CUSTOMER STORY | EDUCATION

University of Southern Queensland Improves Online Experience for Students and Staff Through Single Sign-On While Increasing App Security

University of Southern Queensland (USQ) logo
PRODUCTS

BENEFITS

Single sign-on

High uptime

Increased security

Easy implementation

CHALLENGES

Achieve single sign-on solution access

Vulnerable to cybersecurity threats

Improve network uptime

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The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) needed to empower its 28,000 students to access its network at any time, from anywhere. USQ used a single sign-on solution from F5 that allowed unified access to web-based applications with high availability to ensure 24/7 access, which is crucial to a university with more than 60 percent of students studying online.

The biggest benefit with the deployment of the F5 SSO solution is when students sign into one of USQ’s web-based applications, they are automatically signed into the applications they’ll need throughout their course, saving users valuable time every day.

Business Challenges

Single Sign-On

USQ needed a single sign-on (SSO) solution to enable simple access to its web-based applications. The solution had to deliver the same reliable level of service to the university’s on-campus and online students and faculty who required 24/7 access to the network.

Increased Security

Protecting students and faculty from cybersecurity threats—including safeguarding the online privacy of all users—is incredibly important to USQ and its reputation. USQ was therefore looking to improve access management capabilities, while providing administrators with comprehensive control, reporting, and visibility across the network.

High availability

It was essential for USQ to reduce network disruptions, so that students and staff could rely on the network for study, research, and personal use without fear of outages.

Our investment in F5 has meant we are now better protected against the multitude of cybersecurity threats we face as a university. DDoS attacks are a particular concern, so knowing that the BIG-IP system can not only balance our traffic load, but also deflect these types of attacks is a great weight off of our shoulders.

Solution

In order to simplify its identity and access management infrastructure and achieve SSO capabilities, USQ deployed F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM). With the implementation of the solution, users no longer have to maintain multi-system credentials or enter them separately for every application.

This unified approach to supporting authentication and authorization for web applications enables USQ to consolidate identity access management infrastructure and realize enhanced security at a reduced operational cost.

To improve its load balancing infrastructure, USQ invested in BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM), which transforms the university’s high volume of network traffic into logically assembled streams of data, and then makes intelligent traffic management decisions, selecting the right destination based on server performance, security, and availability. BIG-IP LTM also allows USQ to inspect, manage, and report on application traffic entering and exiting its network.

“Our investment in F5 has meant we are now better protected against the multitude of cybersecurity threats we face as a university. DDoS attacks are a particular concern, so knowing that the BIG-IP system can not only balance our traffic load, but also deflect these types of attacks is a great weight off our shoulders,” said Scott Sorley.

Benefits

With F5, USQ has improved the online experience of students and staff through a simple SSO solution, allowing users access to all relevant applications in the one place. It has also increased productivity and reduced IT spend because of lower requests for assistance from users.

Consolidation of authentication infrastructure

F5 enabled USQ to deliver the same level of reliable, secure, and high-performing network service to its 28,000 students, whether they’re on campus or accessing the system remotely from all over the world.

USQ’s users expect easy access to the applications and data they need from any device and any location in order to work and study efficiently. Implementing SSO has led to fewer password resets and other issues related to access management, increasing user productivity and reducing operational costs due to lower IT support requests.

“The biggest benefit for our students came with the deployment of the F5 SSO solution, which we’ve integrated with a number of our systems. Now, when students sign into one of USQ’s web-based applications, they are automatically signed into the applications they’ll need throughout their course, saving users valuable time every day,” said Scott Sorley.

Increased security 

BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) has enhanced the university’s digital security, enabling students and staff to use applications securely both on campus and in remote environments. A key aspect of this is BIG-IP ASM’s ability to decrypt and re-encrypt all traffic as it enters and exits the university’s network. This means malware is blocked and safe traffic can pass through. It also scales on demand and absorbs potentially crippling DDoS attacks that could compromise the security and high availability required by the university.

High availability

Since deploying the solution, USQ have improved the availability and security of their web applications.  This means that students and campus staff all around the world have reliable 24/7 access to critical applications required throughout their coursework, such as tools used to submit assignments and organize timetables.

BIG-IP LTM has optimized the speed and reliability of USQ’s applications via both network and application layers, and allows the university to cost-effectively deliver a smoother end-to-end user experience.

Easy implementation

F5 allowed USQ to consolidate all of its load balancing services, providing a single control point to monitor what’s happening in its data center networks, which significantly decreased the amount of training needed for staff to manage the network.

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