outage or unforeseen disaster, the cloud service will continue to manage clients and enable swift recovery of the local server. We found this to be a unique feature at the time of investigation.
Another driving feature was that DESlock+ deals with secure client communications across the public network without the need for firewall configuration at our data-centre.
DESlock Limited also worked closely with ourselves in developing and ensuring the client was compatible with our hardware choice before any purchase was made."
SLT now have an ongoing programme to replace over 300 school servers, and each one will be encrypted using DESlock+.
Made for Mobile
Although SLT initially chose DESlock+ just to meet the audit requirements of the servers, they are now offering an encryption service for mobile devices within the schools. They administer the system for the customer so individual network administrators can concentrate on their daily tasks, safe in the knowledge that identified devices are encrypted and protected, with no additional learning of new software or procedures necessary.
Andy Arnold comments: " SLT hold bi-annual seminars and regularly present sessions to over 200 schools representatives on the importance of data protection for mobile devices and DESlock+ is the tool of choice in Staffordshire.
As a service provider and working to service-level agreements, it is reassuring that we can recommend, procure, commission and support an encryption solution which helps keep continuity across Staffordshire educational establishments, reducing overall costs."
Staffordshire Learning Technologies (SLT) provides a full range of consultancy, design, installation, training and support services with the primary aim of delivering high quality, cost effective Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services to learning establishments.
SLT's mission is to become the Information And Communication Technology (ICT) supplier of choice for learning establishments throughout Staffordshire, leading those establishments through the ever developing learning roadmap.