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Vision Charter School is a public charter school serving almost 700 K-12 students in Caldwell, Idaho. The school has been around for 10 years and offers college preparatory science and art classes. Jeff Olson has been the Information Technology Manager at Vision Charter school for the last 6 years and is the only IT staff member managing the 450 chromebooks and 150 desktop and laptops on campus.
Olson is responsible for ensuring the school is meeting the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements which include protecting students from accessing inappropriate and harmful content on the internet. Olson also needs to provide staff and students with different rules and priority levels for accessing the network. The school had been using EdgeWave iPrism which provided only basic web filtering capabilities. Olson needed a solution that offered comprehensive web filtering, easy policy management and robust, granular reporting. Untangle NG Firewall met those needs, plus it offered the cost-effective flexibility to utilize his own hardware.
NG Firewall Complete provides the school with next-generation web filtering, comprehensive security at the gateway, as well as deep insight to what is happening on the network. “We rely on almost all of the applications in NG Firewall—Web Filter mainly for CIPA compliance, and most of the security apps like Virus Blocker, Ad Blocker, Spam Blocker, and Firewall for protection,” said Olson. Web Filter and Reports help the school meet CIPA requirements. “The Reports app is easy to use, and I can simply pull the required reports to show we are complying with CIPA,” said Olson. All of the reports are fully dynamic, interactive and customizable, allowing administrators to drill down into any aspect of the traffic on the network. “Students are constantly trying to access sites or applications they shouldn’t be and often claim they didn’t mean to. But since Untangle examines everything, I can see their multiple attempts and quickly provide an incident report to the teacher or admin.”
The Reports app is easy to use, and I can simply pull the required reports to show we are complying with CIPA.
In order to address device management and separate rules for students and staff, Olson relies on Policy Manager. “With Policy Manager, I can have 3 separate ‘racks’ for staff, students and guests that each have their own rules,” said Olson. NG Firewall uses the concept of the virtual rack, much like a traditional server rack, to organize applications and allow for policy creation top-down. Each rack can have different apps to perform different functions and apply policy rules.
To ensure students who bring their devices on campus are also filtering through NG Firewall and being blocked from inappropriate content, Olson has implemented Captive Portal. “We use Captive Portal for our guest network and to capture BYOD, which forces users to accept our policies before accessing the internet,” said Olson. “This process further ensures students who bring their personal devices on campus are still filtered and blocked from inappropriate content.” Vision Charter school has been using Untangle for the last 6 years. “The school has plans to grow tremendously over the next few years, and I know Untangle will continue to meet our evolving needs and make my life as an IT administrator easier.”
The school has plans to grow tremendously over the next few years, and I know Untangle will continue to meet our evolving needs and make my life as an IT administrator easier.