Hutchesons’ Grammar School Case Study
Requirement: Microsoft 365 and Azure
Hutchesons’ Grammar School required a highly-secure, Cloud-based infrastructure to replace their existing on-premise solutions, increase collaboration and support learning beyond the classroom walls.
Hutchesons’ Grammar School is an independent, co-educational school in Glasgow that prides itself on its academic prowess and range of extracurricular activities. Founded in 1641 and affectionately known as “Hutchie”, the school actively nurtures and encourages compassion, honesty, tolerance and responsibility, and has received the coveted “Scottish Independent Secondary School of the Year” award.
An extremely forward-thinking and security-conscious institution, Hutchesons’ required an upgrade of its IT infrastructure. The existing SAN, servers and data storage were reaching their natural “end of life”, and a strategic review of the IT provision prompted the school to make the decision to embrace Cloud and mobility technology over the next 5 years. It was also important to Hutchesons’ that it adopts mobile working practices to allow pupils to access learning resources and engage with teachers beyond the classroom. Its strategic aim was to replace fixed PCs by equipping teachers and pupils with Windows 10 laptops, with Cloud technology supporting 24/7 access to systems and data as well as enhancing security, scalability and resilience. In addition to GCI’s record of successful Cloud deployments, having worked with GCI’s Business Development Director - Austin McGrory - at his previous role at Microsoft, the school were confident that GCI could recommend and implement a modern, future-proof solution.
Following in-depth scoping sessions with Hutchesons’ Grammar School to ascertain its exact requirements, GCI recommended Microsoft 365 – a suite of products designed to improve creativity, collaboration and communication in one secure environment. Incorporating Enterprise Mobility + Security, Office 365 and Windows 10, it enables faculty members to work remotely and – most importantly – securely. With so much confidential and sensitive information surrounding pupils, it was vital for the school that only certain staff members could access data. Whilst this information was already stored on secure servers, Hutchesons’ wanted to ensure maximum security and ISO compliance.
Additionally, as part of EMS, Microsoft Intune offers simple device management, allowing Hutchesons’ to control which laptops and mobile devices can access particular applications and data; perfect for programs and data which need to be accessed by staff but not students. Integrating seamlessly with Azure Active Directory to allow Single Sign-On, multi-factor authentication ensures that just one, secure sign-in is required rather than several different identities. This plays a vital part in the school’s agile working implementation, ensuring staff can log on securely from home and even allowing pupils to access all their learning resources from any location to support situations when they cannot be in school. GCI also deployed the core infrastructure of Microsoft’s Public Cloud offering – Azure – so Hutchesons’ could test the viability of moving all services to the Cloud. This would maximise performance and flexibility, as well as affording Hutchesons’ simple, reliable and secure data storage whilst allowing the school to easily scale their Azure platform to meet demand as it continues to grow.
Success and Company Benefits
Hutchesons’ Grammar School now have a dynamic, secure and reliable environment on which it can deliver services to both students and staff. EMS has ensured that confidential information can only be accessed by authorised personnel, including when teachers are logging on from home. Office 365 has proven popular with students and teachers alike, with Teams, OneDrive and Forms offering closer communications and collaborations between students and staff. The school’s partial move to Azure also means that its infrastructure is now well-placed to offer better scalability and resilient security in the future as it continues its strategy of leveraging more Cloud-based Services.
Jonathan Caddy, Head of Computing Services at Hutchesons’ Grammar School, said: “We were confident that GCI were the right choice due to their accreditations and expertise in delivering Microsoft solutions and trusting that Austin would recommend the solution that was best suited to us. I am pleased to say that we now have an infrastructure that is secure and robust, and that can scale easily as we expand. Additionally, Microsoft 365 has also allowed us to empower both staff and students with the latest technology, and thanks to EMS we know that data and devices are kept locked down to only the people that need access. I look forward to many more years of working with GCI.”