Implementing Web Filtering in Schools: Interview with Chris Garstin 

[00:03:29] The ultimate goal of web filtering in the education environment is to protect pupils from accessing harmful content online.    [00:06:38] Blocking a pupil from going somewhere is one thing. But providing the tools for educators to do that in an efficient way without disrupting the learning environment is where some innovation comes in.    [00:08:58] Not to mention probably the last thing I would like to also point out is the categorization of the content. So, you know, when you’re using the Netsweeper filtering platform, you’re blocking things, you’re choosing who should be blocked, youre writing reports. You’re generating reports to see what’s going on, on your network. But there’s a lot of interesting features in innovation around that. But in addition to that, there’s what we call the CNS network, which is a category name service network. And that’s kind of the unsung hero of Netsweeper in the background. That’s 24/7 going out on the internet and categorizing content based on the browsing habits of our users. We don’t just scrape the internet randomly for content. We see the websites Netsweeper users globally are going to and that way we spend our resources categorizing those sites specifically. So, our system will download those sites, run our AI algorithms on there to try to understand what the content is, and then be able to assign a category to a URL. Doing that all within a matter of seconds, 24/7 for every single Netsweeper deployment anywhere in the globe.    [00:12:17] nMonitor, it’s a product, but it’s composed of several different pieces of technology we’ve developed. It looks at not just the URL, but the actual nature of the content that someone is looking at. So instead of sitting in the network or with our endpoint solutions, we’re looking at the stream of data that’s flowing from those websites to someone’s phone or someone’s laptop. 

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[00:14:27] Not only do we look at internet content, what you see on the web browser, but you can be using Microsoft Word, you could even be using a Paint program and typing some text into an image file. Things where that content might not even go out across the network. It wouldn’t be caught by a traditional filter or any sort of innetwork device. We can see content that would never go across the network and the second interesting part of it that I mentioned at the beginning is that we’ve integrated this all within the Netsweeper platform as it stands today.  [00:17:04] nMonitor was added to it recently, but the client that we have, nClient, is not new. It’s something that we’ve had for some time and it meets an exact need.   The nClient application is a service that runs on Windows, Mac, and we also have a Chrome extension. So, if you have Chromebooks or even just in the Chrome browser, you can run the Netsweeper Chrome extension and we also have safe browsers for both iOS and Android.  [00:19:28] The compelling part of the client is that unlike other solutions in the market, whether it’s a dedicated web filtering solution or something different, we don’t direct any of that users traffic back to the central Netsweeper platform, we’re not doing a VPN, we’re not doing any sort of tunneling. The traffic still goes directly out to the internet. All we’re doing is looking at the URL that someone’s going to and then deciding whether that request for that you were all can go out the door, so to speak, or not.   [00:21:38] If you’re in a Microsoft environment with active directory, you can use group policy objects to push software out to your end point devices. So that requires some setup, but nothing beyond any other sort of software that you need to push out there. If you’re in the Google environment, there’s administrative features there as well. So, as you’re pushing out your Googlebased devices, you can indicate the extensions that should or should not be allowed or force install certain things on those devices as well.   [00:24:10] Netsweeper is easy to get running out of the box, even for a small deployment with minimum IT resources, a single individual. It comes configured to filter immediately, it comes configured with default policies and default reports that you can utilize. 

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