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NPO KIDS renews Firewall

Vzw KIDS needed a faster and more secure network. There are also an increasing number of mobile devices within KIDS that need to be able to go online securely. EuroSys guided KIDS with the expansion of the Wi-Fi network, the installation of a powerful firewall and training for the IT staff.
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"As a non-profit organisation, we don't have a large IT budget," explains Wendy Roodhooft, IT manager of non-profit organisation KIDS. "That's why my colleague and I take care of daily IT management and the installation of new hardware ourselves as much as possible. However, we do have EuroSys accompany us for technological advice, training and large or more complex projects."

One such project was securing the internet environment for KIDS' various branches. The old firewall no longer provided sufficient capabilities and threatened to have a slowing impact on the network. "Since the speed of the network also depends on the speed at which the firewall filters internet traffic, we needed to renew the firewall," explains Wendy Roodhooft. "On the advice of VanRoey, we chose to upgrade to a new firewall from WatchGuard. It is much more powerful and gives us a lot more possibilities to filter and control internet traffic throughout the organisation."

WatchGuardONE Platinum Partner If Platinum Partner of WatchGuard EuroSys has all the technological knowledge and expertise about the firewall in-house. The switchover to the new firewall therefore went smoothly. VanRoey also gave vzw KIDS a training course which allowed the organisation's IT managers to manage everything themselves afterwards.

Ring-fencing of personal data
In view of GDPR regulations, the non-profit organisation wanted to work on better shielding the personal data of all minor and adult clients. Wendy Roodhooft: "The risk of data leaks is definitely real with us. After all, we also work with autistic children who are very strong in IT. They might try to hack into our network as entertainment. WatchGuard now ensures that we can log exactly what happens on the network.

Every morning, I look at the report showing data on intrusion attempts and other security information. WatchGuard automatically identifies data such as ID card and bank account numbers as sensitive information and stops it when it threatens to go outside our network."

Internet security more fine-tuned
"We now have much more information about the browsing behaviour on our network and we can set which sites are blocked and which are not," says Wendy Roodhooft. "We used to close all websites with sexual content, for example, as a precaution, but then classroom teachers couldn't surf pedagogical sites about sex education either. Now we can make that distinction. Alerts have also been set up so that, for example, we are notified when a file containing a virus is downloaded or e-mailed. Combating spam is also very important: We get about a million e-mails a day, of which about 99% are deleted immediately.

And because WatchGuard works so fast, our internet connection also remains very fast while we are still online with many users at the same time - up to 400 devices at peak times. Another handy feature is that WatchGuard allows us to set a limited bandwidth for certain applications. We now do this for YouTube, which is often used in the classroom. As a result, intensive YouTube use does not slow down the other applications, yet YouTube viewers themselves are not affected either."

More and more connected devices
In addition to the firewall renewal, VanRoey also continues to systematically expand its Wi-Fi network. "We are using more and more connected devices and our locations are also expanding, so we need to provide sufficient coverage. So VanRoey regularly supplies us with a number of new access points from Xirrus," explains Wendy Roodhooft. "We can do the installation ourselves, thanks to the training provided by VanRoey."

Longer-term strategic planning
When selecting a partner for the firewall project, non-profit organisation KIDS compared three candidates. VanRoey offered the best price and had also been working with the organisation for years as a hardware supplier. "We know them and we know what they can do," says Wendy Roodhooft. "We also regularly attend their seminars where we learn a lot about the latest developments each time. This allows us to plan better in the longer term. VanRoey' advice is therefore of strategic importance to us. If we need their help, we can always contact them and they will come to us."

IT as an indispensable aid and communication tool
The results of the new firewall are already there: a safer, faster and more manageable network. For vzw KIDS' target audience, such a well-functioning IT environment is indispensable. "Obviously we cannot do without IT for the administration, but supervisors and teachers also make intensive use of our internet environment," Wendy Roodhooft confirms.

"For the deaf children at boarding school, computers are completely indispensable: They communicate with their families via Skype. In the future, we would like to invest even more time in developing security guidelines and making our users aware of safe internet use."

About vzw KIDS

Vzw KIDS provides education, residential care and outpatient care to children, young people and adults with autism, speech and language disorders and to hearing-impaired and deaf people. The organisation has five branches in Limburg and Flemish Brabant, with around 500 staff and more than 1,000 clients.

"The advice from VanRoey is therefore of strategic importance to us. If we need their help, we can always contact them and they will come to us."
Wendy Roodhooft
IT manager
Wendy Roodhooft

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