A pioneer in 1:1 technology and online learning, Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District (ISD) relies on Lightspeed Filter™ as a critical part of its overall cybersecurity plan, safeguarding its students, staff, devices, and data from potential online threats and vulnerabilities in an increasingly complex landscape.
OPPORTUNITY: Maintain Student Internet Security in an Ever-Changing Digital Environment
Similar to K-12 districts across the country, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD has struggled to keep pace with an increasingly complicated and constantly evolving cybersecurity environment. A constant proliferation of new learning applications and classroom technologies has made their district vulnerable to onslaught of emerging, evolving, and increasingly clever threats. And, while Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s 1:1 device program has improved educational options for its students over the years, it has increased the district’s potential attack surface, as well as the volume of personal digital data created.
“The cybersecurity landscape is constantly changing in our district,” says Kyle Berger, Chief Technology Officer, making it harder for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD to protect their school community from the latest cyberattacks and vulnerabilities. “Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen an increase in distributed denial of service attempts, increased threats, and phishing,” states Berger. While the district does currently have cybersecurity insurance, it is becoming more and more expensive, with more requirements to obtain the level of insurance needed to protect students, staff, and data all together.
Recognizing that cyberthreats are only increasing, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD recently revamped their cybersecurity and phishing training for both staff and students. “We test everybody in our district. It’s important because the biggest entry point into our system, as well as the largest potential threat, comes from inside with our users. And we need to work on better ways to continue to educate our students and staff on the why of what we’re doing and how to be more proactive and protect themselves,” Berger explains.
“We all know that we can build the strongest walls but sometimes all it takes is that one click on an email that could bring you down. That’s where a tool like Lightspeed Filter helps us—because they are already going to block those sites,” Berger emphasizes.
Solution: Safeguard K-12 Users, Devices, and Data from the Inside Out
A long-time subscriber of Lightspeed Filter, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD initially chose to partner with Lightspeed Systems because of its educational focus. “In the industry right now, there are a lot of different filtering options, but none of them are truly focused on education like Lightspeed. It’s great having a partner that understands the educational aspect of what we do and how filtering needs to work.” Lightspeed Filter, the pioneer K-12 filtering solution, combines decades of web filtering experience, advanced AI, and edtech management to safeguard people, devices, and data from the inside out.
As the first line of defense on the internet, Lightspeed Filter has become a critical component of Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s holistic cybersecurity plan, automatically blocking unknown and potentially malicious sites that students or staff may accidentally or intentionally try to access. “Our internet connection is the largest door into our district, so we have to make sure that is secured at all times,” Berger explains. “Lightspeed helps us do that—not only in district but at home with those students’ devices as well.”
Lightspeed’s cloud-based, device-level protections work across all devices, operating systems, and learning environments. “We operate all types of devices,” says Kyle Berger. “My K-2 kids operate iPads, 3-8 are Chromebooks, 8-12 are Windows, my teachers are about 75% Macs, the rest, Windows PCs. So, Lightspeed’s importance for us is tremendous because we’re able to branch out across all these platforms, which is usually a logistical nightmare for districts. Lightspeed has really been a lifesaver for us.” Additionally, Lightspeed’s cloud-based solution addressed issues of internet connectivity and filtering speeds on devices at home. “We’ve been able to provide that seamless filtering solution for our students at home,” adds Berger.
Lightspeed Filter also enables the granularity and flexibility Grapevine-Colleyville ISD needs to promote learning and exploration without hindering productivity or compromising end-user privacy. Grapevine-Colleyville ISD has been able to implement different levels of filtration across their 21 campuses and different end users, as well as adjust filtering rules based for afterhours usage at home. This allows them to manage internet security appropriately for all users, wherever and whenever they are learning.
Additionally, Lightspeed’s Parent Portal provides parents with visibility into what their kids are doing on their devices, engaging parents to extend student safety and cybersecurity efforts. “The Parent Portal has really revolutionized what we’re doing here in the district. Now we have additional eyes and partners with our parentsinside of our filtering system, where our parents can see real-time or get a weekly summary of what their students are doing online with our devices,” says Berger.
Results: Increased Visibility, Parental Engagement, and a Strong Partner for Dynamic Threat Protection
Lightspeed Filter has also provided Grapevine-Colleyville ISD with greater visibility into what students are doing online, allowing them to promote safer digital learning. “The way Lightspeed does filtration opened a whole lens for us with what was happening with our devices at home—when are the devices being used? What sites are the kids trying to get to? And then also—with the massive influx of added online tools—the ability for us to go in and whitelist or make these tools available instantly so learning could continue was just tremendous,” says Berger.
One of the most exciting things to come from Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s partnership with Lightspeed has been the enabling of increased parent engagement. Berger describes Lightspeed’s Parent Portal as a “big game-changer for our community,” expanding the district’s partnership with the community to keep students safe. “For years, students were given devices by districts, and it was this black hole for parents. We’ve been able to open that up for them, and that’s really a wonderful feature,” explains Berger. “Now, we’re empowering our parents too, and that’s very important.”
However, more than any specific tool or feature, Berger credits continuous development and a strong, open partnership with Lightspeed for their success. “The most important aspect of our partnership with Lightspeed has been the continued development, how they listen to customer feedback, adapt to the industry, and continue to advance the product,” says Berger. “This constant learning and development within the Lightspeed platform has helped us keep up with the threats and sites that are constantly growing on the internet.”
“Having a partner that truly listens and develops with you has been the most important thing. That’s the true value for any school district,” concludes Berger.
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À propos de Lightspeed Systems
Lightspeed Systems, dont le siège est à Austin, au Texas, est une plate-forme de sécurité et d'efficacité en ligne pour les écoles K-12. Partenaire éprouvé pour la sécurité et l'engagement des étudiants, Lightspeed utilise une IA avancée pour afficher et analyser l'activité des étudiants sur le Web. Lightspeed sert plus de 20 millions d'étudiants dans 38 pays et 28 000 écoles dans le monde.