The University of Kent has deployed a cloud telephony and contact centre solution from Britannic to mitigate risks of growing cyber attacks.
Traditionally, higher education institutions significantly underfunded cyber security efforts, even though the different academic and admin departments are siloed and often operating on different systems and servers, resulting in them being vulnerable. The pandemic accelerated cyber attacks, especially when staff and students were working at home and their systems and networks become prime targets for ransomware attacks. Many of which bought down lots of universities telephony, websites and IT systems, resulting in lessons cancelled and closure until they were back up and running. Around six in 10 (62%) higher education institutions reported experiencing breaches or attacks at least weekly (according to gov.uk, July 2022).
Richard Charley, Telecoms Manager from the University of Kent comments, “We are aware of the growing number of cyber attacks that have taken place over the last couple of years, and we didn’t want to fall prey to one and suffer damage such as lost data or disruption from having our systems bought down. The staff and students have been through enough disruption over the last couple of years, we need to bring stability.
“We are a long-term customer of Britannic and decided on a solution whereby we have added in a cloud telephony and contact centre solution from 8×8 to work alongside our on-premise Mitel solution. By combining local and cloud communications we will have ultimate resilience in security and flexibility to evolve our communications need.”
The hybrid communications model will cater for 19,000 students and 3,000 staff across the two campuses in Kent and four additional sites in Europe. The university has a Mitel MiVoice communications platform that it has virtualised and resides in its two data centres and utilises Britannic’s netX2 SIP service to provide the university with the flexibility and control it requires. SIP gives the control to route call by location, day shift pattern and much more.
“The addition of the 8×8 UC and contact centre provides the University of Kent with the perfect back up service – should the other system suffer an outage they will always this one to fall back on. It is also a modernisation of the contact centre that enables them to add on licences when required which is vital in the clearing period when it’s all hands are on deck and relies on a robust solution,” comments Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic.
In 2025 BT will switch off all ISDN and PSTN networks and replace it with full fibre. Now is the time for universities to review their networking infrastructure and modernise it with cloud telephony to increase security and resilience, and add flexibility for staff, students and the contact centre, and in a different way than previously.