Securly Announces Partnership with CTL, a Leading Manufacturer of Chromebooks for K-12 Schools

This press release was originally made by CTL. To read the full release, please visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12533722.htm

CTL®, manufacturer of the rugged drop and water resistant CTL Education Chromebook, announced their partnership with Securly, the world’s leading cloud-based provider of Internet Security for K-12 schools from the OETC IntegratED and OETC AcceleratED conferences today. The CTL® Education Chromebook with Securly will help school IT Administrators meet the requirements of the Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA compliance) by offering a dashboard summary of student activity as well as a full audit trail of websites students have either visited or been blocked from accessing. By implementing the CTL® Education Chromebook with Securly in their 1:1 programs, IT staff and educators will be better able to manage and secure the students online screen time both in school and at home.

“CTL Education products are designed to provide the best Return on Investment for our school customers” Says Mike Mahanay, CTL’s Chief Marketing Officer. “By offering Securly on products such as our CTL Education Chromebook, we help our education customers with CIPA compliance at no additional cost”.

Securly is used on over 100,000 Chromebooks in over 500 schools in the US. Securly is the first web filter that has been designed from the ground up for schools providing internet safety for kids. It is completely cloud based, requires minimal set up time and is cost effective. Securly solves the problem of “over blocking” in schools by allowing educators to safely use 21st century instructional tools such as Google, YouTube and Wikipedia in the classroom. The CTL Education Chromebook with Securly will allow teachers to obtain historical information about how students have been spending their time in class. Using the easy-to-read dashboard, teachers can quickly determine if a student has been browsing school-approved web content. In the event that a student is off task, the teacher now has the ability to intervene and take appropriate action. Securly’s web monitoring features save teachers time, allowing them to focus their attention on providing the best possible learning experience for their students.

The company has recently released “Securly for Parents”, the first product to give parents a bird’s eye view of their child’s life online, both in school and at home. Securly for Parents, which will be also be available on the CTL Education Chromebook, will keep parents informed and engaged in the learning process. Securly for Parents weekly reports make it easy for parents to manage their children’s online time, including search history, social networks and the people they are interacting with. Parents can protect their children from inappropriate content, online predators, identity theft, and cyber-bullying by using Securly’s granular reporting capabilities and real-time alerts.

Read our blog post ‘Internet Safety For Kids: CTL Offers Educators Cloud Internet Security on Chromebooks for CIPA Compliance’ to learn more about the CTL Education Chromebook with Securly and view a video of Securly’s Analytics Dashboard.

About CTL:
Founded in 1989, CTL® designs and manufactures computer products including desktop and mobile workstations, LED Monitors, and high performance servers. CTL® also manufactures specialty devices including ruggedized tablets, slates, and digital sign solutions. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon with offices in Asia, CTL® and their partners supply North American consumers, government agencies, and many of the most recognized corporate brands. Buy CTL at http://www.CTL.net or learn About CTL at http://www.CTL.info.

About Securly:
Securly is the world’s leading provider of cloud based analytics and security for K-12 schools. The founding team has a combined 20+ years of experience in the network security space. The company is a venture backed startup in Silicon Valley and serves hundreds of schools in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

A jumbo Chrome extension update focused on evasions

This past week saw the release of significant changes to our Chrome extension that make it resistant to evasion attempts. Please find our release notes from v2.54 below:

1) Killing the extension via Task Manager
One evasion that was reported by several of our customers involved students being able to shut the Chrome extension down via the Chrome Task Manager. Recent changes by Google meant that extensions that are pushed out via the GAfE control panel pop right back up. However, the student did have a few seconds during which they could open up an inappropriate site that is then not filtered retroactively by the filtering extension. The only known solution to this issue (used by competing Chrome extensions) involved renaming the extension to something innocuous sounding (ex: Chromium M). We quickly ruled out this approach since we felt that this constituted Security through Obscurity. We also asked our contacts at Google if they had plans to make any changes to the Chrome architecture that would make certain extensions “un-killable” by less privileged users. We were told that there were no such plans since this approach would introduce security/privacy issues (ex: a keystroke logger extension would be able to run as a privileged process).

Ultimately, our engineering team was able to devise an elegant approach to solving the problem. On start, the Securly Chrome extension blocks inappropriate content on all open tabs. Since the extension pops back up within a second or two after killing it, after a handful of attempts, a student who is trying to evade the extension using this approach will likely get frustrated and stop trying.

We’d like to give a shoutout to customers Lucas Cowden (Park Ridge-Niles School Dist. 64) and Kyle Freise (Batavia Public SD 101) who brought this to our attention.

2) Gaming the address bar for fun and profit
Our customer Phil Feichko brought this evasion to our attention: “Search for anything in omni/URL search box. Then, type site for bypass (maxim.com) in search box at top of browser window. (This is the Google search box with the text still displayed from the previous search.) Then click back arrow in browser. Then click the link for the site in the search results (maxim.com) This gives a one page at a time bypass for sites.”

Thanks Phil! – This issue has been addressed as well.

3) Web-cache based evasion
One of our developers found a way to evade Securly using the Chrome web-cache in certain corner cases. This issue has been addressed in the new release.

4) Initial Accept/Cancel button
This method of evasion was reported around the very first time the student faced an accept/cancel prompt from our extension requesting consent to be initialized. We explored all options available and found an elegant solution that not only fixes the evasion, but also gets rid of the accept/cancel prompt that confused some students. As a bonus, this solution also works offline!

5) Reloading issue
The “Reloading” issue that has affected some of you has now been fixed. We wanted to assure you that this issue did not affect any essential functionality.

Please do let us know if you have any additional questions.

The Power of Positive Web Filtering [Guest Blog Post]

Andrew-Schwab

By Andrew Schwab

best web filter for schools, appliance web filter for K-12, K12 web filtering, cloud-based web filtering

Since June we have been using the Securly web filtering solution. It is a truly cloud based solution with no on-premise equipment and very tight integration with Google Apps for Education. I’m told LDAP integration is coming soon but for us, that hasn’t been a deal breaker since most of our users are on Mac or ChromeOS. With IP based policies being rolled into the UI and a basically infinite ability to scale to meet our future bandwidth needs, Securly is a solution that continues to evolve right along with us.

In comparing Securly to the major web filtering players in the education space, I think it is fair to say that they have a different philosophy about web filtering than most. In the screen shot above, which I freaking love by the way, you can see stats for student web access. Not blocked pages, which they have a view for too, but sites kids are actually using. In our case, as we begin having discussions about wether Newsela is a service we want to pursue as a district standard, we now have compelling data telling us that it’s already being widely used and is in fact our most accessed web site on a weekly basis. The above dashboard is a very simple thumbs up view versus a thumbs down view of our district’s web activity but it goes to the heart of what Securly is about. Providing a web filtering solution for education. This is a relatively recent update to the UI (one that I hope finds it’s way over to the audit trail reports sooner rather than later).

As I’ve said before, I have yet to meet a web filter that did everything I wanted it to do and did it easy. OpenDNS and Untangle still hold a sentimental place for me but Securly is fast becoming the easiest, most classroom friendly web filter I’ve ever used. Particularly in GAFEland. It’s not perfect, but whenever we start discussing other options, we keep coming back to the simple administration, tight Google Apps integration and no on-prem box features that set Securly apart.

I always looked down at web filtering as something that we had to do to be CIPA compliant in schools even if it hampered the learning process in classrooms. Lets be honest and admit that web filtering in the past was all about compliance and limitations and never worked well for the classroom teacher, no matter how hard we tried. With the rise of devices, web filters that over block and don’t allow for teacher judgement have become major impediments to learning. I always believed, and still firmly do, that educating kids (and teachers too) about proper internet etiquette, search and effective use of the web was more powerful than any filter could ever be, but thanks to Securly, I now see a positive use for the (mandatory) web filter that I never did before.

Full disclosure. I’m a fan and Securly didn’t pay me to say so.

*FYI – We can now set Force Login to Google Apps per IP Policy. Yay!

Note: This post first appeared on anotherschwab.com. To read the original post, please visit http://anotherschwab.com/2015/02/07/the-power-of-positive-web-filtering/

Securly Announces Active Directory Single Sign-On

Securly, Inc. – the world’s leading cloud-based provider of Internet Security for K-12 schools – today announced the release of Active Directory Single Sign-On (AD SSO). This offering will provide a seamless login experience for schools using a mixed environment of Active Directory and Google Apps for Education (GAfE).

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When Securly started out over two years ago, its early customers were all GAfE schools with a strong presence of Chromebooks. As the company continued to scale and work with larger districts, it recognized that while most schools in the US are still deployed with GAfE, many of them face the challenges that come with having mixed environments. In particular, these schools use Windows PCs and MacBooks that require users to log into AD.

While Securly’s industry-first cloud-based authentication for GAfE allowed for a single sign-on experience for Chromebooks, users of AD authenticated devices would be prompted to log in twice – first via AD and then again with GAfE – in order for districts to be able to audit their activity. The latter issue is something the new offering will solve. Said Securly architect Due Nguyen: “Our AD SSO solution makes us the first in the industry to offer seamless cloud-based authentication for both AD and GAfE, and takes us one step closer to our goal of providing a smooth experience for all users in mixed environments”.

Unlike other solutions, Securly’s AD SSO offering does not require deployment of agents. It involves a simple server side script that will need to be deployed on a local Intranet server on the school’s network. End hosts will be directed by Securly to the local server for seamless AD authentication. No additional sign-in (on top of the initial sign-in to the Windows/MacBook host) will be required. Said Tim White from Webb City R-VII School District: “Google Apps gets heavy use in Webb City, which makes Securly authentication pretty seamless. Now with AD integration, our Mac and PC users will never see an additional login prompt. That’s a primary goal in every network piece we adopt.” The process of logging into school devices, especially for younger students, can often take a considerable amount of time. Securly’s solution will deliver a stress-free experience for students and give teachers peace of mind that classroom instruction time will be maximized.

Note: Securly’s AD SSO offering will be available to customers in August 2015. For questions, please contact sales(at)securly.com.

About Securly:
Securly is the world’s leading provider of cloud based security for K-12 schools. The founding team has a combined 20+ years of experience in network security. The company is a venture backed startup in Silicon Valley and serves hundreds of schools in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.