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Saasyan & Palo Alto Networks Solution For The Southport School - Case Study

Saasyan & Palo Alto Networks Solution For The Southport School

Ransomeware Attacks Now A Blast From The Past For The Southport School

The Southport School (TSS) Anglican K-12 school for boys located on the Gold Coast in Australia consumed many terabytes of data across the school’s dual internet connections each day. 

This was caused by the constant use of technology by staff and students. The school had been targeted on several occasions with ransomware attacks and identified the need for enterprise-grade, next-generation firewall infrastructure to manage the high volume of data and protect the school from attacks.

The school implemented the TSS Diligence Scale to identify specific behaviours that optimise academic success with ‘use of technology’ being one of five criteria used to guide student learning. A simple-to-use reporting system for teachers, leaders the wellbeing team and IT was required to provide an evidence-based understanding of internet use across the cohort with drill-down capability to specific students.

Getting Rid Of Frequent Ransomware Attacks & Improving Student Wellbeing

TSS deployed two best-in-class firewalls from Palo Alto Networks with each
connected to separate internet providers at both campuses in an active/active high
availability mode. The network caters for the high internet traffic demands of more
than two 2,000 staff and students and is scalable as network demands increase.

Deploying Saasyan Assure 

Saasyan Assure provides AI-powered student safety and wellbeing, enabling schools with advanced detection and intervention against student cyber-bullying, self-harm, suicide and threats of violence and terror at schools.

As a cloud-based, software-as-a-service solution, Assure requires no
infrastructure at the school. It securely analyses data directly provided by the Palo Alto Networks firewalls at TSS. And since Saasyan is a Palo Alto Networks NextWave Technology Partner, TSS are confident that the two collaborative
solutions are designed to work seamlessly. 

The Assure solution delivered immediate benefits to the school, including reduced time-wasting in classes due to the granular control provided by Assure. 

"Saasyan Assure transforms huge volumes of internet data from our Palo Alto Networks firewalls into meaningful dashboards and easy-to-use reports for our wellbeing, teaching and IT staff. I’m so impressed with Assure that I’ve recommended the solution to many other schools."

Richard Humphreys, IT Manager, The Southport School

Effective Tool To Prevent Cyberbullying

The dashboard has been widely used across the school as an effective tool to stop cyberbullying. The ability to review internet usage across student year levels and then drill down to compare a specific student’s access has provided evidence-based coaching opportunities to help students progress on the TSS Diligence Scale.

Wellbeing Alerts For Teaching Staff

TSS has found Assure to be effective in alerting teachers and wellbeing staff if students attempt to access dangerous or inappropriate websites and if they search for alarming terms in search engines. These alerts are powered by Saasyan's Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that constantly learns from search terms to automatically identify new phrases that require alerting..

Reducing Workload For School IT

Assure’s The self-service reports have also reduced the IT workload because Saasyan Assure provides all staff with a simple and reliable system to create and schedule reports without IT assistance. A senior TSS student commented that the system holds him "more accountable" and Karel Bos, Dean of Students (7-12) concluded that "the systems are helping educate students and prepare them for the future".

Benefits The Southport School Gained

With significant challenges to tackle, The Southport School gained several benefits from deploying Saasyan Assure with their best-in-class firewalls from Palo Alto Networks:

  • Enhanced Student Welfare
    Proactive counselling of students enabled by providing real-time actionable insights and alerts like potential cyberbullying incidents.

  • Improved learning outcomes
    Evidence-based web usage reports used to guide student use of technology and reinforce the TSS Diligence Scale system.

  • Increased efficiency for school leaders and wellbeing team
    Self-service access to meaningful web usage reports and alerts to review whole-of-school, year-group or individual students.

  • Productivity gains for IT management
    Reduced time spent exporting data and creating reports.

  • Responsible financial management
    Leveraged the existing investment in the Palo Alto Networks enterprise-grade next-generation firewall infrastructure.

"We’re promoting and empowering the boys to take control of their cyber world and how good online behaviour should be seen"

Karel Bos, Dean of Students (7-12), The Southport School

About The Southport School 

The Southport School (TSS) is an Anglican K-12 school for boys located on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Established in 1901 TSS offers a boy-specific curriculum to more than 1,700 students, including more than 300 boarders. 

TSS continues to be a pioneer in using technology across the school and in the classroom to improve learning outcomes and teaching productivity. This includes encouraging students to bring their own device (BYOD) to access school resources and the internet.

The Southport School Sign