On November 2nd, Scottish internet and e-mail security firm Bloxx announced that they had been acquired by US based content delivery company Akamai. The company says that they will be honouring the ongoing contracts with their customers. But according to CEO Charles Sweeney "the current Bloxx product set will no longer be available for sale or refresh" and renewals will only be offered until the end of January.
This announcement has left schools that use Bloxx's internet filtering products with a great deal of uncertainty. Those with contracts expiring within the next 3 months will be able to renew for a year, giving them some time to look for replacement solutions. However, it will not be possible to extend contracts expiring after January, leaving some schools with only a few months to obtain quotes and replace their online safety systems. In "frequently asked questions" published on their website, the company has only said that they will "be in touch" with such customers.
One school commented "we've just signed a 3 year contract" and are concerned that they weren't given any "heads up". Some commenters have speculated that the products will simply be rebranded. However, Bloxx says that "Akamai plans to extend its portfolio of cloud-based security services to focus on the enterprise [sector]" indicating a rapid withdrawal from the education sector. Several of Bloxx's biggest partners have complained that they were given no warning and have been caught off guard by the announcement.
Another British online safety firm is offering to help affected schools to transition their networks away from the discontinued products. Opendium, who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary, say that they can replace Bloxx filters and provide training for school IT staff.
Schools will be able to transition to Opendium's Iceni online safety systems with minimum disruption before the end of their Bloxx contracts. They say that for many schools, it is often possible to reduce costs by reusing some of the existing Bloxx equipment. Opendium are also offering to match Bloxx's prices to protect schools against unexpected costs that they had not budgeted for. Schools can also opt to have a free "overlap period" so that they can upgrade immediately rather than waiting for their existing contract to expire.
Opendium is encouraging schools or Bloxx partners with any questions or concerns to contact them to discuss how they can help. Opendium can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01792 824568. You can download the Iceni online safety brochure here.
- Opendium is a British business which develops and supplies online safety systems and network architecture consultancy services.
- Opendium was established in 2005 with the aim to provide schools with high quality ICT systems coupled with highly experienced support engineers.
- Opendium supplies both the independent and state school sectors across the UK.
- As a 10th anniversary celebration, new customers receive free advanced support for a year.
- Website: http://www.opendium.com
- Twitter: @opendium