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Cyprus University of Technology

Industry: Higher education

Company size: 3000 students, 399 faculty 

Location: Limassol, Cyprus

                            

 

Customer objectives

  • Build a strategy to align technology solutions with educational and administrative needs.

  • Provide secure, dependable access to research tools and resources for students across multiple sites.

  • Scale up access to remote e-learning during global pandemic.

Cisco solutions

Business outcomes

  • Support by Cisco CX provides a technology framework that supports secure learning across a variety of sites.

  • Cisco CX and Logicom Solutions Ltd offer strategic advice to help the university choose the best solutions to meet its needs.

  • A dependable Cisco switching solution has provided non-stop operation since 2007.

 
 

Building the infrastructure for a world-class education

Established in 2004, Cyprus University of Technology was created to fulfill a unique role for undergraduate and post-graduate students in the region. It was designed to offer degrees not available from the University of Cyprus or other higher education institutions, in the fields of engineering and technology, communication and media studies, geotechnical sciences, and many more.

Based in Limassol, the second largest city in Cyprus, the university consists of six faculties and a Language Center. It has no central campus but extends across 45 buildings throughout the city center. Technology plays a key role in bringing these disparate sites together.

"We maintain several research websites to support students and the academic community who are publishing content from their research programs," said Kika Christou, Network Engineer at Cyprus University of Technology.

"We also support a variety of administrative services, including payroll, accounting, student records, and other internal services."

This decentralized approach makes it challenging for the university's small IT team to connect and manage technology at multiple sites. When its technology was nearing end of life, the university turned to Cisco and its partner Logicom to help it plan and deploy the technology it needed to give students, faculty, and staff secure access to the services they need.

Ensuring safe, secure network access

The Cisco CX team played a key role in providing a custom-designed solution to meet the university's requirements. Working closely with Logicom Solutions Ltd engineers, the team assisted the university in developing and articulating its requirements and building a technology solution to meet its requirements.

At the heart of the solution is a Cisco network infrastructure, featuring Cisco Catalyst switching solutions that provide connectivity to the university's fiber backbone. Cisco Meraki wireless access points provide cloud-managed support for connectivity to students and faculty, regardless of location.

Security is essential to the solution, because the university retains a large volume of private information about students and employees.

"We want to keep our students' personal information secure, including sensitive information about their health," said Christou.

"We need to keep medical records secure, and the same compliance needs apply to the staff. We are members of the EU, so we are required to meet GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] regulations."

To provide the secure, granular access control the university required, Cisco and Logicom Solutions Ltd recommended Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE). Cisco ISE now offers a dynamic, automated approach to policy enforcement, enabling IT to know who, what, where, and how endpoints and devices are connecting.

Cisco ISE works hand in hand with Cisco Firepower Threat Defense (FTD) next-generation firewalls, which provide advanced threat protection before, during, and after attacks.

"In terms of managing Cisco ISE and FTD, the logic behind these products is seamless, making it very easy for administrators to get used to these products and perform configurations and changes," said Christou. "This provides us a lot of flexibility. We can apply rules based on users, user groups, device groups, or anything we wish."

Ramping up remote learning in a pandemic

Although the university had a robust remote learning environment in place, the COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges. The university already had deployed a wide range of Cisco Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions, including Cisco Jabber for chat and placing voice calls. The IT team was under pressure to further scale its solution to support more users.

"Before COVID, we had between 100 and 200 students, administrators, and academic staff connecting from home via VPN," said Christou. "At the peak of the outbreak, the number of users ranged from 600 to 1000. Our Cisco FTD VPN concentrator enables us to handle all the traffic efficiently, with no problems."

As it continually enhances its technology to support the latest product features and capabilities, the university continues to work closely with the Cisco CX team and its partner for guidance on getting the highest return on its technology investment.

"As we migrated to the newest version of our wired security solution, Cisco arranged for an engineer to review our configuration and provided numerous tips and information to make our setup more secure and flexible. We have a good working relationship with the Cisco CX team and are thankful to have them on our side."

With its scalable, dependable infrastructure in place, Cyprus University of Technology is confident that it will continue to deliver an outstanding educational experience to students for years to come.

Having Cisco as a vendor provides access to a large portfolio of products that work together in an efficient way. Logicom Solutions Ltd's knowledge of all this equipment, together with guidance from Cisco CX, has solved a lot of our problems.

Kika Christou
Network Engineer, Cyprus University of Technology

For more information

To find out more about how Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) Plan,
Design and Implement Services, can accelerate your success, learn more here.