The ICT service

Current Firewall and Network Issues


Dear Colleagues,
 
You may be aware of some intermittent connectivity issues with the Internet connection shared by all Cambridgeshire schools since 12.00pm on Wednesday the 26 April 2017.
 
We have, so far, identified this to be a fault with our core firewalls, these are devices that act as a barrier from the Internet protecting schools from unauthorised access.
 
This is a comparable issue to another we experienced in January 2017.  The root cause then was identified as a fault with the Firewall software and as per the manufacturer’s recommendations the system was restored back to factory default and a new configuration was applied. The Firewall service was monitored without fault for over two months and the incident was deemed resolved.
 
The ICT Service Technical Support Team are currently in the process of taking steps to mitigate the current impact on services to schools.  These steps have again included turning off some important, but non-essential services and it has so far reduced the number of occurrences of the connectivity issues.
 
Our Senior Technical Team has continued to work closely with our Firewall manufacturer to resolve this complex issue; and on this occasion, we have identified the root cause to be an increased level of network traffic that the Firewalls are having to process.  Our next step is to install additional Firewalls which we have now purchased, into the Data Centre to separate out the network traffic.  This will resolve the issues with the benefit of being able to manage future increases in network traffic and improve resiliency.
 
We will install the new Firewalls as soon as possible although have to take into consideration other, already scheduled, maintenance periods arranged by our County Council IT colleagues to upgrade the core Data Centre power supplies. We cannot carry out our maintenance and upgrades at the same time so need to work with customers to find a suitable alternative date. In the meantime we will continue to monitor and manage the current Firewall service to mitigate any further disruption.
 
We very much appreciate your patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
 
We will continue to provide updates via our normal communication channels.
 
As a reminder, these are:
 
Status website - http://status.theictservice.org.uk/ – please note the availability statistics on the site are captured at five-minute intervals, if there is a short or intermittent outage they may not be recorded.
 
Twitter - https://twitter.com/ICTServiceTech - this feed is also displayed on the side of the status website if viewed in a desktop browser.
 
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ICTServiceTech
 
The ICT Service Helpline - Call us on 0300 300 0000 – When we experience issues like this we will add the latest information as a message before you are put through to the team.
 
I do hope you will agree that this is out of the ordinary in terms of the level of service we provide and I can assure you that it is our highest priority to return the service to normal levels as soon as possible.
 
Kind regards,
David Frewin
Technical Support Manager

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