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Contracts and Procurement

System integrator Khipu Networks deploys next-Generation Firewall to provide secure remote access for 41,000 students and staff

London, UK: Palo Alto Networks™, the network security company, has announced that Sheffield Hallam University has signed a five year contract to replace its existing perimeter security infrastructure and provide secure remote access to all 41,000 staff and students. Two Palo Alto Networks PA-5050 next-generation firewalls have been deployed at diverse data centres to provide full application usage visibility, threat control and intrusion prevention systems across the university’s entire network.


One of the largest and most diverse educational institutions in the UK, Sheffield Hallam University has over 37,000 enrolled students across four faculties. Over 4,000 of these are international students, from 119 different countries. The university was looking to overhaul its security system and reduce the number of security devices currently deployed across its network.

The university chose the Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall solution as it allows network administrators to safely enable the use of a vast range of applications across the network and also provide granular policy-based control of all users. In addition to the core solution, Sheffield Hallam University has also implemented Global Protect, which provides secure compliant remote access for all users regardless of location.

The next-generation firewall solution was installed by systems integrator Khipu Networks. Specialising in network security, Khipu Networks has extensive experience in successful security implementations in government, education and corporate settings.

“Universities tend to be particularly diverse environments, and in Sheffield Hallam’s case, with such a large number of international students, even more so. We needed to implement a flexible security infrastructure that can accommodate the use of a wide range of applications without exposing the network to potential threats,” explains Dave Spence, Account Manager of Khipu Networks.

“With Palo Alto Networks’ next-generation firewall it is possible to provide the high level of security required of an educational institution without putting in place draconian restrictions on staff and students in terms of what applications they can and can’t use.”

Sheffield Hallam is also one of the first universities in the UK to take advantage of WildFire, Palo Alto Networks’ cloud-based unknown threat detection technology. WildFire automatically detects malicious files by executing them in a virtualised cloud-based environment, even if the malware has not previously been detected by security researchers. If malicious behaviour is detected, WildFire can stop further distribution of the files throughout the network by issuing security signatures.

“Universities often pose a unique set of challenges for network security professionals,” said Karl Driesen, VP EMEA, Palo Alto Networks. “It can be difficult to balance the needs of the staff and students to freely access information while protecting sensitive data from a wide range of threats. Palo Alto Networks’ technology gives network administrators the power to analyse network traffic and application use by user and to control against suspicious behavior without restricting access to all users across the network.”