New ‘DeakinSecure’ infrastructure extends beyond campus boundary, increases student productivity and efficiency
Dimension Data today announced it has completed the deployment of a federated wireless infrastructure upgrade for Deakin University. Known as ‘DeakinSecure’, the new network is designed to improve connectivity for the increasing number of students spending course time in remote health locations such as public hospitals.
Deakin University has around 39,000 students and of these around 30 percent spend significant amounts of time off campus through the year. The new Dimension Data deployment delivers seamless connectivity for Deakin students working in placements at hospitals and medical clinics across south western Victoria, enabling increased efficiency and mobility to user devices including laptops, smart-phones, tablets and the popular iPad for students both on and off campus.
Due to the increasing use of technology in education – particularly in the medical field – delivering a secure, efficient and fast communications network for students working away from the central campus and on placement in regional hospitals was essential. For example, many students on the four-year post graduate medical program spend two years of practical training at hospitals and medical clinics in the South West Alliance of Rural Health (SWARH) at locations hundreds of kilometres from the university campus.
According to Gerard Florian, Chief Technology Officer, Dimension Data, deploying a secure wireless infrastructure linking two vast and very private organisations was destined to be technically challenging, and there was considerable effort made to ensure that the security design and approach met the needs of both organisations.
“Security was paramount to the successful deployment. Protecting the hospitals’ operational systems and patient data was critical, as was the protection of Deakin’s student records – so the concept of ‘sharing’ a wireless infrastructure had to be considered very carefully.”
“It’s potentially a model that can be adopted across any industry where affiliated organisations have the requirement to provide secure access for staff to applications and resources from each other’s networks.”
Dimension Data established an encrypted Ethernet over IP (EoIP) tunnel between SWARH and Deakin, utilising Cisco technologies.
Peter Brusco, Deakin’s Executive Director, Information Technology believes that the new connectivity solves a long standing problem encountered by many Universities.
“Our previous hard-wired solution limited students working at off-campus sites in many ways. They did not have easy access to any of the high quality services available to students on campus, severely impacting their ability to work effectively. Video tutorials and other increasingly popular services were not available due to slow connections and restricted connectivity,” he said.
”This solution is very much in line with our strategy to deliver ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to services for all of our students and staff.”
The connection is physically located in Deakin’s Teaching, Training and Research (TTR) centre at Geelong Hospital, where both organisations are fully protected by firewalls. Only after being successfully authenticated is a user connected to Deakin’s network.
Garry Druitt, Executive Officer, South West Alliance of Rural Health (Victoria), believes the innovative deployment is a model for any organisation with affiliated operations.
“We are trying to facilitate the training of doctors across our region and the best way to do this is to ensure that we provide them with access to educational resources while they are in our hospitals, without jeopardising the security of both our organisations.”
“Effectively, with this project we have extended the capabilities of both our fixed and wireless infrastructure to meet the different needs of SWARH staff and Deakin’s medical students. Our challenge now is to see how we can adapt the security profile to provide these students with access to specific SWARH resources to further their training, such as clinical applications.”
Prior to the Dimension Data deployment, access was provided by specific hard-wired locations which severely restricted inter-site communications. Users suffered downtime and restricted access to vital campus-based information, prohibiting mobile remote working while at any non-Deakin locations.
Craig Warren, Operational Service Provision Manager, Geelong Waterfront Campus, Deakin University, explains that accomplishment of the project goals was largely due to Deakin’s successful partnership with both SWARH and Dimensions Data.
“Dimension Data had detailed knowledge of Deakin and understood the challenges we faced in working from numerous locations,” said Mr. Warren.
“The company’s systems integration and security capabilities, proven reliability and innovative solutions to our unique environment delivered an infrastructure that has made a significant impact on the efficiency of our communications between our campus and remote locations.”
About Dimension Data
Founded in 1983, Dimension Data plc is an ICT services and solutions provider that uses its technology expertise, global service delivery capability, and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate the business ambitions of its clients. Dimension Data is a member of the NTT Group. www.dimensiondata.com
About Deakin University
Deakin University is an Australian public university with over 39,000 higher education students as of 2010. It has campuses in the coastal cities of Geelong, Melbourne, and Warrnambool, Victoria. More information can be found at www.deakin.edu.au.
The South West Alliance Of Rural Health (SWARH) is a networkof public health agencies in the South West of Victoria covering 180 sites over an area of approximately 60,000 sq. kilometres connecting all public acute hospitals and associated health services in a region extending from west of Melbourne to the South Australian Border.