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Is Cloud-Based Filtering the obvious Solution for Schools?

Filtering isn’t as exciting as new computers or learning software (no surprise there) but it’s absolutely essential to the educational environment today. Considering the compliance standards set by COPPA and CIPA, it’s no surprise that 94% of American schools today are implementing filtering software of some kind (though the real head-scratcher is that 6% who aren’t).

In the past 3 years, filtering has changed a lot, though. With more and more schools adopting 1:1 and BYOD policies, and working with parents to build an internet access strategy that bridges the gap between the home and the classroom, it seems like the days of hard-line web filtering are coming to an end.

Where does the cloud come in?

Cloud computing has been cropping up in school IT budgets and not in a subtle way. In 2012, K-12 schools spent 27% of their IT budget on cloud solutions, and by 2016, that number is expected to jump to 35%!

From a practical standpoint, cloud solutions save time, space, and money for everyone involved—teachers, parents, and administrators. In cost alone, the cloud is saving schools as much as 20% of their IT budget today, and that number is expected to reach 27% by next year. If schools are utilizing the cloud for other software needs, like Google Apps, then why not security?

Security’s place in the cloud

In an age where students are increasingly savvy to working around filtering software and hardware, “classic” filtering techniques hardly stand a chance. With dozens of workaround techniques only a Google search away, it’s no surprise that DNS software and hardware struggles to keep up with workarounds, and that’s to say nothing of the extra spending required from schools to maintain compliance—students at one LA school bypassed new filtering technology after only three days.

Cloud filtering isn’t immune to this either, but cloud software is a far more robust way to handle filtering updates and fixes—especially when you could be talking about a district of 11,000 students.

Cloud filters like Securly offer a more dynamic environment for schools to choose how filtering is applied to their networks, and those settings can be changed from anywhere, at any time. Once everything is in place, a cloud solution like Securly can even protect a student at home or on a public network.

Where goes 1:1, so goes the cloud

In the end, it comes down to bridging those gaps outside of school. If schools are holding 1:1 environments as the solution for modern education, then the first thing that needs to follow is a reliable filtering infrastructure―one that can offer both the hard-line options, along with more deliberated, lenient guidelines for students when they aren’t on school time.



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