World University Service of Canada is a Canadian international development nonprofit working with a diverse network of students, volunteers, schools, governments, and businesses. WUSC’s youth-centered solutions look to improve education, economics, and create opportunities to overcome inequality and exclusion in over 25 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
One of their flagship initiatives is the Student Refugee Program, which has been operating in Canada since 1978. “Through this program, we work with the Canadian post-secondary community to provide access to resettlement and higher education for young refugees," says Ken Fraser, the Deputy Director of IT and Digital Transformation at the organization. "Since 1978, our network has resettled more than 2,000 refugee youth to Canada where they are able to build a better future for themselves and their families.”
Fraser wears many hats at WUSC, leading a small team of five people who provide IT services and support for staff around the world.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization unfortunately had to delay many refugee resettlements and shifted international volunteering opportunities to e-volunteering opportunities. The pandemic opened a new world of public engagement as planned in-person events moved online, allowing the organization to open up a global conversation and reach new audiences.
As a non-profit organization that supports volunteers around the world, reliability and security for their external website and internal web applications was essential to keep them online and helping others. WUSC joined Project Galileo in June 2019 while Fraser was looking for a new DNS provider focused on security for the modern web. “A big challenge we had previously was that our security tools only protected internally hosted applications. For any sites we hosted with an external provider there were no monitoring or security tools available, aside from whatever the service provided,” Fraser says. “This has all changed now with Cloudflare. Any site that we proxy through the Cloudflare network has the same reporting, performance and security features such as the web application firewall available whether internally or externally hosted.”
For internal applications, WUSC uses Cloudflare Access to keep their team in Canada and abroad secure when accessing the organization's internal applications. With Access, Fraser and his team can monitor and enforce rules to ensure that unauthorized attempts to access their Wordpress login pages stop at Cloudflare’s network first. As Fraser explains, “Cloudflare Access has been an integral part of securing our sites, and even more so now that we’re all working from home. For example, all of our sites using WordPress are protected with a Cloudflare Access policy in order to prevent anyone on the Internet from getting to the login page, and only specific email addresses added to the policy can get through. It was very simple to set up within Cloudflare and had an immediate benefit to the security posture of our sites.”