Long Road Sixth Form College is based in Cambridge. With 2200 students, it is one of the largest in East Anglia. The organisation’s IT estate comprises of 50 servers - half virtual, half physical - 1200 PCs, 300 laptops and 150 Macs. Its main aim is to make learning as easy and effective as possible for students while maintaining high levels of examination success.
Following the rising popularity of tablets and mobile devices in the education sector, Long Road decided to implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.
In order to make this work, a new wi-fi system with SSID covering every classroom and common room on campus was required. The new network was also required to allow visibility and control over devices.
It was hoped that by implementing BYOD, prospective students would be more attracted to Long Road, as well as allowing the institution to cut costs and improve IT staff workload.
“We discussed purchasing tablets for student use but the cost, inconvenience and management overhead was prohibitive,” said Jason Dear, IT services manager.
The required solution needed to be able to integrate seamlessly with the existing IT estate with quick deployment and no interruptions.
Long Road decided to take a look at other education organisations to take inspiration from their IT and BYOD policies and procedures.
It was hoped the chosen vendor would allow the business problem to be solved in its entirety.
Foursys developed a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the education institution to examine the next-generation network access control (NAC) capabilities. It was pleased with the results.
After researching ForeScout’s CounterAct product, Long Road decided it liked the control and visibility the firm could offer.
“ForeScout was by far the better solution – and I can’t recommend it highly enough for BYOD deployments,” claimed Dear after explaining how the firm compared with other potential vendors.
He added that the chosen supplier could offer remediation and application control without installing agents, unlike the other providers considered.
Dear said he enjoyed an “excellent” relationship with ForeScout that has achieved great results for the college.
The quick, seamless integration and deployment required was achieved – although there was one minor issue with a wireless controller, this was quickly rectified within a week.
Staff in the IT department now have more free time as they are no longer obligated to maintain a fleet of computers. Instead, the only complaints they must deal with are students who are struggling to connect to the wi-fi.
Because ForeScout CounterAct offers real-time visibility of devices connected to the network and provides broad infrastructure interoperability, the security of the college’s Internet has increased significantly, upping the productivity of students in the process.
The next step for Long Road Sixth Form College is to encourage students to consider BYOD as their first option to further reduce the need for large numbers of PCs and laptops on campus.