Choosing a web filter

Choosing a web filter  is no  longer an isolated  job  

Today’s school environment demands that filtering is part of a broader conversation around safeguarding and protection of students.

Sometimes you’ll be able to bring in a range of functionality in a suite – probably with some solid cost savings. Other times it’s a case of considering the other products your filter must work closely with in order to be effective.  

Close relatives

The core “team” around your web filter will often come from the same vendor. These products must work closely together in order to provide best value: 

Digital Monitoring - Filtering is closely allied to digital monitoring. As such a filter that works hand-in-hand with your safeguarding tool. Filters can often block these tools from working correctly or overlap on monitoring, leading to excessive alerting.  

Classroom Management – Frequently employed to allow teachers to monitor student behaviour and focus, Classroom tools sometimes include ineffective filtering controls. Better to align your classroom tool with the web filter, and pay once for that feature.  

Integrations

Systems that are distinct from the web filter’s core role, but should still be considered as potential allies:

Safeguard Record Keeping – the easier it is to get data into your record keeping platform, the better your outcomes will be. The worst option here is a pencil and paper, but a surprising number of schools persist. Ensure your record keeping system can work with your filter and monitor products and easily accept output from them – for example attaching a filter log export.  

Active Directory – All web filters worthy of the name should integrate with your AD, but surprisingly, there are still difficulties in this area. Ensure you choose a filter that can get user and group level integration from AD.  

Google Directory & Google Classroom  –GSuite is the up and coming directory in education in the UK, with some schools moving entirely to google products. Ensure your filter vendor has access to GSuite information. If Google is a strategy for your school, be sure to ask how your vendor plans to expand this support in future.  

If you have a question or would like to learn more about any of Smoothwall’s digital safeguarding solutions, please get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.

https://www.smoothwall.com/education