Web filtering is becoming an increasingly important topic in K-12 schools. The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires that U.S. schools have appropriate measures in place to protect students from obscene or harmful online content. Technological innovation has brought more computing power into classrooms, but with the rise of Chromebooks, iPads, and other devices also comes the need to protect students from inappropriate content across the web, while at the same time allowing students to use rich educational sites to enhance their learning.
Solutions Built Exclusively for Schools
There are a number of solutions for schools to address their web filtering needs:
- Securly is a cloud-based solution that integrates with Google Apps for Education and Active Directory and is designed to prevent the problem of "overblocking" in K-12 schools.
- WebScreen 2.0 is a bespoke web filtering system specifically designed for use across the UK education system, produced by Atomwide Ltd. Currently used throughout the UK, it provides granular control down to user level based filtering through integration with the award winning Atomwide USO (Unified Sign On) authentication system. Time based filtering is another feature that aids flexibility so that filtering policies can be adjusted automatically for different users at different times of the day â" for example, allowing access to social media during lunch times. All filtering is Internet Watch Foundation compliant and set for the highest level of e-safety. The largest user of WebScreen2.0 and USO is London Grid for Learning (LGfL) with in excess of 1 million end users.
Alternative Solutions Serving Both Education and Other Verticals
Although these other solutions aren't designed for schools, they are sometimes used as a school's answer to web filtering:
- Barracuda Networks
- M86 Security
- Meraki by Cisco
- NetSupport Manager
- Sophos provides web content filtering products for endpoint, gateway and cloud. Filtering is granular and customizable providing the ability to filter URLs based on students, teachers, locations and devices. Additionally filtering can be performed against applications being used. SSL filtering is highly configurable allowing determination of what is decrypted and scanned and what is not based on URL and/or category. Sophos can provide Children's Internet Protection Act certified solutions.
- Untangle Internet Content Control provides granular visibility and control with separate controls for students, teachers, classrooms, grade levels, and sites.