Move Your Filter to the Cloud
Learn about the benefits of moving your web filtering to the cloud with AWS.
- Amy Bennet- Chief of Staff, Lightspeed Systems
- Rob Chambers- (VP Customer Success, Lightspeed Systems
- Chad Stevens – Leader K12 Education AWS
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All right, let’s go ahead and begin first of all. Thank you for taking the time to join us here today. I know, for some of you, it’s very early, this wasn’t topics that people really across the globe were asking us to talk about, so we try to find a time that works for as many people as possible.
We are going to be talking today, obviously, about moving your filter into the cloud, but as part of that, just overall, the benefits of the cloud, what all of this means in the world that we’re facing today.
A couple of notes here. We will have time for Q&A at the end. So if you have questions as we’re talking, feel free to enter them in the question panel or the question box, in your GoToWebinar Panel.
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Here, speaking to you today, we have two people who have been in your shoes.
They’ve been in tech directors in school districts, now, they really spend all day talking to people who are in your shoes, and hoping to develop and design solutions to help with these latest challenges, rather, introduce yourself to everybody.
Thanks, Amy. Hi, I’m, I’m Rob Chambers. I’m the VP of Customer Success Lightspeed Systems. As Amy said, I did spend about 18 years on the education side and then been it’s been at Lightspeed for a number of years as well.
Yeah, Chad Stevens. I’m our leader for K 12 education at Amazon Web Services. And much like Rob’s, but about 14 years in schools, as a teacher, principal, and the chief technology officer, and now we’re getting our US Strategy.
So, a whole lot of experience and expertise. You both bring into this.
What schools are facing right now is just really unprecedented. Obviously, we have been doing panels and webinars and calls and all kinds of discussions. And the top question that we get is what will look like? How can I be ready for that?
There are state guidelines, there, district wide plans, starting to come out, but even within those plans, the answer is, you can’t be 100% sure. What we do know is that the fall in the back to school season will look different than it ever did.
That could be, set it up classrooms to accommodate social distancing having fewer students in each room. It could be portions of the school population. Being entirely remote learning. We’ve been talking to some schools that have just decided their high schools are going to stay, remove, at least for the first half of the year.
It could be a mixed of blended learning, trying to accommodate half of the school population on campus, with social distance, a time, either split the morning and afternoon or every other day or every other week.
Really, even if the schools are planning to go back on campus in the fall, or in August, really, for many of you as normal, there has to be preparations for, if that changes, if there are spikes that lead to periodic closures to flatten the curve on the virus. Or if there are just extended absences among students and staff that you have to accommodate for if a member of the household becomes ill and students. Or teachers need to isolated at home.
Be ready for that, And know, that the hard thing here is that there are no solid answers. You can’t have an exact plane.
The good news is that we’ve been talking to a lot of schools learning lessons from this time to help prepare for the Fall two keys that they say, just made this easier, not easy. There were still plenty of challenges, but two keys that put a couple of steps ahead to be ready for these closures.
One was having the devices, being 1 to 1 or very close, to 1 to 1, having the devices to go in students’ hands.
And the other was having solutions in the class, that we’re not tied to the school network, that would have worked anywhere. And I have both been at Lightspeed. About 10 years. We have seen this shift to the Cloud.
Somewhat slowly for awhile, and really accelerating before covid, and then says, wow, how have you seen that progression going?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think your slide maps out, a lot of it, you know, the things like the, the LMS and Assist, were kind of some of the first systems that we saw schools adapting to the cloud. I think the adoption of Chromebooks, in many schools drove that as well to, you know, kind of being a cloud first device there.
But, know, as Amy said, the schools that were, that had a little bit easier time are ones that had these solutions in place, They, you know, they were already there, so they weren’t scrambling to, how are we gonna get access? I mean, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of, a lot of people who couldn’t even go to their school.
You know, they were almost forbidden to go even, even, to manage these critical systems.
And so, this really has, has definitely accelerated things, but, you know, it’s, it’s been happening for awhile, but now it’s just, it’s commonplace. This is all everybody’s talking about now.
Yeah. It’s similar to the pathway. See. No wonder why schools were moving this direction, then accelerated due to the necessity because it brought, right?
Yeah, Let’s do a poll of our audience.
Certain systems have been moving to the cloud. We see that happening, But what worries you in thinking about this shift?
I’m a little worried the polls not working, because no one is taking it there. We’ve got some. Let’s give you a couple more seconds.
Really, really interesting here.
Usually, I can predict the results on these polls, but this one is a little bit different than I would have thought. Let’s take a look at these results.
Cost and loss of control.
Really? No one to discern about the other two things. We’re still going to talk about that because maybe they’re not.
For 2 or 3, because we’ve heard it from enough people, but we will certainly be talking about cost control, two things that I think you can, you can really improve with the shift to the cloud, Really takes us to many. Schools on the shift to the AWS cloud. Talk about the why behind that, the benefits they can see.
Amy, I can definitely talk about costs and control to But, so yeah. I mean, I think right now, the main things that we’re seeing schools, maybe the cloud for is really agility and elasticity. So, you know, during … response, it allows schools to move really quickly, but also kind of ensure that they have capacity. I’m sure that something that, you know, Rob did speak to really well, but, as the previous slide, showed, the number of LMS systems in the Cloud.
The ability, and many of those are powered by the ability to move those, and scale them very quickly, is also something that we saw the schools needed.
You know, the other part of that allow us to use, know, when you no longer need the resources, you can really easily the provisioning without that cost risk. And I think that’s really where, you know, the cost comes into play.
There really no need for what I’d call that kind of undifferentiated heavy lifting of managing infrastructure or data centers. You may not know, we did our schools the same way. They’re like, we couldn’t get to our data center. It was great that we were able to leverage a two uniformly should get to the tools that we needed to make sure that we keep remote learning going.
And I think that the big part we’re going to talk a little about I think the next thing that we’re seeing ours is really cost savings, right?
There’s a lot of budget concerns in schools. AWS is really about only paying for the IP that you consume. And, that’s a big shift that, that’s something that’s very complex. It’s not something that you can do in a short part of a webinar. But the way I would explain it to people will know what I was, CTO, you know, my transportation systems were really busy in the morning and really busy in the afternoon. My point of sale systems are really busy in the morning for breakfast, pretty busy for watch. Student registration systems are very busy in the fall, a little bit busy in the early spring.
And when you are testing systems, when you compound all those decisions to only pay for your youth, that’s really, to me, where I see customers that have been 3 or 4 years really start to get the larger costing. Yeah, You can move from storage, pay for it as you go, and get some immediate savings, for sure. And we can work through that, but it’s really those long-term things. And then, I would just say on control, and I’m sure we’ll talk about this to know, if anything, I would say you have much more control over your environment in the cloud, because you know where everything is. We have tools, your cloud, trills, logging, tools that are really free. So, you literally can see in the cloud, you know, every keystroke on your system, if you want to so, you know, the granularity of your controls.
Is really, really much deeper, so again, too deep to go into your ear, but that’s something that we can easily talk to schools.
You can do totally separate webinars, one on cost, one control.
Security on those messages as we go through the rest of the slides Building on what Chad said talk a little bit about just the initial … difference when you’re not buying hardware.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, I, I look at it from you know, both the discussions I have with a customer, but even what we do, you know, in being able to, as Chad said, you know, spend those services up when you need them. You know, down, when you don’t that.
Definitely, you know, save cost, you know, compared to buying hardware and provisioning that hardware, and then having it just sit a lot of the time. When we talk with customers about the filtering side of things. And, you know, moving from an, talked about getting a little more detail on this feature size. But moving from, you know, a system where you have to accommodate your max bandwidth at the Gateway to a system where you are just really paying for those devices that you’re using. And that really does shift a lot of that and can be a significant cost savings.
Yeah here we’ve talked about we’ve seen some of the benefits of just an overall Cloud infrastructure in the Cloud first strategy. But when we’re looking at what happened with a situation like coated and unexpected setting closers, schools and we still did it suddenly learning across the world.
First of all, on the school devices is those who were very prepared for this. As we said, they not only have the 1 to 1, but they also had already been sending them home with students. They had a little bit about policy and plan for that, others, devices that stayed and carts, or in the labs, or just in classrooms, and so be ready to protect those students. And those devices, and keep them safe off campus was just, you know, another one of those things that the customers, the relay customers, we talk to really credit that with.
Another thing that got them a little bit, because the reality is, all of these teams that you all are doing are to keep students safe and to keep staff and to protect them from the virus.
And when you think about that, then you’re, you’re having students learning online, need to make that safe, too. And we’ll talk a little bit later about sort of mental, health, emotional well-being.
But keeping them safe online is partly protecting them, from really inappropriate content, is totally using technology and tools to replace that face-to-face interaction, that teachers and staff and counselors, and everyone gets, when you’re on campus, how are they doing? Are they in crisis?
We, we’ve all been in education enough to see the, sort of growing concerns about school suicide, or suicide, and school violence, and deppression, and cyberbullying and all these things.
You need to be able to monitor, even if they’re not seeing their faces. So, that’s really, you know, what the filter from the cloud can bring to schools.
Right, I want to talk a little bit, just about how it works filtering on a network, whether it’s through your firewall or with an appliance is separate from your firewall. Looking at the registration information. We’ve got kind of a split of people doing either of those two things: So let’s talk about the network filter infrastructure, and then we’ll talk about Some pros and cons and what that looks like.
Sure, So, you know, a network filter is, is going to be a device or possibly a cluster of devices depending on your size that all of your traffic runs through it.
And if you will inspect and make a policy decision, that’s, you know, basically true. Whether you’re running a standalone filter or if you’re doing it to your firewall the same, you know, kind of end result. Is that it? Is there?
the traffic runs through that, you know, the pros side of things, you know, It’s you know, once it’s in it just sees all the traffic. You don’t have to worry about.
As new devices come on, you know, are they automatically provisioned and some of the procedures and things you need to do there.
And that’s, you know, that can simplify that maybe that initial rollout. But, you know, when we look at this, and I think this is going to be more true, kind of going forward. Is that, you know, as we decrease, or increase our need to educate students in, anytime, anywhere, You know, schools are looking at more bandwidth. I’m talking about schools that are talking to Schools are doing a lot of bandwidth upgrades.
Well, in a, kind of, a traditional network filter, that bandwidth upgrade means you’re upgrading your firewall means you’re upgrading your filter.
And those are, you know, in many cases, unfortunately, a forklift replacement, you’re taking the old equipment out, setting it aside and putting new equipment in. Because you, you’ve gone from a one gig network, connection to a 10 gig internet connection, or something, like where the, you know, the devices just have to be replaced, and those can be, those can be high costs, and something that is ongoing, right.
You have to, when you add more bandwidth, you have to do that again and again and again. Also, when you look at this from a maintenance perspective, and this kind of ties in with some of the schools that I was talking with that weren’t able to get to their data centers, those require maintenance, they have to be patched. They have to be updated. And sometimes that requires, you know, getting physical access to the device.
And so, you not only have those requirements to keep them maintained, but you’ve got the ongoing hardware, implementation and all of that.
So, it’s a been a good way to filter. We’ve worked with customers for many years to do that.
But, as the world has shifted, you know, there’s been needs that have shifted as well.
Really? Even before this increase in the number of mobile devices wasn’t the devices were staying on campus, sometimes going on.
Now, always going to shift the way you should be looking at those critical tools, like filtering.
Yeah, that’s a good point.
I mean, it would actually, you know, when we look at devices themselves, no, even a device that is staying on campus today and it doesn’t really matter which operating system we’re talking about. This is true of, you know, Chrome OS, Mac OS, iOS windows.
It doesn’t matter that they’re all, they’re all Internet connected devices today, that and everything else going on in your network, right? So they’re all connected whenever they’re on.
That’s, you know, traditionally, maybe that wasn’t true, you know. You boot up a computer and it would load software locally. But all of these devices are Internet connected and utilizing that Whatever they’re doing, and so, you know, that has an impact on how you manage those devices and how you, you know, deal with those, those bottlenecks and that kind of thing.
Yeah, So it’s a little bit less about the traffic on your network. And a little bit more of a device.
First way of looking at some of this, Yeah. I know, you’re going to go into this in detail about devices, versus our School Devices, versus just guest traffic other things on the network.
But while we’re here, I know that a lot of schools are doing boats, they, they have a network culture, and then they’re doing something differently for when devices are off. What are some of the challenges that come along with that?
Well, I think, you know, pre covid times. The at-home filter, the remote filter was a supplemental tool. You know, it was really, yeah, we want to keep our kids protected and, and, you know, so we’re going to put this on there.
It wasn’t what it is shifted to be now in ways where, you know, your primary filter for that device is a remote filter because that device is remote now. And. So, I think that has really shifted the way that, that people looked at it. You know? When you When you thought about it before, again, I had my gateway filter, my firewall sorts, or whatever it might be that, you know, was my primary That was my tool.
and then I have had a supplemental tool that helped the rest of the time, because you weren’t thinking of that as instruction time. You were thinking of that as, you know, I need to keep the device protected, but it’s at home. It’s, you know, it’s not something I’d really need to worry about from a day-to-day perspective in IT, and that’s, that’s definitely shifted in the world we’re in.
Now, I really thought you were going to talk about the disconnected user experience. Sometimes I have this policy, sometimes it feels a little different but you’re absolutely right and that ties so much to the concerns our attendees had about sprawl.
Right a solution with really minimal controls and options and works for that many people associate with the filter can feel like they’re losing that control and visibility that they’re used to getting from a network filter. So let’s just address all those concerns. I wanted to tell how it really works on those school devices. Sure. So really isn’t cloud filter. But it is, you know, it is built for education and you know, when we talk about the control being a concern.
No, it is built to give you that same feature rich set that that you come to expect from Lightspeed.
You know that we’ve shifted that to deal with, you know, these devices that are all internet connected. Today, they’re all mobile, you know. Many devices have cellular connectivity so even when they’re at your school, are you sure they’re on your school network, you know all of those kinds of things and so.
Relay will protect the device with that feature rich set wherever they are. However, they are connected because what we’ve done is, we’ve shifted that filtering from the gateway to the device. But we’ve done it in a way that gives, you know, all of those capabilities. All those features that you’re, that you’ve grown to expect, are available at the device level filter. Including things like the ability to decrypt SSL. In fact, it’s when we first started selling Relay, this was a big point because it greatly simplified the efforts of encrypting SSL because now it’s all built into that agent built into the device. You’re not maintaining proxy servers and pac files and Security Trust Certificates and all of the kind of hassle that went into that. Because we’ve shifted that down to the device. We’ve really taken a lot of that that burden away.
But, you know, again, that kind of just works anytime, anywhere.
And, you know Amy, Amy mentioned this but a lot of the schools that we talked with that were already on Relay even they know were using Relay at School.
Had devices going home, they were thinking of Relay almost in two ways. Almost. In that same way, I’ve got my Relay filtered at school and my, my supplemental Relay filter at home, right. And so, but now, you know, having that already in place giving did ease that shift. Right. Because if it did give that protection, and, to your point, you know, yes, we can differentiate rules with after school rules, and that kind of thing, but really giving that full protection wherever the device might be.
Yeah, the granularity of customizing roles, now, is something that just comes up again, and again, and again.
With schools can see just tons of work exactly as it is, and you’ll be compliant, incidents will be safe, but when you need those additional layers of control, you can do whatever you want to do there.
Probably even more now, right? I mean, you know, with being able to differentiate that access I’m talking to a lot of schools, but the needs are incredibly different for, say, K three through, you know.
4, 3 through 8, and then in high school, and it’s just, you know, being able to give that differentiated access those differentiated tools, is really key.
Yeah, right, You know, one of the features that schools are considered a nice to have before, it was some of our advanced video and YouTube controls. And now, people are asking us about that all the time, because of this shift in what instruction looks like and the need to take something like YouTube and just make sure that it’s safe.
Probably, the feature I’m spending the most time talking about in your schools, you know, previously, YouTube blocked policy or, you know, restricted mode, or, you know, maybe blocked at the elementary and maybe allowed and differently at the high school. But being able to go in with, with the features and Relay can do this because of kind of that built-in SSL decryption. And all of that give you that flexibility to manage YouTube, allow teachers to upload videos to their channel, and automatically share with the class, and not having to burden IT, right on a day-to-day basis. So, I uploaded to videos. Can you make this available? Can you make this available?
Let’s take that load off. But given them the ability, we’ve seen a tremendous surge in the use of YouTube as these devices have gone home.
And, you know, it’s a way to get content to kids that, that many schools are taking advantage of.
So even though 0% of our participants here listed it as the number of quality control, I know, you know, from talking to some of the school that when you start talking about ages, smart agents on device is the next question is what about the devices where I can’t install an agent? How does really handle that?
Yeah, and you know, you do need that complete end to end solution. You know, I talked we talk about BYOD devices that are going to be on your network guest devices. But you know, also no TVs in the classroom It’s it’s almost impossible to buy a TV that doesn’t have a web browser integrated into it today.
And so you need to protect those devices as well, really accomplishes that. We call it our Relay Rocket, So those customers that maybe have known us have been aware of us. And used our Rockets in the past. We’ve kind of brought that name forward, but different than the inline filter. You know, this, this integrates and with your network. It’s agent list for those devices. So you don’t have to install anything on them. You’re not dependent on that. But it still gives you that control. It still gives you that that feature set across all of those devices And allow you to manage those, those policies, because you know that they’re going to be there. That’s just it.
So many things. Again, today are Internet connected, but you have to provide that protection on.
So, all of those things that you just talked about between this foreign agents on the faces and that is really true for every operating system. We have smart agents for not just Chromebooks, for Windows and Mac and iOS.
And then the solution for those agentless devices that the end result is really this end to end, all the traffic seamless solution for filtering. I know I have the as granular as one here on the slide and that really goes back to this controls. And you want to ensure safety and filtering policies at different levels as their organization. Students: older students, younger students, you want to implement controls by time of the day. You know, what used to be at school and at home is really different right now. It will be really different.
So getting that one seamless solution just simplifies things for your end users, for your parents. And then for all the people on here today who are mostly tech directors, and ICT network technicians.
Sorry, I mean, as good jump in real quick. I think this ties into the point you were talking about earlier, too, though, which is, you know, it’s end to end, and it’s consistent.
It’s a consistent policy, so those teachers don’t have to worry about, Hey, this worked at, you know, at school, does it work at home. You know, would that be consistent, you know, into in Cloud, Filtering agent-based filtering capability.
They’re going to get if the teacher needs to allow that, it doesn’t matter where that student is, they’re going to have access to the right content.
In all the schools I’ve been talking to over the last three months, one of the things that has really surprised me is how much they value the additional mental health, social emotional well-being monitoring that Relay provides.
I didn’t know that this was not the case, because I know how committed all of you and everyone who works at schools in students’ health and well-being, and keeping them safe and why we work so hard, But, you know, in my mind, they think, I thought that the students are at home now. The reality is we have seen an increase in students in crisis.
You see an increase in districts wanting to monitor that activity on the devices to prevent that, Right, Rob?
And, Amy, you touched on this earlier but, you know, we’ve lost that day to day, touchpoint with the student.
You’ve lost that ability to see them and interact with them and just, No, look at their face, look at their body language, see how they’re doing. And so.
We need to, you know, have tools that can replace that and supplement that, and that’s where feature, like Safety Check can come in, because, you know, it does provide that monitoring of what a student is doing online. And, it looks at the context. What are they searching for? What are they typing in their Google Docs, or, or their office 365 or docs?
what kind of websites are they visiting and kind of pulling all that together and raising the alert to the people who need it, and, and getting it to them. You know?
And when they need it, and how they need it.
And, You know, again, talking about saving some IT time. We have a lot of IT people on this call.
You know, I used to, you know, do these kinds of things when I was with my district, but it was, was often reactive and, you know, I’d have to pull data from a bunch of different sources, then, pull up, they had to report back to the school. You know. this is meant to be.
You know, delivered automatically to the people who can intervene with that student in a way that they can understand with that context, with screenshots with, you know, with all of the pieces that they need.
Without again, having to pull in a lot of IT time to prepare those reports.
Not just a time saving money, 67% of her people listed cost as a top concern for the cloud. Just sort of a monitoring, Student safety is something that is often a separate solution with a separate cost. For Relay, it’s included with the filter at no additional cost, so seven times in a night.
That brings us back to a case study of just one of many examples where Loudon and AWS worked together to help these districts realize all those benefits, tell us about a line.
Yeah, sure, So in this case that, just because it really hits on a lot of the things that we’ve, we’ve talked about this morning already. So, really Loudon’s initial move into the cloud. And, even looking at the cloud was really all about around guaranteed uptime and reliability. They had had a power outage. The district was down for two days.
After that, they realized that they needed to start looking at other options. You allowed no sits right there in Virginia, where a lot of the world’s internet traffic runs right through our county today. There’s a lot of data centers, and explore that actually, their first workload that they did in the Cloud. With their student information system, I think this is a really good example of the cost savings we talked about. So, what they were dealing with, is, there was for peak periods, for their grading period. Every parent obviously wanted to see their kids grade at the same time, And so they had something in the neighborhood of 65 servers that they had for the Student Information system.
Basically, just for those four times a year, that all the parents wanted to get there, which makes sense, because you want your parents to access you don’t want to have any bottlenecks. By moving to the cloud. They are really able to, you know, not every year round, for 65 servers, they could have a lower level server base. And then, you know, pick up those grading period, and then go back down. And that’s really good example of just one system that had four weeks a year where they were able to save some time and save some costs. So, the other thing they did, but I think, really interesting, is, they also move to a virtual lab model, so that Google will differ, really saving instructional time.
They were in the engineering lab, the high-end computer math, computer science clubs, and it was taking like 30-minute load, all the students’ information onto these devices, moving into Amazon workspaces, which is our virtual desktop tool. They move that down to a 32nd wave. So, kids came into class, boom. So, you know, as a former principal, I’m sitting here going, 30 minutes, times, how many students? you have, almost 90,000 students?
However many of those taking Computer Science class, that’s more than money. Instructional time is worth more than money, when I was a principal. Just getting those resources, because, we’ve seen a lot of that. During Covid-19 response, one of our fastest growing tools with the application streaming, where we were extreme engineering courses.
To your point, Rob. Lots of schools have Chromebooks were able to stream those engineering tools.
The project lead, the way, solid works, all those things to a Chromebook at home. And it can really get those resources. So that’s one thing that Loudon did. And I would just add that one of the things they talk about, and I’ll post a blog about this, and I’ll post it in the chat here, and I’m sure we can get it figured out after that.
webinar. But, the other thing they talk about is, because they save IT time, by moving into the infrastructure, that was more automated and more agile, or they weren’t always have the resources.
It allowed the IT team to work on workflows and processes and documentation until they talk a lot about, yeah, we didn’t really do that. Yeah, we get some cost savings, but the better thing is we’re able to be more innovative because we can do more things and so, you, as a principal, turn CTO. one of the things that always talked about words, we should have as many resources as a school district at the classroom level as possible. And that, you know, when you’re always putting out fires in the data center, because we broke, or whatever, your best people should be on the classroom, and others, but like, when we can automate and kind of get to that type of infrastructure, you know, you can push those resources down to the classroom. As I pass it back over to Rob, talked about what life, because, I would just say, there are really good example to, there’s lots of different ways to adopt the cloud.
Or hybrid, you can extend your storage, there’s tools, like, Lightspeed that are in the cloud.
Lots of different partners. I think we have about 35,000 different partners that are, that can do cloud workloads for schools. So just, there’s a lot of different ways to kind of have your cloud footprint. It’s not all Infrastructure as a service or all are all in one thing. So, I’m kind of interested to hear from Rob about, you know, what else I would live.
Thanks, Jeff. So, I mean, this ties in with a lot of the same themes that you’ve been, that you were talking about.
And with ours, as well, but when we look at Louden, you mentioned their size. There are a large school district, but, no, I wanna take a step back and even looking at a small district today with, you know, maybe a couple thousand kids or something like that, with, with that many devices. And, because, kind of, my earlier point of everything we have today is, is Internet connected, right, and constantly generating traffic out to the Internet.
Even a small school is looking at, you know, millions of Internet access requests a day. And when you try to get reporting around that, that’s a lot of data to go through. Now, you go to, you know, allowed with 90,000 students and you’re just talking just a tremendous amount of data.
And when we would work with them, know that their biggest concern was really around reporting and the, you know, kind of traditional gateway filter just takes a long time to get through that data. Because you have hardware limitations. You have a physical box there, right. That in that can only do so much as we moved them to Relay. And we look at this as a cloud service and Chad, you touched on this earlier. That ability to scale up and scale down, has really helped in that environment. And it has been a key thing. Because, now, we can provide much greater insight, much, much greater access. And thank you, Amy, for pop in these slides up with, with visibility of these. You know, it gets away from not only, can we generate them so much faster, because, in AWS, we can have that ability to spin servers up and down and work with them that way.
But, also, move from, you know, kind of the old spreadsheet, you know, row after row after row of columns of data view to something that can be easily shared outside of IT and understood, and with being able to visualize this data in many ways.
And so, that was really a key driver for allowed is being able to get that data and get access to that data and get the data in the right hands in a way that they can understand it.
And something that, wow, what’s possible with their, you know, Lightspeed gateway filter, it just took a long time because there’s just so much data to go through. Greatly speed that up by moving that to a cloud service.
While we’re talking about the concerns about cost, shows up, control, or whatever it is. Visibility is really the answer to feeling better about any of those things, with the visibility into what’s being used. You can make smart budget decisions about what tools are essential, which are underused, where professional development needs to go. You also get the reassurance that things are working with all the regulations, that students are safe, that the appropriate things are blocked, that policies are being applied.
Then, when you’re not looking at students, walking through the door, and sitting in a desk every day, the assurance that they’re engaged, they’re learning, they’re attending.
This distance learning process is working for all of those educational goals, and, you know, Chad, to your point, they’re not in the actual classroom. Now. It’s a virtual classroom, so making sure that you can see that the resources you’re putting their work.
That really ties to the these pillars, that that AWS has outlined, so, being able to ask the right questions and get the answers to them, Tell us how you look at this.
Yeah, so, Yeah.
So, we’ve been doing a little work across, not yours, school districts, but across all of government, on, how are we really helping, you know, schools become more resilient and early enabling them. And, you know, we’ve kind of boil it down to two simple questions and then working backwards from there, you know.
one, Can we adequately educate their students administrators, operate their department, in a remote location? And then how quickly can you make that transition? So while we feel like you know when the Pulitzer time, most critical systems will be leveraged in the cloud, you know, in more meaningful ways and there’s a lot of systems like Lightspeed and they’re already there.
I think it’s also important to remember that, you know, having a cloud first strategy, While it does help you move, minimize disruptions.
During remote learning, it’s really good for just normal operation, like we saw, you know, with Loudon, and, when you look, how they made that shift? To your point earlier, they can make it go much faster.
So, you know, thinking about, if you don’t have, but you can’t answer the question: how would you work backwards to get there to make sure that everyone has equal access? That communication and collaboration are up, that everything is secure and scalable? And then you know all of that really lowers You know what? I use the term learning continuity.
We spend a lot of time on business continuity and making sure that everybody can get their paychecks, which is all important and every, every school, but like, really making sure that, are we not able to just have student outcomes, would improve student outcomes based on the data that we’re getting out of the system, know, can we kind of keep everything going?
So, you know, one thing I would just encourage, as you think about, OK, well, I want to, I want to become more resilient, and I want to maybe think about moving into the cloud, like lightspeed, whether you’re likely those schools are leveraged, is really, know, this move to me, having watched a lot of schools over the last four plus years moving to a TBI, it’s really more about people and culture that is about technology. The technology has proven cloud has been around a long time. It’s a great, disruptive technology, but it’s got a well worn path. There’s plenty of people that have migrated to the cloud so we can inform your decision. So, I just encourage you to.
If you’re, if your mind is spinning in this webinar, like many people do about all the things I need to do, the same thing I used to doing as the CTO, just pick a few small things and let go small things inform your longer-term planning. You don’t have to take the whole thing.
You know, think about Loudon, maybe pick virtual labs or pick another system that’s really giving you some pain.
And let’s just work together to do that one, that’s going to inform your decision, it’s going to inform your cost is going to inform your controls. It’s going to inform everything and then you can you build that trust and then grow.
The reality is that everyone has some systems and whether they think of it that way or not, it’s something, what some of the questions that came in so far are specifically around, if I said, I really do I know my other systems in AWS. What does that look like? It’s the answer I think, to your point.
You Chad is, yes. You can start with some things and it doesn’t have to be all or none. Yep.
About the onboarding strategy, especially with our IT directors and all of our attendees here probably at home not going to the office very often. What does, what does that relate implementation? and that shift of filtering into the cloud look like?
You know, really comes down to getting the agent on the device.
And, you know, I’ve kind of mentioned this a couple of times, but the good news is today’s devices are built to expect that they have some sort of cloud connectivity and with some built-in cloud management as well too, and so you can utilize those tools across the operating systems to get the agent onto the device. So, it can in, you know, most cases, can be done with, with zero touch.
I’ve worked with a lot of schools that, you know, we’re able to do this. And, you know, and he said, we’re pulling devices off carts and handing them out. And they were able to do that, hand them out, and but not have to, kind of pre-process the as the devices came online, they would get the software they needed and get the tools that they needed from Relate to manage that.
And so, and then really, once an agent is there, it does what it’s supposed to do. And, you know, then, your implementation of it becomes, OK, how do I want to differentiate policies? Which users need a different kind of access than others, you know? But, you know, when this kind of all fired up, I was working with schools, let’s just get a base policy out there and ease that transition, right? Let’s get that going.
And then, you know, once things started to calm, then we worked to differentiate the policies and have, you know, an elementary and middle high school, teachers, policies differentiated and all of that. And so, yeah, absolutely.
Something that you can ease into and now that we’re into summer and planning for, at, some level, having people back in the schools, in the fall. Now, we’re looking at, you know, implementing those Relay Rockets and picking up all the kind of the BYOD and IOT and guest devices. Haven’t had to worry about that for the last couple of months, but now, you know, kind of prepping for the fall, getting those tools in place. And so, it is definitely something you can ease into with your timeline that doesn’t have to be done, you know, everything all at once.
And the other point to make there is, not just on webinars but everyday speed and an AWS work really closely together to make that transition. However, schools want to go into it. Really easy that we are processes is helping you with that.
We’ve obviously seen a lot of free solutions popping up. A lot of companies you’ve never heard, Forsake, the teacher said, start using them for learning and our schools in the state. really worried about student data privacy. About, you know, companies that they’re working with and the visibility into those systems like Rob talked about earlier, we also have a lot of attendees here today from the UK. You are thinking about GDPR compliance for light speed and AWS and the solutions.
Rob talked a little bit about that.
I think, you know, we’re, we’re, well, I don’t think I know we’re very well positioned on this, and this is because, you know, because we, one has been an education tech company and work with schools.
I mean, this is always top of mind for us as, as we’re rolling out solutions, but, the fact that, you know, we’ve had Relay for a while, we had to deal with all of this compliance. And including, you know, both, both US. And International with GDPR compliance sometime ago. So, this is, you know, this is not something we had to scramble to do as the shift happened and all of that. So I will say AWS was a great partner with us on that, and helping us evaluate our systems, and our implementation to make sure that we stay compliant with those rules and everything else. And so you’ll find we’ve got a lot of information online. You’ll, you’ll find that we, you know, put some great ones up here, the student data, Privacy Pledge, FERPA, COPPA, you, know, all of those things by the way are in my news feed. I get to read about them a lot. It’s.
It is something that we take very seriously, and just something that if you look at a solution like Relay, you can be confident that these things are in place and ready to go.
Yep, I know we’re close on time. I was just going to say, yeah, we know, FERPA Guidelines, security, and compliance, quick reference guides.
I would just say that AWS works, and some of the most regulated industries in the world. Healthcare, finance, government, and so, we are glad to work through any kind of security privacy items that you can think of Schools do. Like to highlight that. We do have a shared responsibility model, so we would like to think of it, AWS manages controls to come out of the cloud, but the customer has all the control of their data and their services that they’re working on, and building into cloud thing for Lightspeed, to their full control over how they implement these things. A video, a fantastic job, and your partner with.
Quite like me to do it.
We’ve talked about all of these benefits of the cloud in AWS cloud first strategy.
And, really, one of the things that we have certainly seen is that when you’re moving things into just a more scalable, anytime, anywhere, infrastructure, there’s full network, you’re making the most that share resources, such as yourselves or your LMS. You can build on to that, so you’re not duplicating work in the same ways. So, you’re saving time saving money. And that’s where a relay is really built to be not just a filter platform to help with 1 to 1 programs.
Especially in these times of distance learning, can give teachers visibility into what students are doing on their screens, can help you over the air without touching devices. Push out apps to your device is your iPads that are at home with students as well as providing you that web filtering and the student safety and all of the robust advanced reporting into those things.
We answered some of the questions as we went along, but here we are at the top of the hour, really good training, I guess, one final question, and then I’m going to ask to each of you.
What would be one piece of advice you would give to schools as they’re going into this summer season and thinking about the fall? We’ll start with you, Chad.
Yeah, so, one piece of advice, go all in, cloud, I would say, you know what, leverage the experience of others. Lots of schools have gone before. You know that you’re able to find the right strategy for your current environment, every environment is different, so it’s not a one size fits all to. You. really need to examine that, mixture and train your team.
I think what we’ve done with schools have been most successful in, the cloud have really get invested heavily in training, and Amy making that shift so that you can get the most of it, and then, yeah, I think that would probably be maybe that’s not one. That’s three. Those are those three pieces of advice, I’d give you. Good advice, so I didn’t touch on. People don’t even get it out.
Number 1, 2, which I would, I would say, is.
Leverage or your colleagues that are in education, because there are several schools that have gone before you and done this. But also leverage your partners and your partners, like Lightspeed or like, AWS, because, you know when I was with, with my district, I talk with my district, and a handful of others that were in my area. Right? But, now, you know, I’m talking with hundreds of schools. Thousands of schools.
You know, I think, don’t, don’t be afraid to leverage your partners, We’re here to help, and, you know, we just, we get to see more variety just because of what we do not. You know, it’s just our, our focus and you have your school to worry about. But, we just get to talk to more and where we can help you develop those strategies, and help you roll that out. Because chances are, you know, well, education has a lot of things similar from from school to school. There are definitely things that are different.
And, you know, don’t feel like you have to go this path on your own.
Well, and thank everyone, for joining us here today. If we did not get to your questions, we’ll follow up with you individually. But as I said, you’ll get a survey when you leave. And lace feed AWS, we’ll follow up with you to provide more information about what this shift can look like for you Individually, or food systems dot com slash demo.
Thank you, Chad, and Rob, for sharing all of your knowledge today, and thank you, everybody for joining us.
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