Young students are more sophisticated in their use of computers than we may be willing to admit. They have, after all, been plugged in since birth, perhaps more comfortable with remote controls and game consoles than their parents. So, it's no surprise that they can easily find ways to circumvent restrictions put in place to prevent their accessing inappropriate material on their school computers.
One high school in the Chicago area put a technology solution in place to both broaden its network capacity and restrict the dissemination of inappropriate material to savvy computer users. Minooka Community High School (MCHS), comprised of about 2,500 students, is situated southwest of Chicago. Its central campus is located in Minooka, a south campus is in Channahon and its administrative offices are in Shorewood.
Les Kern, director of technology at MCHS, had become frustrated with the school's legacy web filter because it couldn't stop web filter avoidance by his students using SSL connections.
Although, he says, he hadn't encountered any serious issues, he was looking for a solution as students were able to access inappropriate content jeopardizing the school's compliance to The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and putting subsidy funding at risk.
Of course, the school had to be in compliance with CIPA, which address concerns about children's access to inappropriate material over the internet. The act levies a number of requirements on schools and libraries which, through an E-rate program, receive discounts for internet access or internal connections.
Kern was responsible for reviewing and choosing a solution. He, along with his five-person IT team – an IT specialist, two technology assistants and a technology aid – asked their IT services partner, Sentinel Technologies, for a solution and it recommended a network appliance called Internet Content Control from Untangle.
“Sentinel recommended Untangle IC Control specifically because of its ability to do a full SSL decrypt and re-crypt,” says Kern (left). They informed him that the tool has a patented technology, called Anonymous Proxy Guard, that ensures all ports and protocols would be examined and handled appropriately based on the school's filtering policies.
“IC Control helps network administrators diagnose and resolve internet traffic problems such as bottlenecks, over-saturation of recreational traffic, application performance, optimization of hosted and cloud services, and prioritization of critical traffic—ensuring network performance, reliability and stability,” says Bob Walters, president and CEO of Untangle, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The tool, he says, is available to customers on network appliances and offers a single-interface, turnkey internet management solution that includes network monitoring, internet traffic analytics, bandwidth management and traffic shaping, application prioritization, cloud optimization and web filtering. “It is a highly scalable solution appropriate for large organizations with bandwidth up to 10 Gbps,” he says.