Web Filtering for Schools: Finding the Right Balance

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With a combination of powerful features, ease-of-use and affordability, the Barracuda Web Filter and Barracuda Purewire Web Security Service are ideal solutions for educational institutions to secure their networks and provide a safe and productive Web access environment.   There are a number of key considerations that school administrators and IT staff must take into account when determining how the Web can be effectively used as a tool in schools – at all levels –  for research, learning, creativity and many other positive outlets while ensuring policy enforcement and protection against harmful content.  These challenges can include:

  • Malware: This threat vector is even more relevant in the context of a user base, for example students tend to have unpredictable browsing habits. In fact, Barracuda Networks’ studies indicate that students are more likely to visit compromised Web sites than any other group of users.
  • Criminal Activity:  Children can inadvertently identify themselves to malicious or criminal users through chat rooms, instant messaging (IM), social networking sites or other avenues, thereby making them vulnerable to cyber-bullying or online stalking tactics. This form of cybercrime is a very unpleasant reality today and is a major concern for parents and administrators.
  • Anonymous Proxies: As students become more technically savvy, they inevitably seek ways to circumvent restrictions to online content. Anonymous proxies aid this by providing Web sites or applications that are designed to avoid Web filtering policies by obfuscating user identity. Widespread use of these applications will expose an educational institution to all the risks inherent to an unfiltered, unmanaged IT infrastructure.
  • And more… 

A new whitepaper available from Barracuda Networks, “Providing Safe Web Access in Educational Institutions”, takes a deeper look at each of these considerations and can help educational institutions to navigate the requirements of providing access to the best available educational resources while ensuring Internet safety.

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