Trading with Schools (TwS) is a department within Bristol City Council which brings services across the council into one trading unit, to better support the changing needs and requirements of schools and educational settings.

Netsweeper helped the Trading with Schools department manage internet access for 51,000 staff and students across 130 educational sites in the city.

Why Netsweeper

TwS wanted features and capabilities that Netsweeper offered which their previous vendor did not.

Some of these requirements included:

  • Deployment options – the ability to have virtual servers
  • Visibility of statistics, such as number of users
  • Easy to use reporting functionality
  • Templates for user and policy creation
  • Easier troubleshooting of SSL decryption issues
  • Easy to use real-time troubleshooting tools

Netsweeper’s nClient and nFilter provided Trading with Schools with the features they needed.

Development and Innovation

Repeatedly assigning different users to the same groups, policies, and subnets was a challenge for TwS to administer.

The Netsweeper development team created account templates so that IT staff in secondary schools and Trusts can easily be assigned groups, policies, and clients that are related to their needs. This was simple to configure for the infrastructure team at TwS and saved them time. Within that new system, Netsweeper allowed individual schools to set up and administer their own accounts for staff.

TwS is also currently trialing Netsweeper’s new product, nMonitor, which is an added layer of safeguarding technology that schools under TwS can easily deploy and implement within their current infrastructure.

Deployment Needs

One of the main reasons why TwS chose Netsweeper was because of Netsweeper’s flexible deployment options. This filtering solution allows them to easily expand the system if required as the user base grows.

Additional policy servers can be brought online by a simple reconfiguration of the load balancer.

At Home Filtering

During the recent pandemic, TwS have worked with schools to roll out at-home filtering using the client filter on Chromebooks and Windows devices. This has been very successful and allowed schools to control filtering on managed devices as if users were in school.

Challenges Resolved with Netsweeper

Trading with Schools’ previous solution didn’t allow them to view SSL decryption logs easily to see what was being blocked. There was no central point to see that, and the team had to go to each individual filtering device to attempt to identify an issue.

Netsweeper’s ability to see all log files in one place centrally and in real-time saves TwS many work hours. First line support on the helpdesk can use the real-time logs and easy reporting tools to resolve issues for users during initial contact in a lot of cases with less need to escalate further. The escalation team have all the tools they need to identify more complex issues.

We’re here to help. If you have any questions about digital safeguarding or implementing filtering or monitoring, please don’t hesitate to  contact the Netsweeper team.