A roll-out of new cyber security technology to schools has been boosted by the addition of four more partners and has now reached the halfway mark.
The technology will help protect schools, teachers and their students against a rise of online threats, Crown company Network for Learning (N4L) has revealed.
More than 1300 of the 2450-plus New Zealand schools using N4L’s managed network internet services are now protected by enterprise-grade firewall and web filtering systems.
Last September, N4L named eight roll-out panel members: AIS Corporation, Cyclone Computers, Isometric Solutions, New Era IT, Norrcom, Smart Computer Systems, Schooled Up IT, and Telco Technology Services (TTS).
Since then it has added Entity Hub, Fusion Networks, Revolutionise IT and Support IT to the panel.
The cyber security roll-out is the first phase of a wider upgrade to N4L’s Managed Network, and will improve a schools’ protection against online threats, such as phishing and ransomware.
Furthermore, the deployment aims to provide more advanced web filtering tools to keep students safer online; and will better equip schools to block the use of VPNs (virtual private networks) used by students attempting to bypass web filtering.
N4L CEO Larrie Moore said the roll-out is progressing on schedule and within budget, with all schools scheduled to receive the new technology by the end of June, thanks to a partnership involving Fortinet, Spark New Zealand, and the 12 panel members.
Chris Jarnet, principal of Ngaruawahia High School in the Waikato, said the safety and well-being of students was a priority.
"The transition to N4L’s new security system was very smooth, and I am very happy with the end result," Jarnet said.
A total of 92.2 per cent of the 511 respondents to a satisfaction survey also indicated that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the transition.
The next phase of the nationwide managed network upgrade programme will be providing eligible schools with access to bandwidth speeds of 1Gb by October.
N4L will also be rolling out new reporting tools to help schools better understand and manage student internet use, including how much bandwidth they are using; which apps are using this bandwidth; and potential breaches of the school’s internet use policy.