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Thinking About Cloud Filtering? 10 Things You Need to Know About Switching From Hardware

Have you thought about cloud filtering? 94% of school districts surveyed in COSN’s Annual Infrastructure Survey say they leverage some type of cloud-based software system. With the popularity of cloud-based LMSes such as Google Classroom and the widespread adoption of Chromebooks for one-to-one deployments, schools are increasingly reliant on cloud-based systems to power learning.

Cloud filtering deployments offer lots of benefits to K-12, but is it right for your network and device deployment? And what if you don’t want to go 100% cloud?

If you joined our recent webinar “From Rockets to Relay,” you learned the differences between our Rocket appliance–based Web Filter and Relay’s cloud filtering and the benefits of each. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here at your convenience!

Here are 10 things to consider if you’re thinking about making the switch from hardware to Relay’s cloud filtering.

1. Relay’s Smart Agents provide built-in SSL decryption.
Like Rocket Web Filter Agents, Smart Agents in Relay are installed on devices to provide anytime, anywhere filtering. Both types of agents filter all browsers and apps, and they can’t be uninstalled by students. The advantage of Relay’s Smart Agents is you get SSL decryption without proxies, PAC files, or trust certificate hassles.

2. You can mix Rocket hardware and Relay’s cloud filtering for a hybrid deployment.
We’ve been in the K-12 web filtering industry for decades and we know schools’ device deployments and management needs vary. That’s why we work with you to develop a customized deployment plan. For BYOD programs or unmanaged devices, you may benefit from a hybrid deployment of Relay cloud filtering and Rocket appliances. You can hear more about hybrid deployments in the webinar.

3. Relay can help you minimize or eliminate hardware.
When you switch to cloud filtering, you can dramatically cut costs and management time associated with hardware. Relay automatically updates, giving you the latest version of software with the most advanced capabilities. You can scale your deployment without worrying about purchasing more hardware and its impact on your network.

4. Relay includes lost-device recovery.
If you use Relay’s cloud filtering, you have the ability to recover lost and stolen devices with Device Detective. This helps keep your deployment ROI high and keep devices secure.

5. Relay integrates with our classroom management and monitoring.
With Relay it’s easy to add additional products that seamlessly integrate, like Classroom. Help your teachers power learning and learn more about Classroom here!

6. Relay includes free safety-threat monitoring.
Schools can leverage Relay’s Flagged Terms and Safety Check (coming Winter 2019) to identify and monitor high-risk online behavior. Safety Check helps protect students and save lives with advanced AI and real-time alerts.

7. Relay offers built-in, drill-down, shareable reports.
Get quick insights with Relay’s built-in reports, including Internet Overview and User Overview, which make it easy to understand student activity with clear data visualizations. Best of all, reports can be shared with other school staff members via secure temporary links.

8. Whether you use Rockets or Relay, you have the best YouTube management solution on the market.
Smart Play is the most advanced way to provide safe K-12 access to YouTube. With nearly 100 million YouTube videos categorized for education, Smart Play makes it easy to allow safe student YouTube access in just a click inside the Web Filter or Relay interface. With Relay, schools get additional controls including blocking comments and sidebars, plus custom allowed/blocked videos and channels.

9. Relay offers more granular social media management.
In Relay, we’ve made it easy to customize access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Schools can toggle on or off access to individual social media sites. There’s also a “read-only” mode so students can view social media content but not post.

10. Relay lets you automate parent reports.
With Relay, IT can easily automate emailed reports for parents to help them understand how their children are using the web. Relay’s parent reports provide quick stats like top sites, top searches, and how many hours students have spent online. These reports empower parents to be more knowledgeable about their children’s digital learning.

If you’re thinking about making the switch from Web Filter, rest assured that Relay has the Web Filter features you love. You get filtering powered by the most robust K-12 URL database, powered by machine learning; differentiated policies; Google Images and Google Safe Search filtering; plus so much more.