How a historic institution optimized its website for a dynamic content culture

Beyond simple 'cloud hosting'

Imperial College London website

As one of the world’s leading higher education institutions, Imperial College London (ICL) specializes in science, engineering, medicine, and business and its application for the benefit of society, industry, commerce, and healthcare.

Resting on unique historical foundations, strong values, and commitments to excellence in research and education, ICL is well-poised to face the challenges of 2023 and beyond.

For more than 10 years, ICL has partnered with Terminalfour, a higher-education-focused digital engagement and web content management platform to power their website, which is key to its outreach and visibility.

While they previously hosted the platform locally, as part of a wider Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) project to harness the strength of cloud computing, ICL began looking at upgrading their Terminalfour platform and moving it to Terminalfour's Cloud Platform.

The all-in-one Terminalfour option, with the upgraded Terminalfour version on their cloud platform, offers us a more secure, reliable infrastructure

ICL has a cloud infrastructure team and explored different hosting platforms and decided that it was best to host everything under one roof with Terminalfour.

"The all-in-one Terminalfour option, with the upgraded Terminalfour version on their Cloud Platform, offers us a more secure, reliable infrastructure,” explains Daniel Sprawson, Head Of Digital at ICL.

As an AWS Advanced Partner with a Higher Education designation, awarded to companies with demonstrated industry expertise and solutions, Terminalfour's fully secure and managed cloud platform allows universities and colleges like ICL to focus on student success without worrying about the IT infrastructure of their websites.

Tony Wells, ICL’s Technology Delivery Manager, states the move allows them to make the most of the website and sets up foundations to work on other projects, like website redesigns: “We’re happy the site, hosting, and platform are supported. We can look at integrating more systems now. Our baseline is more settled and secure, which sets us up nicely for the next push.”

Overall, the business has seen a positive impact from the cloud platform upgrade. There have been lots of improvements

Terminalfour’s Cloud Platform offer ensures an extremely high level of proactive security to prevent hacking, faster loading speeds with Terminalfour’s Content Delivery Network (CDN/Optimization ), and high availability, regardless of traffic peaks and volumes. 

Terminalfour’s CDN/Image Optimization, based on AWS technology, ensures an excellent user experience—regardless of where the users are in the world—by speeding up the delivery of images, videos, and large assets and optimizing them for their device. 

For ICL, the Cloud Platform provides comprehensive, always-on protection and mitigation against more advanced and sophisticated large-scale website attacks, and also includes penetration testing, security reviews, security housekeeping, support, and more, with the Terminalfour team being able to catch and flag issues to fully secure the site. 

Advanced mitigation, such as web application firewall (WAF) dynamic threat protection and traffic routing techniques, protects the site against sophisticated and larger-scale DDoS attacks that could compromise availability or security.

The Terminalfour Cloud Platform also offers a fully managed service offering, including automated daily backups, patching, and application upgrade, and guaranteed uptimes.

Underpinning the new website is Terminalfour’s robust, secure, and fully managed hosting architecture based on AWS infrastructure, which provides stability and guaranteed uptime regardless of the number of visitors the site receives.

“There have been lots of improvements,” says Dan. “We have 700 members of staff as editors on the Terminalfour platform, and there’s been a significant benefit for them, as well as a drop in support tickets for us, which means it’s freed up the team to do more work on governance and the front-end.”

Editors on the Terminalfour platform also now have access to dashboards, audits, the Media Library, and other functions of the system, which helps them manage the site and the performance of its content.

“Overall, the business has seen a positive impact from upgrading to Terminalfour's Cloud Platform. The working relationship with the Terminalfour team has been vital to supporting our move to the cloud, and the newest version of their digital engagement and web content management platform has been a big benefit to us,” says Dan.

With these foundations for the website in place, ICL can focus its energy on creating compelling content that will continue to attract the best and brightest students and staff, without worrying about the IT infrastructure of their digital engagement and web content management platform.