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Upper Grand District School Board Selects Fortinet to Enable 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Ontario Ministry of Education Broadband Modernization Program Enabled by Fortinet’s Secure Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN)

SUNNYVALE, Calif. - 20/12/2017

John McCormick, associate chief information officer, Upper Grand District School Board
“Fortinet understands the unique challenges we’re facing in education to deliver meaningful learning opportunities to students while maintaining the necessary levels of security. Many vendors approach the SD-WAN space from a network-centric standpoint, but Fortinet takes a security-first perspective and combines it with strong network capabilities. In our environment, it’s imperative for us to protect student and staff personal information and Fortinet’s stronger security play was a key factor in our decision process.”

News Summary
Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT), the global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, today announced that the Upper Grand District School Board has selected Fortinet to deliver secure SD-WAN capabilities to its schools in a pilot program addressing the need for greater broadband capabilities. 

  • The Upper Grand District School Board selected Fortinet to provide a “security-first” SD-WAN solution to implement their broadband modernization project.
  • Fortinet helps UGDSB achieve its project goals of improving its Internet capacity and increasing application performance within UGDSB’s existing operational cost structure.
  • UGDSB is leveraging the Fortinet Security Fabric, including FortiGate Firewalls, FortiManager and FortiAnalyzer, to centralize control across its entire infrastructure and enable visibility into applications and users.

The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) consists of 65 elementary schools and 11 high schools across 1,600 square miles, and supports 3,000 dedicated teaching and support staff who serve approximately 34,000 students. Located in central Ontario, UGDSB was selected as a pilot district for the Ontario Ministry of Education’s initiative to modernize school broadband services with the goal of enabling a cost-effective, secure, and scalable infrastructure capable of supporting the increasing needs of their students and educators.

To meet these goals, UGDSB began evaluating SD-WAN solutions that could offer increased broadband capacity, application performance, flexibility, simplicity, and cost savings when compared to legacy architectures. UGDSB also required visibility into encrypted traffic to meet the growing use of VPN clients and SSL-encryption, which was predicted to grow to 80% of its traffic within the next two years.

However, moving to SD-WAN does not come without challenges. According to Gartner, “As network leaders move to employ direct internet access to their branch offices, they are challenged to identify appropriate security solutions for all their branch offices.” The report also notes that, “Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) products now incorporate internet perimeter security, but more than 90% of SD-WAN vendors are not traditional security vendors, which causes clients to question whether they can rely on embedded security alone.”1

UGDSB worked with its long-time advisor Integra Data Systems and selected Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN solution to serve as the foundation for the board’s networking needs. Fortinet’s FortiGate firewalls are deployed at each school and the board’s primary data center to provide secure SD-WAN, high-performance perimeter protection, SSL inspection, throughput, and flexibility. UGDSB also leverages the benefits of the Fortinet Security Fabric, deploying FortiManager to centralize deployment and management of the FortiGates, and FortiAnalyzer to provide an enterprise view of activity across its extended network infrastructure.

The project has been a success according to McCormick, “The Fortinet FortiGate, FortiManager, and FortiAnalyzer solutions have provided a solid network foundation that has helped us meet the Ministry’s broadband modernization project objectives and provides a secure, scalable, and manageable platform to address our dynamic network needs.”

Additional Resources


1 Gartner,“Four Architectures to Secure SD-WAN,” Bjarne Munch, Greg Young, 6 October 2017.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

About Fortinet

Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) secures the largest enterprise, service provider, and government organizations around the world. Fortinet empowers its customers with intelligent, seamless protection across the expanding attack surface and the power to take on ever-increasing performance requirements of the borderless network - today and into the future. Only the Fortinet Security Fabric architecture can deliver security features without compromise to address the most critical security challenges, whether in networked, application, cloud or mobile environments. Fortinet ranks #1 in the most security appliances shipped worldwide and more than 330,000 customers trust Fortinet to protect their businesses. Learn more at, the Fortinet Blog, or FortiGuard Labs.

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