Given the shift towards cloud computing in recent years, schools are moving away from traditional hardware web filtering appliances for the following reasons:
- The don’t have school-focused features.
- They’re too expensive.
- They’re not designed to filter students at home. They require nontrivial setup and maintenance.
Our unique approach to student safety combats all of these issues, and has garnered us a presence in schools in 42 of the 50 States, and in the UK – all of this accomplished in less than four years. In the past year alone, we were 1) chosen as a SC Media 2017 Excellence Award Finalist in the Best Compliance Solution 2) awarded the Tech & Learning’s Award of Excellence for “Best Upgraded Product” and 3) became the first web filtering company to receive the iKeepSafe California Privacy Badge.
Here’s why schools trust Securly as their answer to CIPA Compliance and online student safety:
1. Quick, easy set-up and maintenance
Contrary to traditional hardware appliances which require an arduous set-up process, Securly can be independently installed within 5 minutes through a web browser session. The only changes to your network would involve a change in DNS forwarder settings. Securly is infinitely scalable in the cloud and does not have any bandwidth limitations.
Our cloud-based solution eliminates complicated set-up and constant maintenance that often burdens IT admins. It also eliminates extraneous costs of mandatory updates and extra features, cutting expenses dramatically for schools.
Securly continues to work for school-owned devices at home. Chromebook filtering uses a Chrome extension that takes only seconds to deploy. To find out more, check out “How to install the Securly Chrome Extension in 5 Minutes”.
2. Excellent support
Securly is with school IT every step of the way. We were even awarded the Tech & Learning Stellar Service Award for “Sales Support You Can Believe In.” We have a first response time of 12 minutes and a median ticket solve time of 1.5 hours pre-and-post sale. We give IT admins a white-glove onboarding experience which includes network configuration changes and an end-to-end UI walkthrough and training.
In addition, Securly’s support site is easy to navigate and features a variety of step-by-step guides intended to answer quick questions and smooth the configuration process (for example “How to Install the Securly Chrome Extension in 5 Minutes” featured above).
3. Bullying and self-harm detection
Our commitment to student safety goes beyond CIPA compliance – Securly is the industry’s first cyberbullying detection solution. Using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning algorithms, Securly can detect instances of bullying and self-harm on social media, and now Gmail*. This technology does not rely solely on keywords to detect human audits.
Nowadays, students often turn to social media to express emotional distress. At the first sign of negative sentiment, we send high confidence alerts to both parents and school administration so that the student can receive the proper support ASAP. Mark Nelson, the Technology Director of Romeo Community Schools, has seen the power of this feature first-hand: “Securly’s Flagged Activity has helped us contact school counselors four times to make them aware of alarming posts by teenagers. The avoidance of a single tragedy with one of our students is worth 1000x the subscription price.”
*Auditor by Securly is our free tool to monitor Gmail for bullying and self-harm. Keeping this tool free forever is our commitment to K-12 schools.
4. Parent engagement
We believe that online student safety is best achieved when IT Admins, School Administration & Guidance Counselors, Parents, and Students work together. Thus, we provide parents with the tools to be engaged in and aware of their child’s online activity.
For parents, we provide automatic weekly email reports of their child’s online activity on school owned devices and more detailed activity information with our parent portal. The portal gives parents a bird’s eye view of their child’s activity on school owned devices. Parents can also customize what their child can do and see at home using the school-owned take home devices. More about parent features can be found here.
We also created a mobile app for parents to help them stay in the loop while on-the-go.
5. Relief for IT Admins and Teachers
An IT Admin’s job often becomes a bottleneck of support tickets and flagged student activity. To alleviate this inefficiency, Securly has created solutions to reduce the stress on IT Admins that engage teachers, guidance counselors, and parents.
Teacher-Centric Filtering. Admins can allow teachers to temporarily or permanently whitelist individual sites as exceptions to a district policy. “This is precisely how we felt after making the move to Securly,” says Tom Walker, Director of Technology for Massac. “We felt compelled to go with Securly because of its teacher-friendly benefits. For example, if teachers come across a blocked site, they can simply temporarily whitelist the site to grant access for themselves or their students. As an IT administrator who typically receives numerous support tickets, this made my job a whole lot easier, and my teachers a whole lot happier!”
Delegated Administration. Our “set-and-forget” solution allows IT Admins to allow automatic access for Principals, Guidance Counselors, and Parents access to student activity reports.