Case Study

Higher Education

A Top 20 University with thousands of staff and students spread across the UK and beyond required a reliable remote access solution that would work regardless of where they were accessing the network. The complexity of the configuration was increased as the network spanned several geographic locations and the number of connectivity scenarios requested by the customer required multiple solutions.

Requirements

  • Legacy VPN limitations: The university faced challenges with their existing VPN solution, which couldn’t handle the increasing demand for remote access effectively.
  • Performance issues: Many staff members reported performance issues, including intermittent loss of connectivity while using online services.
  • Complex network configuration: The university’s network spanned multiple geographic locations, with varying connectivity scenarios, making it difficult to route traffic optimally to specific servers.

Solution Benefits

  • Enhanced remote access: By implementing F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM), the university achieved better remote access for staff and students, overcoming the limitations of the legacy VPN product.
  • Compatibility and integration: F5 BIG-IP APM offers compatibility with various authentication systems and seamlessly integrates with other F5 modules like F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) for secure application solutions beyond standard VPN capabilities.
  • Training and support: FullProxy provided in-house training for the university’s help desk, network, and F5 teams, ensuring they were equipped to handle any issues with the F5 solution. Continuous consultancy support is also offered, providing timely assistance with troubleshooting requirements.
  • Improved performance and security: The F5 solutions implemented have enhanced performance and security, addressing connectivity issues and providing protection against cyber-attacks.
  • Tailored solutions: The F5 solutions were tailored to meet the specific needs of remote learners, ensuring high-performance access for off-campus users.

The Challenge

Limited by the functionality of a legacy VPN product, it was proving increasingly difficult to provide stable remote connectivity as demand for remote working increased. Performance issues were reported by many staff members, and others experienced intermittent loss of connectivity while using online services. Due to the university’s use of public and private addressing within its internal network it was difficult to know how to route traffic optimally to specific servers.

According to Gov.UK , around 50% of all Further and Higher Education institutions identified breaches or attacks between 2022-2023.

What we did

FullProxy’s expert consultants solved the issues that the university was facing by configuring F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) to meet their needs for better remote access for staff and students. 

F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) offers compatibility with numerous authentication systems, ensuring optimized access control while seamlessly integrating with other F5 modules including F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) to provide secure application solutions beyond standard VPN capabilities. FullProxy provided in-house training for the University’s help desk, network, and F5 teams so that they knew what to do if the F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) had any issues. We also installed F5 BIG-IP DNS to provide global server load balancing across data centres to ensure application availability and resilience. 

The National Cyber Security Centre states that in August 2018, researchers discovered over 300 fake websites and login pages for 76 universities across 14 countries, including the UK. Victims were likely directed to the fake websites by email. After entering their credentials into the fake login page, their credentials were stolen, and the victims redirected to the legitimate university website.

The Result

The University has now implemented a secure VPN environment to address remote access control and connectivity issues, enhancing protection against cyber-attacks and ensuring high-performance access for off-campus users. The F5 solutions used have been tailored to meet the specific needs of remote learners. Additionally, FullProxy now offers continuous consultancy support to the network and infrastructure teams, providing timely assistance with any troubleshooting requirements.

Are you looking to improve remote access for your organisation? Contact us to arrange a demo with one of our consultants today.