Now you can install Securly from a web browser

securly, web, network, self-serve, schools, web filter

We’re not only the leading cloud-based provider of Internet security for K-12 schools, but also the industry’s first self-servable web filter.  “With our self-serve update, Securly is realizing its long-held vision of giving IT Admins a product that can be set up in minutes,” says Paul Katcher, UI developer at Securly.

Since the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in 2000, web filtering has been required for schools that seek e-rate funding. Customarily, the industry has been heavily dominated by appliance hardware players.  Their products need to be shipped, painstakingly setup and often end up as bandwidth bottlenecks on K-12 networks that are increasingly turning to bandwidth-hungry applications such as streaming media.

By contrast, we have been cloud-based from day one. With no need for a hardware appliance, customers can deploy Securly with a few simple network configuration changes and benefit from functionality such as granular auditing and policies that they are familiar with. In doing so, they are assisted by our award winning support team based in Charlotte.

Setup can be independently completed through a web browser session without ever needing to speak with a sales or support person. With this update, Securly eliminates the complexity of network based web-filters with the simplicity of EdTech tools like Remind and ClassDojo.

We hope self-serve will save IT Admins time and frustration during the back-to-school rush.  For more information, contact support@securly.com.

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Introducing a Pause Button for Take-Home Devices

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Kids spending too much time on their school issued devices?  With our new mobile app, parents can now shut off internet activity with a single tap. It’s really that simple.  Perfect for parents who want more control over their kids’ screen time on school owned devices.

It’s impossible for parents to keep an eye on their children 24/7.  Many parents we’ve encountered fear their child is spending too much time online, using their school-owned devices for online gaming and other time sinks.  Research has linked rising numbers of childhood obesity, disrupted sleep patterns, and under-developed motor/cognitive function to device overuse.  However, results vary greatly on this topic – and others cite that screen time is beneficial to child development.  Essentially, moderation is key.

Securly can help parents manage their child’s screen time.  Securly’s engineering team is furiously cranking away at making major improvements to our parent product. We already have 75+ districts across the country signed up to be “Partner Districts” for the launch of our Parent Portal + App + Email reports. Come Fall, these Districts will have one more awesome feature to look forward to that we think their parents are going to love – A Pause Button for take-home devices.

Oh did we forget to mention that this does not cost parents a thing?

Coming to school owned devices near you this Fall.

 

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13 Steps to Shape & Secure Your 1:1 Chromebook Program

chromebooks, web filtering chromebooks, 1:1 chromebook, filter chromebooks at home, chromebook filter

The following tips will help maximize the online safety and productivity of your students.  We will demystify the Google Apps for Education Admin Console, providing you with the tools to successfully optimize your school’s 1:1 program and edtech experience.  Taken from Best Practices to Shape & Secure Your 1:1 Program for Chromebooks.

The Google Apps cloud-based policy, simplified:

  1. Device Settings (Steps 1-3)
  2. User Settings (Steps 4-13)

>Chrome Device Settings

1. Enroll Your Device

To enroll a Chromebook into the school policy, make sure the device is first enrolled into the enterprise policy by keeping the “Allow devices to enroll automatically” setting turned ON for organizational units requiring admin management.  Students can then login without admins needing to individually login to each of these devices.  

chromebooks

 

2. Deactivate Guest Mode

Restrict Guest Mode to better audit student activity.  Otherwise, through a guest account, students can use the Chromebook without the district user policy in place.

chromebooks, 1:1 chromebook

 

3. Limit Sign-in Access

This allows students to use only their given school account for browsing the web, ensuring thorough auditing.

chromebooks

 

>Chrome User Settings

4. Display Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) Upon Startup

Via “Pages to Load on Startup” in settings, schools can set their Acceptable Use Policy  as the first thing students see upon opening a browser.  This serves to remind students of proper online conduct, digital citizenship best practices, and any other school policies they are bound by.

acceptable use policy, chromebooks, digital citizenship

 

5. Set Policy Refresh Rate to 30 Minutes

Select the minimum 30 minutes for time between policy refreshes to guarantee your students’ Chromebooks are updating with each new admin console change.
1:1 chromebook web filter

 

6. Enable Safe Browsing & Malicious Sites Protection

Choose “Always enable Safe Browsing” and “Prevent user from proceeding anyway to malicious sites” to protect your students from phishing and sites that involve platform independent vulnerabilities (identity theft, financial theft, password theft, etc).

chromebooks, online safety

 

Take Home Policy –  If the Chromebooks leave school with the students, there are two ways to secure the devices: a web filter proxy or a Chromebook extension.  Both solutions intercept and police network traffic to and from the devices.

 

7a. Change Proxy Settings for Take Home Policies

Arrange settings to point to your filter’s Proxy Autoconfiguration (PAC) file.  The PAC files allow you to control what traffic should be proxied.

home web filter, chromebook filtering at home

 

7b. Deploy Pre-installed Apps and Extensions

Using the “Manage pre-installed apps” wizard, search for the filtering extension of your choice on the Chrome Web Store, and deploy it to the organizational units that will take the devices home.

chromebooks, filter chromebooks

 

8. Block Apps and Extensions

Blocking all apps and extensions will prevent students from later installing games and other time-sinks.

chromebooks

 

9. Auto-authorize Plugins

Certain plugins require authorization from the students before they install or initialize.  However, in accordance with the whitelisting approach of only letting admin-installed plugins run, admins can auto-authorize requests so they are never presented to students.

chromebooks

 

10. Save Browser History and Disable Incognito Mode

Keep browser history turned ON for a complete report of online student activity.  Disallow incognito mode – it bypasses pre-installed security apps and can be used to evade the district filtering policy.

chromebooks, safe search

 

11. Turn Google Safe Search ON

If your district’s web filter does not support Safe Search for Google, apply this setting to enforce safe search directly via the Chrome policy.  Note: this safe search setting only applies to Google.  However, a variety of safe search websites are available for student use and some web filters are capable of enforcing safe search on multiple platforms.

chromebooks, google safe search, safe search, google image search

 

12. Disable Developer Tools

Developer tools can be used to circumvent district policy or gain unfair advantage over other students by reverse engineering of edtech applications that transmit insecure data or have confidential information hidden away in the code.chromebooks

 

13. Restrict Chrome:// URLs

Disable chrome://extensions and chrome://settings.  Chrome://extensions allow students to start/stop extensions.  Chrome://settings and other chrome://addresses provide settings or information unnecessary to students.

chromebooks

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6 Student Suggestions to Improve Web Filtering

 

web filtering, web filtering for schools, edtech, online student safety, safe search

 

The following are real student responses from an international survey we conducted during Summer 2015.  We asked students what changes would improve the web filtering experience.  Note: our survey participants included both Securly and non-Securly users.

1. Quick Whitelisting

“At school, I would appreciate the ability for teachers or someone to quickly unblock a website for us if it was blocked wrongly or if it was needed for schoolwork. It usually just says, ‘see an administrator’, which isn’t helpful at all.”

School districts are allowed to use any web filter, as long as it complies with the FCC Children Internet Protection Act.  Thus, each web filter has different functionalities and protocol for unblocking sites.  Securly allows teachers to immediately whitelist a blocked site, making the site available to the entire classroom (temporarily, or not, depending on the school district’s chosen master settings).

 

2. Image vs. Text

“The filter should see if the page has any learning stuff on it. If it is blocked because of pictures, they should only block the pictures and not the entire page.”

Students often feel that some pages are unnecessarily restricted; this hinders their academic research, leaving them frustrated.  In the meantime, students can use safe image search sites and databases to find credible information.

 

3. Balance

“Have a certain amount of time set for being on a particular website (games, social media, entertainment sites). This would be a good change because students would be able to play games but still focus on school. And not worry about trying to get around the filter anymore.”

A quick game break may refresh students from their afternoon stupor, allowing them to refocus on the topic at hand.  In addition, teachers can utilize technology and social media to their advantage in lesson planning.

 

4. More Than Keywords

“It filters any websites with drugs which is annoying. For dance class, I’ve needed to research them as part of my coursework. I would like to see a more specific filtering system that doesn’t filter a whole site because of one word.”

Many of the comments we received had similar sentiment.  Securly supports customizable user policies, focusing on a handful of filtering categories that matter most for the K-12 environment.

 

5. Stricter Filtering 

“Web filtering also doesn’t filter everything it should. Only the things that are more popular.”

Seems like some students feel web filtering is not strict enough.  Students with siblings in younger grades were particularly concerned about the availability of inappropriate information online.

 

6. Digital Citizenship Education

“I feel like web filtering at school is definitely necessary, however, this type of filtering is not usually used at home and therefore they [students] are not really being taught to use the Internet safely. They are just restricted from content that is seen as inappropriate that could be accessed easily at home.”

Many of the students we interviewed felt that their school did not clearly outline an Internet Safety policy or teach digital citizenship practices.  Check out these tips to successfully integrate technology into your 1:1 classroom.  

 

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What Students Are Actually Doing Online

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Curious as to how children are spending their time online?  So are we.  We surveyed 400+ students to find out just how kids ages 9-18 are using their display devices.

On average, students spend about 5-10 hours per day on their device(s) (smartphone, iPad, laptop, etc).  This of course varies by age group: we found that younger teens (aged 13-15) spend the most time in front of their screens in comparison to other age groups.  Children typically receive their first cell phone around age 12, which explains this heightened usage distribution.

Students from around the world reported using their devices for the following activities (time allocation in descending order): Social Media, Schoolwork, Entertainment, Gaming.

 

1. SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook is the most visited social media network, used even by children younger than the age restriction.  Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr also have a large following of adolescent subscribers.  These sites are intended to be a harmless way to connect with peers.  However, 1/3 of our survey participants experienced cyberbullying and 43% of students have been harassed online according to a recent DoSomething.org nationwide study.  

Common Sense Media outlines the top social media websites/apps of 2016 and what to be aware of for online safety purposes.

2. SCHOOLWORK

As technology becomes fully integrated into the classroom and 1:1 programs are on the rise, students have reason to spend even more time online.  Students use search engines and databases for research projects, and sites like Khan Academy for video walkthroughs of educational material.

However, 53.6% of students admitted to being sidetracked half of the time while working on school assignments –distributing this “procrastination time” among the other three activities.

 

3. ENTERTAINMENT

Kids are especially adept at surfing YouTube.  Five minutes spent browsing the site can easily turn into a few hours.  The related search algorithm automatically delivers a multitude of videos for the user, based on their search history.  YouTube offers tutorials, funny videos, music, and really anything you can think of.  According to  “What Kids Are Really Watching on YouTube”,  children are spending most of their time watching gaming tutorials, fashion/make up bloggers, Minecraft, and “challenge videos” (i.e. the “Cinnamon Challenge”, in which YouTubers try to eat an entire spoonful of cinnamon at one time).

TV/movie streaming sites such as Netlifx, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are also popular among youth.  Instant access to entire TV series listings allows kids to finish an entire season in one sitting, called “binge watching”.

 

4. GAMING

Lastly, children –especially younger audiences– tend to use their devices for online gaming.  Top game sites include Nick.com, PBS Kids, CoolMathGames, and GirlsGoGames.  Among older users, free-to-play multiplayer online battle games like “League of Legends” are common.

 

Many of these sites do include safety features (including safe search, restricted mode, YouTube Restricted Mode, etc.) and parental controls.  See the Parental Control Quick Guide for tips on how to enable these built-in functions.

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Safe Image Search Resources for Students

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The rise of edtech and 1:1 devices affords teachers to encourage online research.  Recent Pew Research Center data suggests that the very nature of research has drastically changed: students quickly find just enough information to satisfy research assignments via big name search engines and stop there.  Transfer a few sentences and an image onto a Prezi slide and voila!  According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project study, many teachers “see the combination of text and images on the internet ‘bringing to life’ the subjects their students are interested in, in ways that prior generations did not experience”.  They consider image access a wonderful asset of the internet.  Explicative images accommodate visual learners and captivate students.  

Google Safe Image Search is a great place to start research.  However, the internet is a forum for public exchange of information and Google Image results can be inappropriate or irrelevant for student use, not to mention biased.  Students may stumble upon unsavory content more often than not.   Similar can be said for Yahoo and Bing image searches.  Instead, have students use sites and databases designed for educational purposes, like the Creative Commons Safe Image Filter, to find the most credible and appropriate results.

 

Check out these sites to get the best images for research assignments:

Pics4Learning

Pics4Learning.com is a safe, free image library and the largest education image database on the web.  They supply school-friendly friendly photos which cover everything from geography to art, olympics to astronomy, and much more.  Searches for historical content are often times redirected to accredited archives; for example, a search for “Civil War” photos redirects to the Library of Congress Civil War Collection.  They also have lesson plans for teachers, equipped with matching images.

 

US Geological Survey (USGS)

This Federal agency includes a branch devoted to education which provides images, videos, labs, and online lectures on their website to educate youth about natural phenomena.  Resources are separated into three categories: “Grades K-6”, “Grades 7-12”, and “Undergraduate”.  Biology?  Geography?  Geology?  This is an extensive source for all things science. 

 

Big Picture Education

Big Picture is a biannual publication known for its coverage of biology.  However, you can use this site to find photographs, flowcharts, and diagrams in a wide range of topics for all ages.  When searching for “drugs”, Big Picture Education provides images for the willow bark, the origin of aspirin.  Like the previous two websites, BigPictureEducation.com also offers more than helpful image search results.  Their interface is user-friendly and useful for narrowing down results.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 12.05.01 AM

 

Photos for Class

Photos for Class guarantees age appropriate images, automatic citation, and Creative Commons (photos licensed for legal, public use).  Creative Commons kills two birds with one stone by ensuring legality, which in turn eliminates impropriety.  And they have a sense of humor: a search for “sex” results in a redirect to photos for “adorable dogs”.  Photos for Class sources from Flickr for stunning, high quality and well composed photos that are often editorial worthy!

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6 Pillars to Successfully Integrate Technology In Your 1:1 Classroom

1:1 schools, 1:1 devices, education, technology in schools, digital citizenship, online student safety

Inspired By Gary Spracklen of Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA), United Kingdom

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a study on the correlation between test performance and technology usage in the classroom.  In the last quarter of 2015, they released their findings in “Students Computers and Learning: Making the Connection”.  In summary, their results suggested “no noticeable improvement” in standardized test scores (PISA) for reading, mathematics, or science in countries that heavily invested in classroom technology; thus, they do not believe expanding access to high-tech devices (1:1 Chromebook programs) will abate falling test scores.  

Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills at OECD, warns that this analysis “should not be used as an ‘excuse’ not to use technology, but as a spur to finding a more effective approach”.  Gary Spracklen and his colleagues at IPACA stand by the effectivity of technology in learning and in response have created the Educational Digital Maturity Index (EDMI) –a 6-prong guide to achieve a great technologically-integrated learning environment.

 

Here are the six domains for success, each accompanied by a tip to aid you in applying each to your own classroom:

 

1. Digitally Mature Leaders  

Ask questions that assess how a leader integrates and dictates technology into his/her projects and to those he/she leads.

According to Forbes, many business leaders are “getting more involved in technology decisions than ever before”.  Business and technology have become truly complementary: Forbes gives the example of engine manufacturers relying on software to push forward production.  The same relationship can be envisioned for tech in the classroom, as an enhancement to traditional teaching methods – an interactive resource that broadens the mind, an unlimited wealth of information.

 

2. Digitally Mature Teachers

Address the ability of the teacher to instruct his/her students using technology.

The rise of technology was rapid, but teachers can gradually incorporate technology into lesson plans by using online news articles as a topic of discussion or showing videos to better illustrate a concept just learned in class.  For a more exhaustive list of ideas, check out “Integrating Technology in the Classroom: It Takes More Than Just Having Computers” by Education World or Scholastic’s “Teach With Technology” page.  There are a wide variety of resources available including Youtube for Schools and Google for Education.

 

3. Digitally Mature Students

Observe how your students interact with technology and make sure they know how to properly use their devices.

Resist the generalization that children are masters of technology.  Instead, provide a foundation for your students by teaching them the best technology practices and online safety measures.  This includes providing guidelines for how to advantageously conduct research on the web; students have to evaluate search results and sort for reliability, validity, and relevance.  Condition students to be their own best filter!  This in time can be more effective than school internet filters or even safe search.

Also remind students of what it means to be a good digital citizen and clarify proper online behavioral conduct.  Being a good digital citizen not only improves the user’s experience but also foils the growing trend of cyberbullying.

 

4. Digitally Relevant Curriculum

Examine lesson plans to ensure appropriate and effective technology use.

Technology is helpful, but not necessary in every facet of education – make it sure it enhances your lesson plan, and does not merely serve as a distraction or time filler.  Many established organizations such as Scholastic, BrainPop, PBS Kids, National Geographic Kids publish educational material online for classroom use.  OER Commons provides a database of free learning materials commonly used by teachers nationwide.  In addition, taking polls or mini quizzes using mobile devices before or after a lesson is a good way to assess student knowledge and retention rates.  

 

5. Robust and well designed infrastructure

Appraise your school’s capabilities, questioning whether the framework will be enough to support the tech innovations.

Not all schools are built equally, but the coming years will see the rise of “digital classrooms” according to EdTech.  Classroom make up hasn’t changed drastically in the last 50 years, but rapid growth is afoot.  In order to be equipped for the revolution, digitally mature leaders are already planning and making technical adjustments to ease the transition.  Schools can upgrade their Wi-Fi, double device connections per student; automate network access; and reinforce their online security systems.  

 

6. An understanding of how classroom spaces, buildings, and campuses support the use of technology

Notice the existing classroom culture, consider how the introduction of technology will interact with already established device policies.

This parallels robust and well designed infrastructure – make sure learning spaces are able to handle the introduction of mobile devices.  On a non-technical note, be sure to establish rules for device usage just like you have classroom policies that are age-appropriate.  Many school systems – especially those who allow students to bring their own device (BYOD) – create a contract and have consequences based on a 3-offense system that covers device loss, Appropriate Use Policy (AUP), cyberbullying, etc.  Check out this BYOD guide that a Washington Public School system provides its teachers for device management in the classroom.  

 

See Mr. Spracklen’s original post for a list of questions that will help you to evaluate your classroom in relation to the six domains.  

 

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Emerging Trends in EdTech

The rise of ‘1:1’

In recent years, schools around the globe have been increasingly adopting 1:1 initiatives, programs in which each student is issued a personal device to facilitate learning.

While there are a number of different devices being used in the classroom, all with their own merits, the clear leaders up until now have been Google’s Chromebook and Apple’s iPad. Each of these devices consists of its own avid supporters, which has led to countless ‘iPad vs Chromebook‘ debates over the last few years.

Although iPads were initially the popular choice for many schools, Chromebooks surpassed iPads as the market leader in late 2014.

A recent Gartner study projects that worldwide Chromebook sales are expected to reach 7.3 million units by the end of 2015, with the education sector accounting for 72 percent, 69 percent, and 60 percent of sales in EMEA, Asia/Pacific, and the U.S., respectively. Regardless of the school’s device of choice, it seems almost a given now that it will in some capacity use Google Apps for Education, a cloud-based suite of Google tools such as GMail, Calendar, Drive, and Classroom that are available for free to schools.

Common Core State Standards Initiative

A big catalyst for the rapid growth of 1:1 programs has been the Common Core State Standards, an initiative adopted by 48 US states that provides over $10B of funding to help schools teach students important 21st century skills.

As described in the ‘Recommended Digital Literacy & Technology Skills‘ handbook for the state of California, students must be able to ‘Use online tools (e.g., e-mail, online discussion forums, blogs, and wikis) to gather and share information collaboratively with other students, if the district allows it.’ The initiative has given rise to the number of student-produced blogs, YouTube videos, Wikipedia articles, and numerous other mediums by which students use online content to enhance their learning experience.

It is through this focus on technological innovation that the concepts of blended learning and the flipped classroom have been able to flourish. Blended learning provides a balance between traditional classroom instruction and online learning. Often considered a type of blended learning, the flipped classroom challenges the traditional pedagogical model by encouraging students to learn new content at home and use classroom time for collaborative, hands-on activities. Perhaps one of the best known examples of this practice is witnessed in schools that have adopted Khan Academy’s math curriculum.

Increased device use in homes

The proliferation of devices is not unique to schools. Whereas most American families owned just a single computer throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, most US households now contain 5 or more mobile devices. Moreover, it is increasingly common for students in 1:1 programs to take their school devices home with them throughout the school year or even during the summer break, further contributing to abundance of technology within the walls of their home.

Challenges

There’s a significant shift in the challenges that educators and parents face with kids using the Internet. The risk of exposure to adult websites is now not the main worry. Instead, the focus is now on the 21st century threats of social media and social networking’ specifically, schools are perplexed by cyber-bullying and parents are concerned by lost productivity and unsafe user-generated content on otherwise safe sites.

Sitting behind a computer screen, adolescents often have no filter on what they say to and about their peers. This has led to increased prevalence of depression, self-harm, or even suicide due to posts made on Ask.fm or Facebook like social networking sites. Parents find their kids from a very early age spending hours of time watching related videos on YouTube wasting time and potentially watching unsafe content along the way.

Student Data and Privacy

With the abundance of data being generated by the scores of K-12 service providers, these types of questions are becoming easier to answer. EdTech companies like Bright Bytes have been successfully using school data to measure the impact on student outcomes and are helping schools make better choices about where to invest their technology dollars. Understanding that students consume more data on mobile than any other medium, Remind 101 has been able to take school data and deliver it an easy way (e.g., text messages, SMS alerts, and others.) to help parents, students, and teachers to stay connected.

Because student data is being produced at a faster rate than ever before, it becomes imperative to have safeguards in place which protect students and families from identify theft and other online security risks. The first step in realizing this goal is to hold the EdTech companies themselves accountable for using their data in a safe and responsible manner. To that end, The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) formed the Student Privacy Pledge, an initiative to ‘safeguard student privacy regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information.’ As of this article, 157 K-12 service providers have signed the official pledge, which was given recognition by President Obama and the White House in late 2014.

This article was published in Silicon India Magazine. To read the original article, please click here.


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5 Reasons Why K-12 Schools Are Abandoning Web Filtering Appliances

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Until recently, K-12 web filtering has been dominated by hardware solutions.

Prior to the enactment of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) nearly 15 years ago, schools had little need or opportunity to change a system that was considered to be acceptable and the norm.

However, given the shift towards cloud computing in the last few years, schools are finding more reason to abandon traditional web filtering options in favor of other, hardware-free solutions.

Here are the five reasons why appliance-based web filtering is dying in K-12:

1) They don’t have school-focused features

Yes, general enterprise solutions are built with plenty of add-ons that are intended to increase security – yet these services don’t address school-specific issues like classroom management, safe social media, and cyberbullying.

Some filtering solutions cast a blanket ban over video streaming sites like YouTube, which can be a very helpful educational resource. In an effort to protect students from the unsavory side of the site, they block all content instead of building upon features like YouTube Safety Mode or YouTube for Schools in order to create a safe YouTube.

2) They’re too expensive

These add-ons add up. Even though schools don’t need the extra features that enterprise solutions provide, they are required to pay the price.

A 2014 article by KQED showed that school web filters can cost as much as $40 per student. Large corporations are able to pay these fees, but schools often cannot.

Moreover, with hardware solutions, schools must pay for the web filtering box in addition to annual per user license costs. As their 1:1 take home programs scale, schools may need to purchase additional boxes to support their program’s expansion, as one appliance often can only support a few hundred devices at a time.

3) They’re not designed to filter students at home

One big distinction between businesses and schools is that the former has no interest or requirement to enforce off-site web filtering.

On the other hand, schools are increasingly adopting 1:1 take-home programs, an arrangement in which each student takes a school-provisioned device home to use for school assignments. Naturally, a big concern for schools is being able to manage what students are doing on the device when they are away from school.

This is an area in which appliance web filters once again come up short. When the 1:1 device is at home with the student, all traffic needs to be routed from the student’s home to the the appliance on school grounds and then back out to the Internet. This imposes limits on at-home browsing speeds, as the device is often limited by the school’s bandwidth uplink.

4) They require nontrivial setup and maintenance

So a school has decided to buy the service. Then what? With an appliance-centered web filtering approach, IT admins have to wait for the box to be shipped (days later) and then start the set-up process (days later).

These admins are also responsible for network uptime even outside of school hours. For instance, if the web filtering appliance is impacted by a storm, the admin needs to make an on-site visit to get everything back up and running, if they even can.

5) There are alternative solutions!

With the advent of solutions like safe web browsers, Chrome extensions (for devices running Chrome OS and/or the Chrome browser), and cloud-based web filtering, schools now have the freedom to depart from traditional appliance-based solutions.

Typically used for iPads, schools can enforce the use of safe web browsers so that students can only access a subset of pre-approved content on the Internet.

For schools using Google Apps for Education (GAfE), IT Admins have the ability to manage devices and push out Chrome extensions from a central console.

Cloud-based web filtering allows schools to enjoy the granularity of an appliance while getting set up in minutes and managing all students’ devices and reporting in the cloud.

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Securly Captures Greater Than 1% Market Share for US Public Schools, Including 5% for California and Illinois

After just over two years of operations, Securly, Inc. – the world’s leading cloud-based provider of Internet Security for K-12 schools – today announced that it has captured greater than 1% market share in K-12 public schools in the United States. The US is home to over 14,000 public school districts and nearly 100,000 public schools (source: National Center for Education Statistics).

Securly’s early success can be attributed in large part to several states with an early adopter mentality that were eager and willing to replace their school web filtering appliances with next-generation cloud-based web filtering built exclusively for K-12 schools. Two such states – in which Securly has gained nearly 5% market share – include California and Illinois, both considered among the largest and pioneering edtech markets with their early adoption of new technologies and rapid movement to the cloud.

Tom Walker, Director of Technology at Massac Unit School District #1 in Metropolis, IL, reflected on his decision to switch to Securly over two years ago. Walker, one of Securly’s first customers, says: “Being a Google Apps for Education school district and having the need to replace our web filtering appliance, the decision to go with Securly was an easy one. In just a few minutes, I was able to switch our filtering over to Securly and within moments I knew I had made the right decision. Over two years later, the decision to move to Securly proves itself time and again. It has been the easiest, most effective, and least stressful service to manage. It simply just works, and it works wonderfully.”

Andrew Schwab, Chief Technology Officer for Union School District in San Jose, CA, uses Securly to manage his 1:1 program with over 5,000 Chromebooks. Schwab’s decision to move to Securly was an easy one, as the district’s long-used web filtering appliance had failed and needed to be replaced. Says Schwab: “With Securly, we were actually able to cut over to it immediately because it’s not appliance-based. We didn’t have to do any kind of installation. We just pointed our DNS servers at Securly, flipped the switch, and we were filtered again.” Schwab, who has also served as a board member for the popular edtech organization Computer Using Educators, or CUE, wrote a blog post about how Securly’s K-12 focused reporting differentiates it from other web filters by giving schools powerful insights on how students are using technology in the classroom and at home.

Schools interested in moving their web filter to the cloud can sign up for a free trial or learn more here.

About Securly:
Securly is a leading provider of cloud-based web filtering for schools and parental controls for homes. 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 thousands of schools in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. To learn more, visit http://www.securly.com.

This press release was originally published on PRWeb. To read the original release, please click here.

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