University of Technology Sydney

University of Technology Sydney and NTT ICT partner on cloud-first strategy

Client: University of Technology Sydney

Industry: Education, Information Services

Solution: Security

Location: Australia

Established in 1988, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) hosts 42,000 students and 3,500 full-time staff at its central Sydney campus. UTS’s strong track record in innovation, technology, and design has seen it ranked amongst the top 200 universities worldwide, as well as being named the #1 young university (less than 50 years old) within Australia.


  • Data loss in the cloud cannot be recovered after 14 days
  • Security risks threatening long term outlook of cloud-first strategy


  • Office 365 Cloud Backup to backup Office 365 data in the cloud
  • End-to-end web hosting solution with web application firewall protection and bespoke maintenance of WordPress and Drupal instances
  • Penetration testing across all web applications and services


  • Data recovery now takes minutes, not days
  • IT staff can now focus attention on more strategic tasks
  • Right protection against Internet threats

Established in 1988, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) hosts 42,000 students and 3,500 full-time staff at its central Sydney campus. UTS’s strong track record in innovation, technology, and design has seen it ranked amongst the top 200 universities worldwide, as well as being named the #1 young university (less than 50 years old) within Australia.

Challenges: Deliver a reliable, high quality streaming service

As part of its cloud-first strategy, UTS places extremely high emphasis on the availability and security of its users’ data. The university recently adopted Microsoft Office 365 for all students and staff, while maintaining strict guidelines around data sovereignty and security. Doing so has “enabled huge productivity and collaboration gains between students, lecturers, and other faculty staff,” says Steve McEwan, Technical Services Manager, UTS.

Maintaining this cloud-first strategy, began to highlight the limitations of its existing platforms. As a result, UTS was looking for a back-up solution for Office 365 that enabled a way to restore documents or emails more than 14 days after deletion. The university was also concerned with emerging threats like ransomware.

“We have a responsibility to ensure we protect and look after our students’ and staff members’ data properly,” says McEwan. “We needed a product that was granular enough for us to quickly simply recover emails and files, without compromising the sovereignty of our data footprint. We’re all very busy with delivering the best outcomes for students’ experience, so whatever we chose to back up our Office 365 data couldn’t demand too much manual intervention on our part.”


UTS’s other cloud-hosted assets also faced data security and resourcing issues. The IT team identified the need for additional resources to conduct rigorous patching and compliance management for its numerous WordPress and Drupal installations. And penetration testing, one of the university’s top security priorities, required increasingly agile experts to keep up with the rapidly-evolving nature of cybersecurity threats. “One of our guidelines involves running penetration tests on any new website or services,” says McEwan. “We need to make things are properly secured and locked down before anything goes live.”

Solution: Robust end-to-end web management solutions driven by Ntt ict

UTS enlisted the help of NTT Communications ICT Solutions (NTT ICT) to enhance data availability and security throughout its portfolio of cloud services. To maintain the integrity of the university’s Office 365 data, NTT ICT installed its Office 365 Cloud Backup service across more than 45,000 user profiles within just a few days of commission, requiring only one or two hours’ assistance from UTS staff. The NTT ICT service runs in the same Microsoft Azure data centres in Australia that host Office 365, designed to ensure that backed-up data never leaves the one datacentre – let alone the state or country.



“NTT ICT had a deep understanding of both the problem and the solution,” says McEwan. “They offered us the granularity of data recovery that we needed, with a user experience that promised to take the load off our team at an extremely manageable cost. They also recognised that our IT security and compliance teams are very mindful about where our data lives, and proposed a solution where this data doesn’t even traverse the Internet, let alone leave our shores.”

NTT ICT also offered an end-to-end solution for UTS’s web hosting, web application firewall protection, and bespoke maintenance of its WordPress and Drupal instances for full compliance and uptime. NTT ICT migrated UTS’s web assets to its cloud with rigorous quality-assurance and testing for each asset before it went back online, consolidating them on a single platform with standardised processes and security measures.

NTT ICT Case Study UTS Students

Benefits: Simplified and efficient data recovery and support allowing IT to be more strategic

The new backup service has allowed UTS to drastically simplify even the most precise of data recovery tasks, while adhering to the strict data sovereignty and compliance requirements that apply throughout the university. “With NTT ICT’s backup service for Office 365, students and staff don’t have to wait five or six hours to have their data recovered – they get it back in a number of minutes,” says McEwan. “That allows my team to free up time for other projects that are more strategic and helpful to the university experience, while letting students and staff get on with the job much quicker.”

NTT ICT Case Study UTS

Migrating the UTS portfolio of web assets to NTT ICT infrastructure has also lifted the university’s compliance and security levels to new heights. “NTT ICT built a really strong ecosystem around their skills in IT,” says McEwan. “We now have the right protection from a security point-of-view, but we also have help from them with Drupal and WordPress specialist resources, on a private cloud that they understand better than anyone else.”

Apart from end-to-end web security and hosting, UTS now also works with NTT ICT to run penetration testing across all its applications and services. “Internet threats are always evolving and changing, and having a partner like NTT ICT ensures that things are kept up to date,” says McEwan. “It’s hugely important for the University’s reputation that every risk has been mitigated before we go live.”
“NTT ICT have shown true professionalism in delivering what UTS asked for: we’ve worked in close partnership to streamline and integrate our approach to data recovery and security, and the outcomes have been fantastic.”

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