Schools' Internet security upgrade passes halfway mark

Schools are being transitioned to a combined firewall and internet filtering solution provided by cyber security company Fortinet

Network for Learning (N4L), the government owned company providing a fully funded managed Internet service to New Zealand schools, says its rollout of new cyber security technology for schools has passed the halfway mark.

Schools are being transitioned to a combined firewall and internet filtering solution provided by cyber security company Fortinet, centrally managed by N4L and part of the wider managed network services offering.  Thirteen hundred of 2450 schools have new been upgraded.

The cyber security rollout is the first phase of a wider upgrade to N4L’s managed network, plans for which were revealed in August 2018 with a scheduled completion date of October 2019.

N4L CEO Larrie Moore said today, 19 February, that the rollout was progressing on schedule and within budget, with all schools scheduled to receive the Fortinet technology by the end of June. A panel of 12 local technology companies has been set up to undertake the installations.

Moore said the upgrade improved schools’ protection against online threats such as phishing and ransomware, provided more advanced web filtering tools and better equipped schools to block the use of VPNs by students attempting to bypass web filtering.

The next phase of the upgrade programme will provide eligible schools with access to bandwidth speeds of 1Gb by October.

N4L says it will also roll 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."

Schools were invited to take part in a survey immediately following the upgrade to rate their experience. Ninety two percent of the 511 respondents said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the transition.

New Zealand claims to be one of the only a few countries where the government is investing in a nationwide broadband programme that connects every school to fast, reliable and uncapped internet, and funds robust security.


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