Comtact named on prestigious Jisc framework for Cyber Security web filtering and monitoring

Millions of users of the Janet network can now benefit from Comtact’s proactive cyber security solutions

Comtact, one of the UK’s leading cyber security and infrastructure management service providers to Education, is pleased to announce the availability of its services through the Jisc framework.

Jisc manages the Janet network, a high-speed network for the UK research and education community. Serving millions of users, the Janet network is one of the largest computer networks in the World, providing UK research and education with a highly reliable and secure, state-of-the-art network, enabling national and international communication and collaboration.

Jisc selected Comtact following a rigorous OJEU competitive tender process. As one of only a handful of companies approved by the framework in the UK for web monitoring and filtering services, Comtact will now be able to offer education bodies cyber security solutions in a simplified and more cost-effective way.

With millions of network users accessing Janet every day and spanning 800 education and research organisations, it was vital the chosen solution could meet their requirements to comply with the government’s Prevent legislation. The scope of the framework covers all higher education institutions and specialist colleges within the UK.  The framework will operate for an initial two years with Jisc having the option to extend for a further two thereafter.

Nelson Ody, Applied network services manager at Jisc said, “In response to the government’s Prevent anti-terrorism strategy, we anticipated the need to offer our members a wider range of web filtering and monitoring solutions to suit their organisation’s changing needs and requirements.  Our members can now easily find a web filtering and monitoring solution that’s tailored to their organisation’s strategy through our multi-supplier framework.  Comtact has been selected following a rigorous OJEU procurement process, offering our members greater choice and flexibility.”

Dominic List, Chairman of Comtact says, “We are delighted to be selected as a supplier to Jisc for Cyber Security web filtering and monitoring in line with the government’s Prevent legislation. I believe this reflects our focus and commitment to the sector. Comtact is already one of the leading providers in the UK for IT services to the education sector to safeguard their critical networks and data and to enhance the student experience, and with next-generation security solutions, this will increase our reach further still.”

Dominic continues, “Over the last few years the challenge of delivering best practice network performance across the broader university campus has become more and more complex. Many students regularly use up to three personal devices – laptop, smartphone, tablet – and as a result university networking teams are faced with the balancing act of supporting upwards of 75,000 user devices concurrently while still fulfilling user safeguarding and security measures such as Prevent. This is not an easy task. One of the reasons Comtact was selected for the Jisc framework is that our proven Virtual NOC infrastructure management service, Aurora365, is already being used successfully by several leading UK education institutions and is ideally positioned to help colleges and universities extend their infrastructure coverage to address cyber security. Comtact’s national reach, combined with our fully managed security portfolio delivered from our UK 24×7×365 Security Operation Centre (SOC) in our Tier 3 data centre, allows us to provide such comprehensive security solutions. This capability enables our clients to assess and proactively manage risk, lower their total cost of ownership, and strengthen their overall security posture.”

Horniman wins Sandford Award for Heritage Education

The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, south London, has secured a Sandford Award for Heritage Education, the UK’s ‘kite mark’ for high quality education provision by heritage venues.

The Horniman welcomes 46,000 pupils each year, from schools across London, Kent and further afield. Teachers can freely explore the galleries with their class or choose from around 40 different taught sessions, linked to the national curriculum and based on the Horniman’s extensive collections of natural history, musical instruments, anthropology, and living plants and animals.

Formal and informal learning at the Horniman is also benefitted by its Handling Collection, housed in a dedicated gallery where more than 50,000 visitors each year can not only look at, but also touch, smell and listen to 3,500 real museum objects, from an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus to a shark’s jaw.

The Sandford Award, which lasts for a term of five-years, is only granted after a personal on-site assessment by one of the Award judges, to ensure the standards of quality are met. Judging criteria include not only the quality and range of taught school sessions, but also:

  • the range of additional learning and volunteering opportunities – for families, community groups and young people
  • the involvement of teachers and other stakeholders in developing the education programme
  • the quality of administration
  • on-site facilities for visitors.

Nina Sprigge, Sandford lead judge, says: ‘The Horniman Museum and Gardens is highly recommended for a Sandford Award. It offers a delightful cornucopia of fascinating, eclectic collections, which engage visitors with World Heritage: Making connections and celebrating cultures, people, and environments across the world. The extensive schools programmes support learning across the curriculum, encouraging child-centred learning in History, Science, Music, Art and Geography. Impressive family and community engagement is an integral part of the ethos of the organisation. It is a gem, well known and loved by its local community, as well as by many visitors from further afield.’

Kate Oliver, Schools Learning Manager at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, says: ‘A school trip to the Horniman has been an essential part of South London childhood for many years, and today our school visitors hail from across the capital and neighbouring counties. We have a long history of providing quality education – and a lot of fun – to young visitors, and we’re so pleased to have that formally recognised by this Sandford Award.’

For information about school visits and other education sessions at the Horniman, visit horniman.ac.uk/learn.

Bringing stress to work can be fatal

British Safety Council launches a film showing how stress endangers lives  

A powerful new film launched by the British Safety Council shows how stress can lead to injury and fatalities at work. In any activity where concentration is vital for safety, such as working in construction, driving, or in health and social care, stress can be fatal.

Stress is often discussed in relation to sickness absence. However, it’s less reported how it can endanger lives. Some research shows that up to 80% of accidents are related to stress at work. Whether it is work-related stress or stress that people bring to work, stress can put at risk the safety of both employees and members of the public.

Matthew Holder, Head of Campaigns and Engagement at the British Safety Council, commented: “It is well documented that stress is a significant cause of sickness absence, undermining both productivity and profitability. What is less discussed is how stress can endanger lives. Evidence shows that stress significantly contributes to injuries in sectors such as construction, transport and agriculture. In the medical profession, stress is a major predictor of work-related accidents and there are strong links between fatigue and sharps injuries.

“We made The Last Word to warn people that being tired, distracted and unable to fully concentrate can make simple tasks like climbing a ladder more dangerous. Aimed at employees, it contains a warning that being stressed can endanger their lives. However, the film is also directed at employers, showing how important it is that managers and supervisors identify the symptoms of stress and help their staff to deal with it. As the film says, life can be stressful but people need to be aware of the danger signs.”

Information accompanying the film reinforces this message. It describes common symptoms of stress and actions that employees can take to reduce stress. The film is part of the British Safety Council campaign Speak Up, Stay Safe,  targeted at younger employees to raise their awareness of risks at work. It’s the first time the campaign has tackled stress.

There is a lot of statistical evidence demonstrating the consequences of stress at work:

– In 2014/15, 440,000 people in the UK reported work-related stress at a level they believed was making them ill. That’s 40% of all work-related illness (source: HSE).

–  Stress is believed to be a major cause of accidents in the workplace, with evidence showing that 60-80% of accidents are related to workplace stress.[1]

– A survey of 2,500 doctors found that job stress was a major predictor of work-related accidents.[2]. Fatigue, in particular, is associated with a threefold increased risk of sharps injuries in medical trainees compared with other healthcare workers.³