19/08/2015

embc KCOM Firewall Summer Upgrades

Over the summer holiday period embc and Kcom upgraded the firewalls and associated technology used to manage the embc service.

We are delighted to say that there was very little downtime experienced through the firewall replacement and most customers would not have seen any interruption to their service. Thanks go out to the technical staff in schools who helped with our testing programme to ensure that the new equipment is working for all.

The scheduling of the work was such that it avoided the exam results period and with changes scheduled after 22:00, this reduced as much as possible, any potential impact to schools and local authorities.

Firewall services are critical to the safety and security of the emPSN service to schools and must be adequately supported by KCOM and the manufacturer – Cisco. The old Firewalls were End of Life and therefore required replacement.  The chosen next generation Firewall is the Cisco ASA5585-X which was known to meet our expanding needs.

“The Cisco ASA 5585-X meets the growing needs of dynamic organizations by providing eight times the performance density, very high VPN session counts, twice as many connections per second, and four times the connection capacity of any competitive firewall”

The main benefit of this project was to provide continuity of support on the emPSN Firewall service in order to ensure schools are provided in a secure and safe manner in the future and that the whole of the emPSN infrastructure remains secure.

Other important benefits of completing the upgrades are:

  • Deliver a higher multi-service throughput
  • Handle more connections
  • Allow a more complex configuration
  • Monitor transiting traffic more effectively
  • Allow for increased use of IPsec
  • In addition to replacing the Firewalls Kcom replaced the core switching and routing function at each data centre. This replacement took place due to the some components approaching the end of Software Maintenance. Whilst the replacement is a “like for like”, the hardware used will be fully supported by Cisco and has a higher maximum throughput – around 4 times greater than the 6513 being replaced.

For more detailed technical information on the embc Kcom Firewall Summer Upgrade please see the presentation by clicking here.

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