Gonzaga University replicates its firewalls in the cloud and saves $40,000 a year on encryption using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
“We are very security-focused at Gonzaga. Security was one of the top three priorities for us as we moved to the cloud. Our goal was to really mesh what we had on-premises in the cloud and keep our security standards high. Oracle and Fortinet's partnership is key, if we didn't tell our people that we moved to the cloud, they would never know. I think this has really opened up OCI for more customers.”
Gonzaga University runs many campus operations, including student registration, on a critical university-focused ERP system. In 2017, Gonzaga’s IT staff learned that the version of the ERP system that they were running in their own data center would soon be retired. This prompted the need for an upgrade. Gonzaga's IT department committed to a cloud-first strategy, so the team began its search.
Security is a primary focus for Gonzaga, said CTO Darren Owsley. “Security is always evolving so security awareness, training the team, and starting security conversations at the beginning of a solution evaluation is critical.” The Gonzaga team developed a tiered data sensitivity framework to classify its data and implement best practices for handling sensitive student, staff, and faculty information. This framework helped guide the university’s evaluation and helped Gonzaga articulate its needs with the Oracle team.
In Gonzaga’s security evaluation of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the team was able to meet the requirements for the framework while continuing to extend the integration of the Fortinet Fortigate firewalls to Oracle Cloud.
I think success really comes down to the partnership. Gonzaga really found a true partnership in working with Oracle. Our Oracle partnership didn’t just start three years ago, it has been a long and positive relationship. We talk weekly, and that helps build confidence and success.
Why Gonzaga University Chose Oracle
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure gave Gonzaga IT the flexibility and partnership needed to extend the university’s on-premises security solutions to the cloud. Oracle Cloud fit nicely with Gonzaga’s multicloud approach to provide students, faculty, and staff with seamless and strong security.
Gonzaga’s primary reason for selecting Oracle Cloud Infrastructure over competitors and alternate deployment options was cost. Gonzaga IT estimated a 25% savings when compared to the same deployment on a competitive cloud infrastructure. The university was also able to eliminate an annual $40,000 contract for on-premises encryption of the data at rest—a capability that is part of the security design of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
Gonzaga’s philosophy of incorporating security best practices throughout the campus is both for protection of its students, faculty, and staff, and to help meet compliance objectives. The university must adhere to FERPA regulations, which significantly impact Gonzaga’s data classification practices. To help meet the FERPA requirements, Gonzaga must encrypt its data at rest. With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, encryption at rest is on by default and the $40,000 cost savings goes directly back into the university for further IT improvements.
To protect sensitive data, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure gave Gonzaga the flexibility with its ERP system to require VPN for all off-campus access, mitigating risk for both the internal administrative components and external self-service capabilities for students, staff, and faculty.
To help meet Gonzaga’s requirements in the cloud, Oracle and Fortinet came together to extend Gonzaga’s on-premises Fortinet Fortigate Firewalls in the cloud. Fortinet’s support and integration with Oracle Cloud meant that Gonzaga could extend their on-premises security posture to the cloud environment without having to learn or manage new security tooling, saving time and reducing the potential for human error. This was a pivotal partnership in Gonzaga’s ultimate decision to select Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The Oracle, Fortinet, and Gonzaga teams met on several occasions to help build a seamless solution to take the university from on-premises to the cloud.