New College Oxford

Situated in the very heart of the city, New College is one of the largest and most architecturally striking colleges in Oxford, combining outstanding facilities with spectacular buildings and gardens set against the medieval city wall

Founded in 1379, New College is one of the largest Oxford colleges, with some 430 undergraduates and 360 graduates. In 2017, the college ranked first in the Norrington Table, a table assessing the relative performance of Oxford's undergraduates in final examinations.

The college, together with 37 other academic institutions across Oxford, uses the University’s switched Gigabit backbone along with some centralised services, such as e-mail for students, backup, remote access, VPN systems and more while the individual colleges runs their own core servers and applications.

In 2014, the college decided it needed to upgrade its ageing 3COM networking kit and after an evaluation process selected ANSecurity to help it specify, design and upgrade to new switches and a firewall from Juniper.

“ANSecurity was a great company to deal with,” says James Dore, IT officer of New College at Oxford University. “It had good technical knowledge around the Juniper products and managed the project efficiently from start to end.”

The successful project, delivered on time and within budget, allowed the college to refresh its infrastructure and start a relationship with AN Security that resulted in it becoming the trusted provider for the college’s networking and security needs.

In 2018, the college began a new project to streamline its network architecture and strengthen its security by moving to a Zero Trust model that would ensure that all access would be authenticated, whether the source or target was within or outside of its network.

The project would also offer the benefit of allowing three of the colleges to share access to core security platforms to better utilise the technology and reduce upfront and ongoing maintenance contract costs. Dore approached AN Security to help design the migration and carry out the technical implementation.

The project aim was to join two separate networks that had multiple subnets in the same native VLAN. This was overcomplicating the network because of how the VLANs had to be tagged and untagged when traversing the networks. As part of the move to a Zero Trust model, all users and server VLANs would be routed through the firewall. In addition, the project would also free up IP addresses from one of the subnets in order to re-allocate them to other colleges.

As part of the 6 week project, ANSecurity implemented a high availability solution using technology from Fortinet and designed and implemented a VLAN migration processes that by leaving the hosts in their original VLAN, allowed them to pick up IP addresses from a different subnet freeing up addresses to be re-allocated.

“The design allows us to set up VLANs in a much simpler fashion, and is easier to manage while allowing us to better share resources across multiple colleges,” says Dore, who estimates that the project will reduce annual charges related to client licences, hardware and maintenance fees by several thousand pounds annually.

“The team from ANSecurity was easy to work with and had a deep knowledge of the network and all the technologies we used,” says Dore. “They have fielded questions from us at odd hours of the day and have kept us updated about new technologies on a regular basis.”

“It is fair to say that they have never let us down and we value the relationship which is now into its 7th year and look forward to working with them on future projects,” Dore concludes.

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