Information Technology Review Consultancy
Cape Schools has a centralized customer service system. The system known as Connect streamlines customer support processes. It contains help desk support, service ticket support, self-service support and mobile integration. The system runs on a centralized SQL database and has a client based interface. It integrates a Toshiba PBX Phone system for telephone conversations. It is used to maintain all inquiries, complaints, complements and correspondences either internal or external made to Cape Schools. Since numerous inquiries are made on a daily basis either by internal or external parties, the District has implemented an independent standalone server on a Dell PowerEdge R520 and run by Microsoft Windows Server 2012. Cape Schools has a system support contract with Araman Inc. (the developers) to ensure continuous updating and support for the system.
Connect is a multi-channel contact centre built on an IP-based architecture to support multiple channels of communications. It supports Voice, text chat, email and video on an IP network and an IP-based voice system. Connect integrates inbound and outbound voice applications over the internet. Cape schools adopted this system three years ago to replace the legacy TDM-based communication system. This has allowed better management of customer service as customer service personnel can support multiple interactions at a go regardless of the communication channel adopted by the customer.
Connect has a Network –to-Computer telephony integration which functions on all call centers across the school. Each building in Cape Schools has a customer service/inquiry centre manned by call centre personnel. Secretaries double as call centre representatives in schools faculties. Other centers across the organization are manned by full time call centre representatives. All the call centre representatives report directly to customer service manager in each school. Customer service managers fall under overall leadership of a liaisons director who happens to be the Schools executive secretary.
Connect allow call centre representatives to respond to all inquiries in real time. The client interface comprises of rich features such as live chats, telephone conversations and message exchange. Inquiries made are recorded and kept in a database for quality review and analysis.
The system is secured by the latest call centre security and data integrity features provided by the vendor. The system employs multifactor and risk-based authentication techniques to guarantee the integrity of information given. A user is authenticated by providing something they know and something they are so that a secure environment for information exchange and business transaction is facilitated.
The system also exhibit distributed fault tolerance enabled by self-diagnostics and self-healing functionalities that leverage redundant components. End-point protection of the system is provided by Microsoft End Point Protection 2012 as well as the firewall to manage traffic and prevent Man-in-the-middle, denial of service and eavesdropping.
Cape Schools maintain an elaborate website that contains vast information about the schools calendar, events, courses, leadership and other general information. Charter Communication is the provider of internet connectivity in the District. Cape School’s website is managed by a website specialist Kris Oliveira with support from Technology Coordinator. Website specialist has the overall responsibility for the content of the Cape Schools website across the district while Library and Information Services managed by Follet has responsibility for CMS and web server management.
Cape School website www.csd.com is the primary source of information about the school as well as its marketing strategy. Webo CMS system is utilized to create, update and manage the Schools website.
The website offers the following information: campus information and directions, news and bulletins, school calendars and term dates, sports and recreational services, clubs, societies and unions, executive committee, contact information and locator map. Webo CMS application is proprietary software developed, supported and managed by Analytic Incorporation. Cape Schools has a 5 years support and training contract which expires in 2018.
Cape School website has been hosted on a robust, redundant, round the clock web hosting platform via Microsoft’s Internal Information Server. The district uses IIS create web pages for the schools website using Microsoft Front Page product. Currently, Cape Schools maintain in-house web servers but as from 1st of July Charter communications will host their websites as well as provide internet access. Even after takeoff, Microsoft has special utilities for server administration. A single console enables administrators add content that were not initially installed as snap-ins.
Web server security is the most crucial issue to Cape Schools. Since a web server is the most targeted public facing utility in the organization, securing its data is paramount. Securing a web server, the application and the network around it is the most important activity in the organization. Cape Schools has employed a number of techniques to secure the server.
Web administrator examines the services running on the operating system to ensure that no unnecessary ports are open. Web administrator switches off all unnecessary applications to eliminate open doors for malicious users and abuse. The administrator has noted that switching off unnecessary applications boost the performance of the server by freeing some hardware resources.
Remote access is managed by the web administrator. In order to secure the server, WA log in to web servers locally. Remote access is used when sufficient remote security such as tunneling and encryption. WA has also employed the use of sign on equipment and software and restricted remote access to specific accounts only. Use of public computers and public Wi-Fi to access corporate servers is prohibited.
New applications and installations are not tested on production servers. Web analyst liaise with deployment specialist and network specialist to segregate all the developmental and testing applications from internal applications, databases and other web server resources. The trio ensures that educational activities are isolated from the internet and other real data and resources.
Web application content is safeguarded via server-side scripting. Website applications, scripts and files are kept on a separate partition specified and managed by WA other than that of the operating system, log and system files.
Web analyst coordinate timely installation of security patches on the web server as well as update of Microsoft Server 2012 operating system and the software running in it. Staff also ensures that least privileges are accorded to specific network services running on the web server. This includes users who need to access the server, website, web application files and backend data and databases.
Finally, website security is enhanced through server monitoring and audit. WA ensures that all the Microsoft SQL Server, SQL Server and Oracle logs in the web server and OS are stored in a segregated area to be analyzed and checked on a frequent basis. Strange logs are reported and investigated immediately to determine the vulnerability and threat.
Unused in the Microsoft web server IIS are removed and every application extension is restricted to use a specified HTTP verbs only. URL scan in Microsoft and mod_sec in Apache are configured to provide an extra bit of protection.
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