Royal College of Art

IT modernisation now provides the Royal College of Art with improved security, resilience and performance for on-campus and remote access to shared resources.

About the Royal College of Art

Across its rich 185-year history, the Royal College of Art (RCA) has strived to achieve global standards of excellence in the education of artists, designers and related practitioners.

Through its quality of teaching, research and practices - alongside the robust relationships it has with associated institutions, industries and technologies – the RCA nurtures an advanced level of art and design that grants its students, staff and alumni alike a mastered understanding of its principles and practices.

Royal College Of Art Grid

The challenge

“Our digital services are instrumental to our student experience and Focus Group are a valuable asset in ensuring our security is keeping pace with the digital strategy.”

James King

Head of IT, Royal College of Art

As the digital landscape continues to evolve rapidly, so does the educational space; it's crucial that institutions keep ahead of the curve so that operations stay secure and swift.

However, rapidly evolving cyber security threats and complex environments built over time and in siloes make end-to-end protection and visibility a sizable challenge to overcome.

In order for the prestigious institution to continue achieving international standards of excellence for its students, the RCA needed to accelerate its cloud adoption and security strategy and modernise its on-premise infrastructure across its three sites, creating an exceptional experience for students studying on campus and those in need of remote resources.

The solution

Focus Group began by supplying modern campus infrastructure: a cloud-based Cisco Meraki LAN and Wi-Fi solution that increased availability, resiliency, and performance.

Through the power of the Meraki platform, the RCA are now able to easily manage their LAN and Wi-Fi solution through the Meraki dashboard, reducing 1st line tickets and their overall time to resolution.

From there, we ran a Microsoft Sentinel POC so the RCA could understand their current threat landscape and highest priority risks. This led to the RCA acting on recommendations like multifactor authentication and eventually the deployment of our Managed Modern SecOps service, providing a platform fit for future improvements, enhancing off-net visibility and increasing protection for users like alumni who were accessing resources remotely.

Through our Managed Modern SecOps solution using Microsoft Sentinel and Defender, we can provide advanced threat monitoring, detection, and incident response for the RCA, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks while enhancing the overall security posture of the institution.

Students sitting down in a room talking to each other

The results

Paintings hanging in open room

The RCA now has complete visibility across all users and services, with threat monitoring, managed detection and incident response management in a single platform. By utilising our 3rd line security analysts to support Security Incident Management, the RCA can continue to operate with the team they have until they need to augment their resources for critical periods.

Configuration of the network is now accessible through the Meraki dashboard, easing the management and complexity of their entire environment.

Our solution has modernised the RCA’s operating environment, ultimately improving the learning experience of the 800+ users engaging with it, and enabling the RCA to continue providing a world-class education to an international audience.

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