Central Bucks School District (CBSD) partnered with Lightspeed Systems to address the significant challenges they faced with their previous inline web filtering solution. With over 17,000 students and a diverse range of devices, including iPads and Windows laptops, the district struggled to provide students with a safe and productive online environment due to reliability issues, poor reporting capabilities, and inadequate support from their existing filter provider. Seeking an innovative and comprehensive solution, CBSD selected Lightspeed Filter™ based on its robust reporting, easy SSL decryption capabilities, and exceptional support model.
Reliability, Visibility, and Support for Optimized Online Student Protection
Central Bucks School District faced many challenges with its existing inline web filtering solution. Reliability issues caused frequent downtime, while inadequate support led to lengthy troubleshooting calls with uninformed client support representatives for every new issue. In addition, time-consuming, difficult-to-read reporting functionality prevented the district from providing stakeholders with accurate analysis of historical web data, impacting staff productivity and disrupting student protection.
“Our previous filter went down quite often, and we spent hours on the phone with support trying to problem-solve. This always began with a 20-minute recap of our environment. We also had a lot of historical data reporting requests from building and district administrators, and pulling those reports was an arduous task, “ explained Brian Merrill, Educational Technology Analyst at Central Bucks School District.
When it was time to look for a new web filtering solution, CBSD prioritized reliability, reporting functionality, and best-in-class support. The district selected five vendors and conducted a comprehensive evaluation process consisting of sales calls, demonstrations, and feedback from existing clients to ensure they could build a true partnership to meet their product functionality and support needs.
Flexibility and Control Meets Easy SSL Decryption for Comprehensive Web Filtering
Ultimately, Central Bucks School District selected Lightspeed Filter, the pioneer K-12 filtering solution, for its consistent coverage, intuitive reporting, and superior client support. The implementation and rollout of the Lightspeed Filter were seamless, allowing the CBSD to scale with just a simple click.
Powered by easy, on-device Secure Socket Layer (SSL) decryption and Lightspeed SmartShield technology for network protection, Lightspeed Filter unlocked comprehensive web filtering features for Windows, Mac, BYOD, and IoT devices, with no added latency to the network. Lightspeed’s one-and-done certificate management solution for Windows devices, paired with automatic and seamless certificate updates, saved the district time during deployment and on-going device maintenance. Granular management and visibility into policy rules enabled CBSD to identify and troubleshoot problems more effectively, getting the flexibility needed to protect students and staff on and off campus.
“There are a lot of things to like about the filter. The flexibility is fantastic. I can filter and report on my users exactly the way I want. The YouTube controls are fantastic, giving my teachers and students access to the educationally focused content they need for learning while keeping them safe on the platform,” stated Merrill.
After understanding the limitations of the way YouTube categorizes content as ‘educational,’ Lightspeed developed SmartPlay a proprietary categorization tool for YouTube videos, taking content vetting a step further to protect students from inappropriately labeled content on the platform.
Superior Client Support
Central Bucks School District’s partnership with Lightspeed Systems has led to a significantly improved, personalized service experience. Consistent communication and a dedicated point of contact have eliminated the need for repetitive explanations of their environment during each support call. At the same time, Lightspeed’s knowledge of their device types, quantities, and specific requirements enables more effective support.
“It has been a true partnership. I get the help I need when I need it. Not just to get things working again, but to follow best practices on how the product is designed to work so we are set up for success,” highlighted Merrill.
About Lightspeed Systems
Lightspeed Systems, headquartered in Austin, Texas, is a leading online safety and effectiveness platform for K–12 schools. A proven partner for student safety and engagement, Lightspeed uses advanced AI to view and analyze student activity across the web. Lightspeed serves over 20 million students in 38 countries and 28,000 schools globally.