University of Kent mitigates cyber-attacks with Britannic

The University of Kent has deployed a cloud telephony and contact centre solution from Britannic to mitigate the risks of growing cyber-attacks.

The pandemic accelerated cyber-attacks especially when staff and students were working at home and their systems and networks become prime targets for ransomware attacks. Many of them bought down lots of universities' telephony, websites, and IT systems resulting in lessons cancelled and closure until they were back up and running. Around six in ten (62%) higher education institutions reported experiencing breaches or attacks at least weekly (July 2022 gov.uk).

Richard Charley, Telecoms Manager from the University of Kent said, “We are aware of the growing number of cyber-attacks that have taken place over the last couple of years, and we didn’t want to fall prey to one and suffer damage such as lost data or disruption from having our systems bought down. The staff and students have been through enough disruption over the last couple of years we need to bring stability.

“We are a long-term customer of Britannic and decided on a solution whereby we have added in a cloud telephony and contact centre solution from 8x8 to work alongside our on-premise Mitel solution. By combining local and cloud communications we will have ultimate resilience in security and flexibility to evolve our communications need.”

The hybrid communications model will cater to 19,000 students and 3000 staff across the two campuses in Kent and four additional sites in Europe. The University has a Mitel MiVoice communications platform that they have virtualised and resides in their two data centres and utilises Britannic’s netX2 SIP service to provide them with the flexibility and control they require. SIP gives them the control to route calls by location, day shift pattern, and much more.

Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic added, “the addition of the 8x8 UC and contact centre provides the University of Kent with the perfect backup service should the other system suffer an outage they will always have this one to fall back on. It is also a modernisation of the contact centre that enables them to add on licences when required which is vital in the clearing period when it’s all hands are on deck and relies on a robust solution.”

In 2025 BT will switch off all ISDN and PSTN networks and replace them with full fibre. Now is the time for universities to review their networking infrastructure and modernise it with cloud telephony to increase security and resilience, and add flexibility for staff, students, and the contact centre who are working remotely and in a different way than previously.

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