PROVINCIAL LICENSING AND PURCHASING

Licensing and purchasing on a province-wide basis helps ensure consistency in hardware and software products and provides economies of scale for smaller school divisions.

  • Purchase advice and assistance for hardware such as routers, switches and firewalls
  • Negotiation of software licensing agreements and hardware discounts
  • Advice on licensing and purchasing of software
Microsoft Logo

The Microsoft Education Select Agreement offers schools, post-secondary institutions, public libraries, museums and other qualified institutions the opportunity to buy software licences. Microsoft products are available in different languages. Microsoft Select Agreement renewal documentation is required to continue purchasing Microsoft licensing and software. For more information, please contact us.

Surface Devices for Manitoba Education

MERLIN negotiated with Microsoft and their appointed vendor to offer cost savings to the education community on Surface devices effective June 2019. These devices include Surface Go, Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2 and the Surface Book 2.

Microsoft K–12 Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES)

The Microsoft Enrollment for Education Services (EES) (three-year) Agreement for Manitoba K-12 education and First Nations schools was renewed July 1st, 2019.

Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions for post-secondary institutions

MERLIN also negotiated a three-year Enrollment for Education Solutions Agreement (EES) for all post-secondary institutions in Manitoba which is expiring at the end of March 2020. MERLIN is currently in the process of renegotiating a new three-year agreement.

adobe

Cumulative Licensing Program or CLP

MERLIN is in a province-wide agreement with Adobe called the Cumulative Licensing Program or CLP. This provides all Manitoba schools with special pricing on owned Adobe software licenses. Schools are required to sign the Adobe Indemnity Agreement before placing orders for Adobe products. To obtain a copy of the Adobe Indemnity Agreement, or for more information, please contact MERLIN.

Please note – all orders may be subject to a shipping and handling charge. Due to fluctuations in the US dollar, it has been difficult for MERLIN to maintain an accurate price list and cannot guarantee the pricing to be correct at the time of your order.

Purchase orders should be forwarded to MERLIN at: 100 – 135 Innovation Drive, Winnipeg, MB R3T 6A8 or emailed to licensing@merlin.mb.ca.

Trimble SketchUp Pro

MERLIN continues to be a facilitator of the Trimble SketchUp Pro K-12 State-Wide License Grant Program providing all public K-12 schools with access to the latest versions at no cost. This software allows you to create 3D models of anything you like.

Teachers are using it on many grade levels and in many subject areas from computer technology to math, geography and science.

Contact licensing@merlin.mb.ca to obtain your license keys.


CONSULTING

This service includes per diem consulting, project consulting and support contracts.

  • Design and implementation of LAN and WAN directory services and server infrastructures
  • Advice on the selection of technical equipment and services
  • Support for the installation and maintenance of workstations
  • Advice on technologies that support distance education delivery
  • Network systems management
  • Security services (VPN, WAN, etc)
  • Review of a school division’s existing technology plans

CONSULTING

This service includes per diem consulting, project consulting and support contracts.

  • Design and implementation of LAN and WAN directory services and server infrastructures
  • Advice on the selection of technical equipment and services
  • Support for the installation and maintenance of workstations
  • Advice on technologies that support distance education delivery
  • Network systems management
  • Security services (VPN, WAN, etc)
  • Review of a school division’s existing technology plans

HOSTING

MERLIN offers an array of Information Technology (IT) hosting services saving school divisions and post-secondary institutions costs in server hardware, software, upgrades and staff resources.

MERLIN’s hosting services include the following listed below:

MERLIN hosts a variety of software applications for the education community.

This service offers the following benefits:

  • Provides each school division access to a virtual instance of the firewall platform;
  • Ability to manage your own rules and reporting;
  • Ability to integrate into your own directory;
  • No capital cost required;
  • Annual subscription includes support, threat preventioncontent filtering, spyware protection.

MERLIN manages a Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure which can be used by school staff for collaboration, document management, forms, announcements, calendars and many other features.

This service remotely backs-up server data to MERLIN’s Data Centre.

This electronic mail discussion list gives each list a unique web page and allows users to subscribe, unsubscribe and change their account options using a web interface.

MERLIN manages a shared Microsoft Exchange infrastructure to provide school staff with the full features of Exchange, including email, shared calendar and contacts.

The desktop Outlook client, browser-based Outlook, and most smartphone are supported.

MERLIN provides educational institutions with hosted virtual infrastructure services including virtual servers, and backup storage. Principal benefits include cost efficiencies on both infrastructure and licensing, as well as redundancy and fault tolerance.

MERLIN provides Internet domain hosting services, e.g. “schooldivision.ca”. This service does not include domain name registration.

A complete list of registrars can be found on CIRA’s website.


SECURITY

It is important to analyze risks to your networks and set up steps needed to select and deploy the appropriate counter measures to reduce your exposure to network threats.

MERLIN has a comprehensive line of IT security services to assist you.

“Spam” is electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings or is more generally known as any unsolicited email. In addition to wasting people’s time with unwanted email, spam also consumes large amounts of network bandwidth.

MERLIN’s spam/virus filter is an integrated software solution for complete protection of your email server. MERLIN’s filter is compatible with all email servers and regularly processes 3 million messages a day.

MERLIN’s anti-virus solution scans incoming email for malicious software or malware. This includes viruses, Trojans, key loggers, dialers, and other code that vandalizes or steals a computer’s contents.

MERLIN ingests threat intelligence from 46 unique sources, collecting over 3 million indicators of compromise (IoCs). These IP addresses, URLs and domain names are used by MERLIN’s Next Gen Firewall and DNS servers to block malicious traffic going to and from MERLIN’s clients before any data can be exchanged. On a typical day, more than 200 million malicious connections are blocked, all done transparently without requiring any effort by MERLIN clients.

Web content filtering can prevent computer users from viewing inappropriate websites or content and prevent access to known malware hosts. Web traffic is compared against the URL filtering database which contains a listing of millions of websites that have been categorized into approximately 60-80 categories. Clients can customize URL profiles and add lists of specific websites that should always be blocked or allowed for more granular control over URL categories. For example, a school may want to block social-networking sites but allow some websites that are part of the social-networking category. Objectionable search engine results can be reduced by enforcing safe search settings in users’ browsers.

Benefits of local administration:

  • School or division administrators can be delegated to edit profiles by allowing or denying access to certain websites, IPs, or entire categories either temporarily or permanently.
  • Administrators can also create their own lists for both blocked sites (“blacklist”) and allowed sites (“white list”). Administrators can run their own reports or request reports from MERLIN.

Denial-of-service and/or distributed denial-of-service (collectively, DDoS) attacks are on the rise and have evolved into complex and overwhelming security challenges for organizations large and small. Although DoS attacks are not a recent phenomenon, the methods and resources available to conduct and mask such attacks have dramatically evolved and have become much easier to access and use.

MERLIN’s advanced Denial-of-Service protection matches the sophistication and scale of such threats and can be used to automatically or semi-automatically mitigate these attacks of all forms.

MERLIN uses the market-leading Next Generation Firewall. The Next Generation Firewall is positioned in-line between MERLIN partners and the upstream Internet service providers.

Traffic is inspected as it passes through the device, which determines whether it is legitimate or malicious. Potentially harmful traffic is blocked and is unable to reach its intended target.

Spyware is any software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization through the user’s Internet connection without their knowledge or permission. This spyware is usually used to relay the information to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware will keep track of websites and may log your keystrokes to determine passwords and login information. This would allow malicious actor to take over some of the operations of your computer.

MERLIN’s spyware filter is an integrated anti-spyware gateway solution that works to block spyware from getting into your organization. It combines preventative, reactive, and proactive measures to form a complete anti-spyware solution.

Here’s what MERLIN’s spyware filter can do for your school division:

  • Stops spyware downloads (including drive-by downloads)
  • Blocks spyware downloads
  • Blocks exploitation of application and website vulnerabilities
  • Detects and blocks spyware access to the Internet

ACCESS TO HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SERVICES

Connectivity

MERLIN continues to offer Internet gateway services to educational institutions that can connect directly to MERLIN. The Agency also provides value-added services such as firewall, anti-spam, anti-virus, and web content filtering. MERLIN Partners receive un-metered access to Internet once they connect to MERLIN. Bandwidth will be determined by the speed of the Partner’s connection to MERLIN. MERLIN provides consultation in procuring the best possible connection to MERLIN for clients.

It is the responsibility of the school division to acquire a connection to MERLIN.

MRnet and CANARIE

MERLIN provides access to CANARIE and MRnet (Manitoba’s Regional Advanced Research and Education Network). – MRnet is a consortium of private and public sector research and development organizations dedicated to the advancement of broadband networking and network applications. CANARIE interconnects the provincial research networks, universities, research centers, government, research laboratories, schools, and other eligible sites, both with each other and with international peer networks. CANARIE also provides high-speed access to popular Internet-based resources and content providers such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others via the CANARIE Content Delivery Service (CDS). MERLIN is consistently one of the top three largest users of CANARIE’s CDS in Canada. Your traffic must be router through MERLIN to take advantage of this.

Internet Weather Map

MERLIN staff have created a new “Weather Map” dashboard.  This new tool is a point-in-time view of the school division, post-secondary and Independent school Internet usage across the Province of Manitoba.  Usage statistics are updated every five minutes. 

IPv6 at MERLIN

MERLIN offers both native IPv6 connectivity and assistance with deploying IPv6 in client’s networks.

MERLIN’s core routing and security infrastructure are dual-stack (IPv6 and IPv4) from the Internet edge through to the client network connections. Any existing MERLIN client with a layer-2 link to MERLIN can enable IPv6.

MERLIN can assign IPv6 address space to clients or they can obtain their own addresses through ARIN which can then be routed by MERLIN.

MERLIN can also assist our clients with IPv6 education, testing, and deployment. Please contact us for more information.

Monitoring/reporting of Internet traffic

Monitoring, managing, and reporting of Internet traffic is available upon request along with blocking of inappropriate applications. Examples of this include peer to peer file sharing and instant messaging. An Internet connection to MERLIN is required to take advantage of this service, which would allow a school to block streaming traffic, and other applications that could be consuming Internet bandwidth.


PARTNER PROGRAMS

What are the Partner Programs about?

The MERLIN Partner Programs include a collection of commonly used technology services that translates into major cost savings for schools and post-secondary institutions in Manitoba. This is a unique opportunity for the education sector to work collaboratively with MERLIN to facilitate technology solutions common to all.

There are two Partner Program Agreements:

  1. K-12 schools and
  2. Post-secondary institutions

What are the benefits?

The Partner Programs includes tangible benefits that provides savings on software, content filtering, Internet and other features. Additional savings are also realized through:

  • Compliancy
  • Best practices
  • Consistency of application
  • Simplicity in reporting systems
  • Long-term technical and financial planning
  • Over the long term, the Partner Programs will take advantage of the economies of scale and offers a unique opportunity for Manitoba school divisions and post-secondary institutions to respond to new and emerging technologies into the future while allowing them to work within existing financial limitations.

Participation

100% of Manitoba school divisions currently participate in the K-12 Partner Program. MERLIN’s K-12 Partner Program three-year Agreement was renewed on July 1st, 2019.

The Agency is currently renegotiating the Partner Program Agreement for post-secondary institutions.

PARTNER PROGRAMS

What are the Partner Programs about?

The MERLIN Partner Programs include a collection of commonly used technology services that translates into major cost savings for schools and post-secondary institutions in Manitoba. This is a unique opportunity for the education sector to work collaboratively with MERLIN to facilitate technology solutions common to all.

There are two Partner Program Agreements:

  1. K-12 schools and
  2. Post-secondary institutions

What are the benefits?

The Partner Programs includes tangible benefits that provides savings on software, content filtering, Internet and other features. Additional savings are also realized through:

  • Compliancy
  • Best practices
  • Consistency of application
  • Simplicity in reporting systems
  • Long-term technical and financial planning
  • Over the long term, the Partner Programs will take advantage of the economies of scale and offers a unique opportunity for Manitoba school divisions and post-secondary institutions to respond to new and emerging technologies into the future while allowing them to work within existing financial limitations.

Participation

100% of Manitoba school divisions currently participate in the K-12 Partner Program. MERLIN’s K-12 Partner Program three-year Agreement was renewed on July 1st, 2019.

The Agency is currently renegotiating the Partner Program Agreement for post-secondary institutions.

COVID-19 Update from MERLIN
MERLIN staff will be carrying on with regular business operations. Our first priority is the health and safety of our clients and have postponed technical events and training due to this outbreak. If you require any assistance in providing IT solutions to your educational organization in Manitoba, please contact us . Please visit Government of Manitoba and Government of Canada for COVID-19 Guidelines and Updates.
+ +