Case Study: RM Dudley

Dudley Schools protect their data with DESlock+


The schools of Dudley Metropolitan Borough, with the help of RM Education plc, are now able to conform to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recommendations that portable, mobile devices and media are encrypted to guard against compromise. By investing in DESlock+, an easily managed encryption product, Dudley's schools can secure all of their mobile data against the threat of lost or stolen information.

In Safe Hands

The Dudley Grid for Learning is a Private Finance Initiative partnership which has provided Dudley schools with a fully managed ICT service since 1999. It encompasses network infrastructure, hardware, educational and curriculum software titles, schools management information systems (MIS), help-desk, training, network and technical support. The Council's private sector partner is RM Education based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Encryption in Education

Before closing in March 2011, the UK public body Becta developed a number of good practice guides to help staff and contractors within schools, colleges and universities tasked with implementing data security and the protection of personal and sensitive data. Although Becta no longer exists, the guidance issued regarding encryption still stands as a balanced and realistic basis for any school or college needing to deploy and manage encryption within a sound security policy.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recommends that portable and mobile devices, including portable media and any other device or medium that is removed from or accessed outside of the physical secure space should be encrypted to guard against compromise. Also recommended is the secure deletion of any data no longer required and the encryption of data being transmitted electronically between systems and locations, such as when using email.

Shirley Hackett, Education Lead Officer from Dudley Grid for Learning, commented:

"For schools, the secure management of sensitive personal data is a big issue and several schools and local authorities have been fined for losing unencrypted laptops and memory sticks. It was important to Dudley schools that we conformed to the recommendations, and were seen to treat our data seriously."

RM is very aware of the issues of protecting data having worked with DESlock+ since early 2008. The aim of this collaboration was to make certain that DESlock+ addresses the needs of teachers and other education staff in a typical environment. Consequently the DESlock+ user experience and feature set have been directly influenced by teaching staff through feedback and consultation with RM.

DESlock+ helps organisations to protect against all types of data breach by offering simple, yet extremely powerful, encryption. It's full disk and removable media encryption protects laptop computers against the unexpected, file, folder and email encryption allow fully secure collaboration across complex workgroups and team boundaries.

Implementation and Beyond

Richard Cornell,Technical Solution Architect and Information Security Officer for RM and responsible for the Dudley Grid for Learning, was responsible for this implementation of DESlock+.

Richard takes up the story:

"RM's managed service operates a central DESlock+ management server with the RM support team managing the installation and configuration of the product including issuing encryption keys and helping users with the product. Both the setup and configuration of the product is very straightforward and was easily installed on RM Community Connect 4 managed desktop and laptop computers, thus allowing all features of DESlock+ to be accessed without the worry of key management and lost password recovery. The greatest advantage of DESlock+ is its ability to manage users and devices via the internet, independent of network or directory structure. This is vital in situations where all, part, or none of the users and workstations are active directory members. The DESlock+ Enterprise Server allows complete control from nothing more than an internet connection and therefore allows control of data security beyond the schools' CC4 networks.

The support provided by the DESlock+ team is always fantastic and they are always ready to incorporate changes to better support RM. DESlock+ is a very important product in RM's security arsenal, and with the help of this kind of product and support allows us to service our educational clients with high end technology at affordable prices."

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council awarded RM Education a ground breaking new 10 year contract for Dudley Grid for Learning, commencing in February 2011 with 108 schools in Dudley (over 98%) participating in the service.

DESlock+ is available from RM Education PLC as part of a joint venture to provide accredited, simple and affordable encryption to Schools. RM expertise and experience means that introducing encryption to your school, college or university is fast and effective, and won't impact real working practice.

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