In the digital age, nothing is more crucial than securing the online learning environment for students. CEnet is a not-for-profit organization that provides shared network and internet connectivity services to schools in 17 Catholic dioceses in Australia, which includes providing a safer online environment for 330,000 students, teachers, and staff to use within their education communities. As part of this service, we are experiencing annual internet consumption growth of 20% to 25%.
The rapid growth of demand for online resources presented us with a significant challenge. We knew it was time to enhance our security to more effectively manage an increasingly sophisticated and complex cyberthreat landscape. At the same time, we also needed to expand our solution to encompass all connectivity passing through a school network or used in the delivery of education.
Zscaler adapts to an evolving infrastructure
We were aware that, despite having filtering mechanisms in place, our level of visibility into potential threats was insufficient. We required a dynamic solution that would not only align with our current needs but also evolve with us, expanding and adapting as we grow.
It’s really important for us to leverage a solution that meets us where we are—both in terms of our legacy technology and our evolutionary roadmap for the future. We identified the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange™ as an ideal fit. The cloud-native, multi-tenant architecture of the platform was a perfect match for our needs when we were a new organization. Now that we continue to transform and modernize our infrastructure, this adaptable solution evolves alongside us.
Zscaler’s partner ecosystem amplifies student safety
As we got comfortable with zero trust, we learned that no single product can accomplish everything you need. A big advantage of working with Zscaler is its extensive partner ecosystem, which helped us build a more streamlined and coordinated system.
The successful integration of Zscaler’s solutions with our existing technologies had an immediate and transformative impact on our operations. One of the standout successes was the integration of Zscaler Nanolog Streaming Service (NSS) with student safety and wellbeing solutions like Saasyan. With NSS, we can establish a real-time alert system that effectively monitors student welfare, flags indicators of potential harm, bullying, or inappropriate online activities. This alert system has been a significant step in ensuring the safety and welfare of students in our member dioceses.
This works really well for us. Zscaler does its job—proxying traffic and enforcing policy—while products such as Saasyan can provide student safety and well-being insights for school administration. The findings from the wellbeing solution feed right back into Zscaler, enabling us to determine policy.
Harnessing Zscaler’s multi-tenant advantage for shared services
The shared services we provide to our members operate in a partnership-based environment. In our setup, we don’t just keep an eye on membership levels; we actively focus on delivering quality services. The cornerstone of this approach is multi-tenancy.
Multi-tenant solutions allow role-based access control and administration delegation to various levels of the organization. This is critical for us- as it offers flexibility, enhances security, and aligns with our policy controls. We can’t have excessive permission levels or controls that are misaligned with access levels. Multi-tenancy is key for an organization like ours with a partnership and shared accountability model.
Zscaler’s multi-tenant advantage parallels our approach. Zscaler built its secure access service edge (SASE) solution from the ground up to be multi-tenant. Its multi-tenant architecture offers a balance of shared resources and private access and ensures smooth operation, updated security, and seamless communication between various security controls.
Building trust and value through collaboration
Selecting the right technology solution is one part of the puzzle, but working collaboratively with a vendor based on mutual trust is an entirely different challenge. In Zscaler, we found a partner committed to understanding our mission and working alongside us to achieve our goals.
Zscaler’s dedication and expertise were evident throughout the integration process. The Zscaler team worked tirelessly to identify the best architecture for our specific needs and was instrumental in managing our service edge. The technical team definitely nails the details, but the fact that you can trust and rely on them is even more important. This collaborative approach allowed us to maximize our network and deliver outstanding value to our members.
Zscaler’s flexible service model has also presented significant economic advantages. It enables us to leverage economies of scale, conserve funds, and redirect our savings back into service delivery—a critical aspect of our not-for-profit operation.
Looking forward: The future for CEnet and Zscaler
Our journey is far from over. CEnet is already eyeing ways to further harness Zscaler’s capabilities. With an increasing number of users working and learning remotely, we’re considering expanding our use of Zscaler to support our bring-your-own-device (BYOD) implementation. We’re looking to Zscaler Private Access™ (ZPA™) to maintain our security standards and bridge the gap between visibility and security. Where installing software on a personal device may not be feasible, ZPA Browser Access provides agentless zero trust access to private applications based on authentication and authorization.
We also plan to utilize Zscaler Digital Experience™ (ZDX™) to gain insights into our service performance and the user experience. We believe this will enable us to further optimize our services, ensuring we continue providing the best possible support for our members.
Partnering for progress
Zscaler has a knack for meeting customers at their current point of technology maturity and then evolving alongside them—something that’s been instrumental for us. One of its strengths lies in seamless integration, effectively weaving its products into our existing systems. And for us at CEnet, where a multi-tenant environment is the norm, Zscaler’s architecture and capabilities have proven to be an ideal fit.
Our partnership with Zscaler has shown us what collaboration can truly accomplish. This isn’t just about fusing technologies or implementing consistent security protocols—it’s about working hand in hand to shape a more secure, digitally integrated future for Australian education.
You can read the full case study here to learn more about our deployment.