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Taunton School

Taunton School is one of the South West’s leading independent schools. As an IB World School, it is innovative, forward thinking and global in outlook whilst being down to earth in approach. The School is focused on ensuring that children are prepared for their lives beyond school and in a world that changes rapidly.

The Challenge

Having already worked with Circle in 2016 on a large-scale server and network project, Taunton School were looking to achieve 2 main objectives:

  1. Lifecycle the existing servers and storage that were installed in 2016
  2. The reinstallation, upgrade and hardware lifecycle of back-up systems following the latest best practice guidelines

With COVID-19 adaptations moving more of its operations online alongside the increased targeting of educational institutions by cyber criminals, Taunton School wanted to make improvements to its security posture to ensure it could recover should the worst happen.

The Process

Having previously worked with us, this made the project far simpler and more efficient. Throughout the discovery stages, there was no laborious process to find out what equipment was already installed or the layout of the site. Our Architects were able to access previous documentation to see the exact kit that was used down to the model number.

Our Senior Architects then worked closely with Taunton School to provide several options that would deliver the objectives whilst also meeting the desired budget.

We worked with the School to replace the ageing infrastructure which was designed and delivered across two campus locations to allow for fail over and increased resilience. Our experts also incorporated an upgrade to the latest Veeam backup system to provide additional capacity and to protect against the ever-growing cyber threat that the education sector is facing. This enabled the School to benefit from a secure hardened back up repository which incorporated the latest immutability protocols within Veeam. Immutability was a key area the School wanted to focus on to ensure that when backing up its critical data it was fully protected against Ransomware. Finally, we deployed brand new storage appliances across the two sites allowing for additional storage snap shot capabilities which again was key to protecting the School's data against Ransomware.

Following completion of the project, we ensured that Taunton School still had the best level of support, so, our Engineer was made available to them for the following week.

“I felt completely free to express all my worries and concerns, be very open with Circle and say ‘that doesn’t work for us’ or ‘the budget doesn’t fit’. So from that point of view, the conversation was always very open and honest and there was never any upselling or pressure to go further than we needed to. In terms of ease of technical support and guidance, the pre-sales with Gavin was brilliant so everyone was really informed on what decision we should make and why we should make it. Gavin did several Teams sessions with us where we had designs up on the screen and then had several emails back and forth discussing things so I really felt like all of our questions were addressed and answered. I felt it was a very supportive process.”

Elliston Ensor, IT Manager, Taunton School.

The Results

With the new solution up and running, the two server rooms were now fully updated with reliable equipment and fully supported. The School is now able to operate them at 50% capacity each, so should it ever be in the situation where a server room is out of action, it can be confident that the remaining equipment can handle the additional requirements.

With the School’s particular focus on ensuring its cyber-security adhered to the latest best practice guidelines, significant updates were made to be in line with these. Following the installation of updated software, the School has taken advantage of the latest features to use volume immutability. So, Taunton School is now confident in its level of security and in its ability to recover should a ransomware attack ever happen.

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