The ICT service

Current Firewall Issues - Update

We continue to experience issues with the core education Firewalls. These Firewalls provide significant protection for schools, and for example have significantly reduced the level of threat from the recent/current ransomware attack targeting, amongst others, the NHS.
What are we doing about this?
We have implemented a further solution to allow us to dive deep into the network traffic from schools. This will aid in diagnosing what exact traffic is passing through the Firewalls and give us the opportunity to ensure only legitimate traffic is traversing these systems.
We are currently designing a new layout of our Firewalls which will allow us to split out 'Internet' traffic from 'Data Centre' traffic – examples of Data Centre traffic are Central Hosting and Schools’ Email. This will allow Central Hosting traffic to be more stable, and also provide additional capacity to the 'Internet' Firewalls. The end user experience should generally be more stable.
This work will be carried out overnight on Tuesday 16 May 2017 into the morning of Wednesday 17 May 2017.
In an effort to improve the overall experience for all Internet users, we have reduced the bandwidth available for the following services during the working day (8.00am – 4.00pm):
  • Windows Updates
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Broadband Speed test sites
  • YouTube
  • Spotify
  • Netflix
This means, whilst we have not blocked these services, you may find access to them is slower than usual.
Why is this happening again?
Last week we arranged downtime to install some larger capacity Firewalls.  Although this alleviated the issues then, in the space of a week (although they are passing more good traffic) they are already struggling with the amount passing through them.
This is more traffic than we have seen at any time. Prior to CPSN, we had a 1Gb connection out onto the Internet which lasted for 10 years. It was only at the very end of that period that we started to hit the bandwidth limitations of that connection.
Four years ago, we upgraded the Schools’ Internet connection to 10Gb, installing Firewalls that can cope with, in the best case, a total of 4Gb of Internet traffic.  In this short space of time, schools’ bandwidth utilisation has trebled. We have also seen significant use of new telephony solutions, for example Voice over IP. This is great for schools, but it does place significantly more overheads on the Education Firewalls meaning this best case '4Gb' is actually now lower.
Why can’t we replace the firewalls with more powerful ones?
With the amount of potential traffic passing over CPSN, the costs for new firewalls reach up in the region of £400,000. Bearing in mind funding for CPSN is fixed, there is currently no capacity in the CPSN budget to fund this work. This will be factored into the procurement discussions for the replacement for CPSN.
This is a significant challenge for all of us; we need schools’ support in ensuring, right now, that their working day use of the Internet is kept to services required to run schools and deliver classes.
Please expect to receive more email updates as we progress to a resolution.

Customer Request/Incident

We invite our customers to use our online form to quickly let us know if you have a request or an incident to report.

Submit details

Your Basket

  • No products selected


Add products to your basket to enquire about multiple services

what people say…

  • The course answered all my questions but went far beyond my expectations. Very good value for money. I also appreciate the handbook.

    Margaret Carpenter, Longsands Academy

  • I attended a truly fantastic course which has really opened my eyes to how I can use SIMS to support my data analysis.

    Yasmin Trace, Hatton Park Primary School

  • The trainers was very happy to answer all questions so that we are able to use the system in the most effective way for our school

    Alison Rowbotham, The Weatheralls Primary School

  • Lorraine on The ICT Service Helpline was very patient and friendly and seemed genuinely pleased to be helping me.

    Sheena Marsh, Sawtry Infant School

  • I was given extremely clear and understandable instructions to help me find my way through difficulties.

    Sue Bardell, LLDD Team, CCC

  • ...really helplful during a very stressful time...

    Secondary School ICT Technician

  • Always helpful to guide me through the troubled waters of the Post 16 Census! I don't know how I would manage without them.

    Christine Bradshaw, St Ivo School

  • Very helpful, I like the way that The ICT Service can come on to the system remotely it saves so much time!

    Chris Cater, Cottenham Primary School

  • Our Technician always goes the extra mile for us. He understands our school needs and limitations. He is considered to be one of our school team.

    Primary School Headteacher

  • Thank you. The e-safety session was one of the best uses of time that I have had for a long while.

    E-Safety Course

  • Emma always explains what you need to do very clearly and is extremely helpful - Thank you

    Sue Scott, Alderman Payne Primary School

  • I don't know what I would do without The ICT helpline. I have always found them to be friendly and supportive whenever I have called

    Primary School Secretary

  • The Helpline are always great when I ring and try to sort the problem there and then at all times if possible. Great service.

    Paula Beeby, Coates Primary School

  • I have been in this job over 10 years and find the team a comfort at times of stress over jobs that have gone wrong. They are a credit to the service.

    Rebecca Mack, Business Manager, The Fields CC

  • All courses that I have attended are so helpful and are explained in terms that I can understand and I am not afraid to ask questions.

    Sarah Walker, Thorndown Primary School

  • We have used The ICT Service now for many years, and have the highest praise for all the departments we deal with (we couldn’t live without our ICT technician or the helpdesk!).

    Weatheralls Primary School

  • I always find the technical team extremely helpful and knowledgeable and very patient with whatever question you ask!

    Emily Lewney, Bar Hill Community Primary School

  • I just wanted to let you know how happy we have been with a recent server installation at school. Great service and so prompt.

    Head, Abbots Ripton C of E Primary School

  • I found the whole session incredibly useful. You gave us lots of useful resources to take back to school and even more to think about.

    E-Safety Course

  • Everyone I deal with on the Helpline is helpful and patient especially understanding the pressures we're under. It's lovely to know we have an efficient team available when needed.

    Lynn Hilling, The Vine Primary School

  • Really clear, easy to follow course with some great ideas.

    Sarah Dodsworth, Wisbech St Mary Primary School

latest tweet

  • Scheduled downtime is complete, all services are back online. For support, contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 #ICTDowntime

    1 week

Tel:0300 300 0000