Web Filtering: What to Consider Before You Buy

Don't buy web filtering software for your school without reading this.

Web filtering solutions for schools aren’t all created equal. When you’re evaluating web filtering solutions, you have to think about how you’re going to protect your students, ensure CIPA compliance, and maximize your mobile device management or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Before you make any final decisions about the best internet filter for your school, here are 10 things you need to be thinking about:    

Lightspeed Filter™: The market-leading web filtering software for K-12

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1. Support for Every Device, Every OS

You probably have a mix of devices on your network. You need a web filtering solution that simplifies your management effort, not one that complicates it. That’s why Lightspeed has Smart Agents for Chromebooks, Mac, Windows, and iOS. It also includes a filter for BYOD and other devices. This means all your filtering is covered, no hardware required, in a single, time-saving solution!

2. Student Safety

Student safety online is about more than simply blocking inappropriate content. That’s why Lightspeed Filter™ web filtering software includes Lightspeed Alert™. Lightspeed Alert is the first solution to use web activity information to identify and address threats before they happen. It features suspicious term flagging on online documents, emails and social media; an analysis of visited websites, blocked websites and searches; and more. Its advanced artificial intelligence offers powerful reporting as well as real-time alerts.

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3. The Classroom

All those student devices you’re managing are used every day in classrooms. In addition to web filtering features, Lightspeed can be seamlessly integrated with our classroom management solution: Lightspeed Classroom Management™. Classroom’s revolutionary AI saves teachers’ time, keeps students on task, and ensures devices are well-used and easily managed across your schools.

4. Reporting

Once your web filtering policies are set, you’ll spend most of your time in the filter viewing reports. You need to be able to get the information and answers you need out of them. This is why you need to take a close look at your web filter’s reporting engine: Lightspeed Analytics™. Lightspeed Analytics’ advanced reporting includes high-level dashboards and drill-downs on sites, users, individual pages, domains, and more. If you have a question, Lightspeed’s reporting can help you answer it. Plus our web filter’s reports are easy to share.

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5. AI Database

An incomplete web filtering database results in more work for you and greater risk for your users. It may allow inappropriate content and block educational content, and you’ll have to manually categorize every website the database missed. Lightspeed’s Adaptive AI Database includes more than 65 million web sites and IPs. It leverages AI, machine learning, and the infinite cloud for the most accurate and comprehensive categorization of the Web. This means you save time not having to recategorize websites. This also means you can count on students staying safe and having access to valuable content.

6. YouTube Safety

Lightspeed’s Smart Play feature solves the YouTube problem, once and for all. Video categorizations from YouTube and video uploaders are wildly inaccurate, so we’ve categorized nearly 100 million videos ourselves. With a simple click in your web filtering interface, you can allow educational videos; block sidebars and comments; and add teacher channels. Smart Play ensures a safe experience on YouTube as well as YouTube videos embedded on other sites.

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7. SSL Decryption

You need insight into student search terms through your web filtering software. You also need to know which videos students watch. This requires SSL decryption, which has been a huge hassle for schools. It required banks of trusted man-in-the-middle proxy servers, PAC files, and trust certificates — until now. Lightspeed Smart Agents have a self-contained proxy engine. With Smart Agents, you don’t need to set up or manage anything. You also get the SSL decryption you need for policies and reporting across OSes.

8. Customization Abilities

Web filtering isn’t one-size-fits-all. Schools have different needs — just as groups and users within schools have different needs. Our default web filtering policies are based on best practices we’ve developed over 20 years in business. However, Lightspeed also makes it easy to differentiate policies. You can build custom allow/block lists; custom categories; and policies tailored to users, groups and schools.

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9. Social Media Controls

Blocking social media doesn’t work for a lot of schools. After all, social media can be important to schools’ communication strategies and curriculum. Lightspeed’s Social Media Controls let you block and allow social media sites in a few clicks in your web filtering solution. You can easily set different policies for teachers and students; elementary and high schools; and school hours and non-school hours. Plus you can set social media sites to read-only, so students can research but not post.

10. 24/7 Protection

Lightspeed’s Smart Agents ensure 24/7 safety. They are installed on student devices, can’t be removed, and make filtering seamless as devices move from network to network. Also, you can easily adjust Lightspeed’s web filtering policies for after-school hours, opening up access. And with Lightspeed Student Safety Specialists available 24/7/365, you can know your students are even more protected.

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Lightspeed’s Platform is the result of 20 years of experience in K-12 web filtering and offers the newest, most innovative technology. Thanks to Lightspeed’s Smart Agents, every device is filtered, everywhere it goes. It’s the best internet filter from the leaders in online safety.